Donald A. Coleman Jr. has been named as the first director of student transitions at the University of Georgia. The director of student transitions will play a vital role in the provision of programs and services to ensure the retention, progression and success of UGA students.
The new department is part of the Wellbeing and Success initiative in the Division of Student Affairs 2025 Strategic Plan. The plan also includes initiatives focused on developing essential skills and increasing engagement. Through the Student Affairs 2025 plan, Student Affairs will provide critical leadership and support for UGA undergraduate and graduate students to immerse fully in the campus experience, practice the skills, and develop the mindsets they will need to reach their fullest potential at UGA and in life.
Working with campus partners, the Department of Student Transitions will provide dedicated support for key times of student transition, including entry into the university, development of educational pathways and fields of study, changes in residential status or funding, and preparation for future study or work following graduation. Student Transitions will offer robust programs and connect students to Student Affairs and campus resources in order to help students effectively navigate times of transition and continue timely progression to graduation.
In this role, Coleman will serve as a resource and champion for students. The department will collaborate closely with campus partners to innovate and integrate transition resources and meet students’ unique needs, particularly underrepresented, rural, first-generation, transfer and other underserved student populations.
Coleman will report to Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Michele Howard and serve as a member of the leadership team for the Division of Student Affairs. His appointment is effective July 20.
“The creation of the Department of Student Transitions is a new strategic priority for Student Affairs making it imperative to identify a candidate with an extremely strong skillset and experience to implement our vision for this unit,” Vice President for Student Affairs Victor K. Wilson said. “Donald Coleman is viewed as a visionary leader who takes a thoughtful and evidence-based approach to his work. As I look over the position description for this role, he is well equipped to meet each job requirement. We are thrilled to have him in this role to bring our combined vision to reality for Student Affairs but most importantly for our amazing students.”
Coleman said he wants to collaborate across the university in creating seamless transitions for students.
“The director of student transitions role will require someone who has experience developing a new department, expanding existing resources, and creating a shared vision for student success across academic affairs and student affairs,” he said. “I have been able to do these things and more in an ever-changing environment and am particularly interested in working for a university that understands and values the holistic development of students.”
Coleman’s background has made him a leader in the field of orientation, transition and retention. His background in student transitions includes serving as the director of orientation and now the director of orientation and transition programs at Kennesaw State University, and he previously held positions in housing and residence life at Valdosta State University, Savannah College of Art and Design and the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is also a member of the board of directors for the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention and has conducted numerous national and regional presentations related to student transitions.
Coleman received his Bachelor of Business Administration from Georgia State University and a Master of Education from Loyola University Chicago. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in Student Affairs Leadership from the University of Georgia.