Dean Ohotnicky Honored by American College Personnel Association

Olivia Goodman '14 News Editor

Dean of Students Julianne Ohotnicky has been selected to receive the Award for Student Impact from the American College Personnel Association’s Commission for Student Conduct and Legal Issues. The ACPA, headquartered at the National Center for Higher Education in Washington, D.C., is, according to their website, “the leading comprehensive student affairs association that advances student affairs and engages students for a lifetime of learning and discovery.”

Founded in 1924, the ACPA has nearly 7,500 members representing nearly 1,200 private and public institutions in the U.S. and around the world. Members include graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, student affairs educators and organizations and companies that are engaged in the campus marketplace. The ACPA presents their Award for Student Impact annually to a member who shows extraordinary abilities to connect with and educate students.

Ohotnicky’s  has worked at Smith as the Dean of Students since 2006. Her work in student affairs began as an undergraduate student when she had the opportunity to be an orientation leader and then the student coordinator of orientation at Assumption College. “As is often the case in college, once I became involved in one thing I found so many other co-curricular opportunities to try,” said Ohotnicky. “I worked in the Campus Center, I was asked to sit on search committees, I did student programming and I was a member of the student conduct board.”

It was these experiences that laid the foundation for Ohotnicky’s career path. “My professional experiences have been in colleges and universities working in the areas of campus center management, judicial affairs, orientation and first year programs, registration and academic management, residence life, student activities and student leadership development,” said Ohotnicky. “Working with students is what I love to do and has been my part of my professional trajectory for more than 20 years. My time at Smith has been amazing because of the students I have been connected to.” As Dean of Students, Ohotnicky oversees an extensive student-development program that is responsible for health and counseling services, the Office of Student Engagement, multicultural affairs, residence life and housing, the first year experience and wellness. Her office also advises the Student Government Association and the Judicial Board.

Ohotnicky cited her work with students who come to her as a result of the judicial system as one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. “I work closely with students in a variety of capacities, and those that come through the judicial system because of a particular conduct issue are actually some of my favorite students to work with. It is an area of development that every person needs to experience, one’s impact on the world and how experiences change you. I have found my judicial work to be one of my best opportunities as an educator.”

Ohotnicky has been involved with the ACPA for nearly a decade and has served on the ACPA’s Commission for Student Conduct and Legal Issues for the last five years, both as a directorate member and as the Vice Chair for Membership. “Receiving the Student Impact Award was a surprise and is such an honor,” said Ohotnicky. “To be recognized by my peers for the work I love to do is very special.” Ohotnicky will formally receive her award during the awards ceremony held at the ACPA National Conference later this month.