A large cardboard cutout of Peruna is propped behind Joanne Vogel’s mahogany desk. A welcome banner lies across the sofa across from her desk. Her shelves are barely filled except with a couple books.
Vogel has just moved into her new office, as associate vice president and dean of Student Life in SMU’s Division of Student Affairs.
Vogel used to serve as a director of Wellness and Counseling and Psychological Services at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. Vogel, a Florida native, was not actively searching for other employment.
“I read the posting for this job description and had a spiritual connection to it,” she said.
Vogel, a Duke University graduate, had never considered coming to SMU as an undergrad. She majored in history and political science at Duke and went on to Stetson University for a Master of Science in mental health counseling and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the University of Central Florida. SMU’s mission, strategic plan and people spoke to her.
“The energy here is exciting, and once I visited, I knew that I had to be here,” Vogel said.
She visited for a week in January and attended a professional development conference with Vice President for Student Affairs Lori White and Assistant Vice President Robert Watling.
This week is her first official week.
“I am happy, fulfilled and affirmed that this was the right choice for me,” Vogel said. “The level of sincerity, generosity, warmth and support that I have received thus far
Vogel will oversee several different functional areas include Student Development and Programs, Parent and Family Programs, New Student Orientation and Student Support and Student Conduct and Community Standards.
She hopes to ensure that students know the roles and function of various offices to advocate for them. One of Vogel’s goals is to insist that SMU community act as responsible members of the community and care for each other.
“You want to be respectful of the culture and ways that things have been accomplished in the new setting while, at the same time, offering new insights and ideas that will continue to advance us,” Vogel said.
The easiest part for Vogel is working on tasks similar to the kind she worked on at Rollins College, such as crisis management, substance abuse prevention, and issues related to Title IX such as sexual assault and intimate partner violence. For Vogel, figuring out the logistics is the hardest part.
“It takes time to get the lay of the land,” Vogel said.
Assistant to the Dean Michael Hogan noticed within the few days that Vogel has been at SMU, she has already learned the names of the people she interacts with.
“She is going to bring a fresh perspective and energy,” Hogan said. “She is very good at making people feel at ease. That’s an advantage.”
Vogel hadn’t planned going into the field of higher education, however she respects the role of education in advancing society.
“It is a natural fit with all of the things that I value and my true passion for supporting people [students and staff] in reaching their full potential,” she said.