Welcome Dr. Justin Tyler Owens as Vice President of Student Engagement

Mary Baldwin is proud to welcome Dr. Justin Tyler Owens, a lifelong student-life innovator, as our new Vice President of Student Engagement

Justin Tyler Owens

Mary Baldwin University has announced the appointment of Dr. Justin Tyler Owens as its new vice president of student engagement. Owens joins MBU from Delaware County Community College (DCCC) in Media, Penn., where he has served as vice president for student affairs and strategic initiatives. 

Before his time at DCCC, Owens served as dean of student affairs/dean of students at the University of Pikeville in Kentucky and assistant dean of student affairs and director of residence life at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.

Throughout his career, Owens has worked to improve the campus experience and sought opportunities to expand and enhance student engagement. He is an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and he has partnered with colleagues to create more inclusive communities.

“Dr. Owens has all the experience we could ask for in a VP of student engagement and his enthusiasm for improving student life is infectious,” says LaRhonda Johnson Horton, assistant vice president of student engagement. “We can’t wait to have him on campus for our students.”

Owens is set to bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to MBU when he arrives March 25.

“I’ve always been interested in student affairs, residential environments, and how we impact student growth,” Owens said. “I knew I wanted to experience every rung of the ladder so that, hopefully and eventually, if I made it to the VP role, I would know the experience for everyone I’m overseeing.”

Despite an initial interest in medicine, Owens discovered his true passion lay not in the medical field, but in the realm of student affairs. He has had vast experience in different aspects of campus life at several institutions — from residence hall director and student organizer of summer conferences to student services representative to director of residence life to dean of students.

Owens’ career progression was marked by intentional moves to deepen his understanding and impact on student affairs, culminating in a leadership style focused on mentorship and community building.

After earning his bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University, Owens studied at Old Dominion University where he earned a master of science in education. He later earned a PhD in educational leadership for higher education at Clemson University. 

Owens is eager to engage with the MBU community and initiate projects that enhance the student experience, particularly in residence life. He said he wants to understand and enrich the culture of MBU, with goals to boost enrollment, retention, and, most importantly, student satisfaction.

“Over the past seven years, I have intentionally served institutions that are bridging the opportunity gaps for students within their communities,” Owens said. “These institutions of opportunity made an impact on the lives of our students and their families. I am very proud of the difference we made, and I now look forward to making a difference in the lives of Mary Baldwin students as well.”