Ericka Jackson says “challenge accepted” when it comes to her new role as director of residence life at Mary Baldwin University. Jackson stepped into the role in early August and finds her new position both refreshing and gratifying.
“I am a person who loves a challenge,” Jackson said. “So, naturally I have a great appreciation for student affairs because we get the opportunity to encourage social, professional, and spiritual development.”
Prior to moving to Staunton, Jackson resided in Richmond where she worked at Virginia Union University for the past two years. Originally from Georgia, Jackson graduated from Albany State University, where she earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She double majored in history and political science, and earned her master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in community and economic development.
Living with the personal mission statement of not letting external factors dictate her internal order, Jackson said moving was hard, but the rewards and benefits that Mary Baldwin has to offer far outweigh the growing pains.
“My biggest challenge has been leaving a place where I have made meaningful bonds with people. My biggest reward has been coming to a place that I really appreciate in such a short period of time,” Jackson explained. “I was to drawn Mary Baldwin University because I believe it is my life’s work to help provide opportunity and it seems to me that any institution that creates an avenue for an equitable quality education is developed from that same belief.”
Jackson has laid out her five-year goal for the Office of Residence Life office into four parts. It includes developing residential curriculum with measurable outcomes that benefit the campus community, collaborating with key stakeholders of the university to improve residential facilities, creating an avenue so student affairs professionals can become more empowered to lead, and maintaining a thriving and innovative living-and-learning housing environment.
At any given time you might walk into her office and hear anything from country music to Prince.
“I simply love and appreciate music; I could not imagine my life without it,” she said. “I also love to read anything and everything from newspapers to magazines to novels.”
Armed with a passion for life she inherited from her mother, she lives daily to be the best change maker she can possibly be. While Jackson is still settling in at Mary Baldwin, she has already fallen in love with the campus community she said, adding that she feels fortunate to wake up every morning to “actively engage and do something impactful.”