Friday, October 14, 2022
Jodi Linley
Jodi Linley

Jodi Linley, associate professor of higher education and student affairs, has dedicated her career to the success of her students.

To recognize and celebrate her years of leadership and service, the University of Iowa honored Linley with the 2022 Marion L. Huit Faculty Award.

The award was established in 1978 to recognize M. L. Huit's outstanding dedication and service to UI students during his tenure as dean of students.

The award is presented annually to a faculty member who best characterizes Huit's contributions to university and community life. Huit exemplified the qualities of dedication to, concern for, and interaction with students. The recipient is chosen each spring by the members of Dean of Students Advisory Board.

Linley has worked at Iowa for 18 years and has been in her current position as professor and program coordinator of HESA for more than eight years. Student affairs is at the heart of her position, and her roles have centered on both undergraduate and graduate student success.

Linley’s legacy at the university began long before her current role with the HESA program. She coordinated orientation services, helped build and direct the Iowa Biosciences Academy, and was one of the five founding members of Iowa Edge, an extended orientation program for minoritized college students. She left to pursue her doctoral studies at Michigan State University, and returned to the university for her faculty role. In addition to her research and teaching, Linley’s service to the university has continued to benefit students. In her first two years as a faculty member, she co-led an initiative to transform the student records system to be trans-inclusive. Today, students are able to self-identify their gender beyond a binary framework and can tell the university what name and pronouns they use thanks to that initiative.

In the College of Education, her work with student affairs has been invaluable, according to one of her student nominators, Lauren Irwin, who writes, “Jodi consistently collaborates with her colleagues to gather and share information in an effort to demystify academic, administrative, and bureaucratic processes for students. Linley’s work with HESA clearing roadblocks has consistently ensured that students have the information they need to succeed.”

Linley extends support to students through formal and informal processes. She facilitates workshops for graduate students and encourages them to submit their work to various conferences. Linley consistently draws on her own experience and expertise to support the development of graduate students.

 “Her approach to learning prompts high-quality work from students while simultaneously providing individual support to help students succeed,” writes Nikki Tennessen, HESA doctoral student.

Linley also understands the power of future development of her field. Since student affairs is not studied at the undergraduate level, many students are not aware of the field and career path. Knowing this, she extends support to these students, introducing the field through an undergraduate course that explains its conceptual and theoretical underpinnings.

 “She can see students' gifts and help them reach beyond their dreams to reach their highest potential” writes HESA alumna, DaVida Anderson. “Many of these students have gone on to graduate programs and careers in student affairs, a testament to the impact of Linley’s forward-focused efforts.”

One of Linley’s biggest career achievements that features her work to support students in her research agenda has been her collaborative work to develop a National Study of LGBTQ+ College Student Success. She began this work with her own doctoral mentor, Kristen Renn, and continues the work with her former doctoral advisees who are now faculty at other institutions, Cindy Ann Kilgo at Indiana University and Alex Lange at Colorado State University.  This work positions the HESA program and the university as a national leader in building more inclusive collegiate environments.

Her development of the professional field doesn’t stop there. Linley is also a member of the Association for the Study of Higher Education and ACPA College Student Educators International, and she holds elected roles in both organizations. Her work in these organizations is vital to driving national development in her field and has been recognized with numerous awards.

Linley says she is honored to receive the Huit award, as it represents the recognition of her achievements, and motivates her in the work she continues to do to support student success.

Marion Huit was dean of students, a student affairs leadership role. Huit’s legacy resonates with Linley’s own sense of feeling for both faculty and staff at the University of Iowa.

 “My support of students and their development happens in formal and informal contexts, in classrooms and beyond classrooms,” Linley says. “My commitment in this work is to always strive to improve higher education – all aspects of the experience – such that every student can thrive toward their best possible life and their most authentic self.”

Linley’s students share the impact she has had on their lives.

 “Linley displays a rare set characteristics and traits that make me feel safe to exist in a learning environment. Her dedication to, and concern for students has allowed her to have naturally occurring, genuine interactions with students, myself included. Jodi is an advocate and ally unlike any I have met before,” writes Madison Schulte, HESA master’s student.

Another student who has worked with Linley echoes this sentiment.

“I love working with Jodi because of her congeniality, accommodating personality, and how she cares about each individual student,” writes Mavis Gyesi, HESA doctoral student.

Read a related Iowa Now story to learn about all the honorees.