Nicole McConnell has been named director of Student Transitions at the University of Georgia.
McConnell will play an integral role in helping students have a positive transition through their university experience. As director, she will provide strategic leadership to support programs for unique UGA student populations like freshmen, sophomore or first-generation students. She will also work to enhance Dawg Camp, Welcome UGA and Transfer Student Welcome, and other signature student experiences. McConnell will report directly to Jan Barham, associate dean of students.
“I am excited for Nicole to begin her work leading the Department of Student Transitions,” said Barham. “She brings extensive expertise, and I am confident the campus will benefit greatly from her vision and commitment to student success.”
McConnell currently serves as assistant director for student activities with the Department of Engagement, Leadership and Service. Her appointment is effective May 31.
Vice President for Student Affairs Victor K. Wilson emphasized the key role McConnell’s leadership and Student Transitions will play in the student experience.
“I started my career in orientation, so I understand the significance of the transition process,” said Wilson. “I also understand the importance for the university to continue its success in achieving exceptional first-year retention rates and graduation rates. The work of Nicole and her team is crucial for supporting the success of our students.”
McConnell says she looks forward to ensuring Student Transitions is highly collaborative, provides a seamless transition for students, and serves as an effective conduit of information for students. She also plans to research support for different student populations based on academic year and identity.
“Having worked with a diverse portfolio, I feel prepared to take on the diverse nature of student transitions,” said McConnell. “We have an exciting opportunity to impact students. It is my aim that this support will provide a stronger foundation and affinity for UGA. Equally important, we want students to engage meaningfully and connect purposefully to increase their well-being, sense of belonging, and overall success at UGA and beyond.”
As assistant director for student activities, McConnell helped her department meet unique challenges in providing engagement opportunities during the height of COVID-19. Since July 2021, McConnell has also been serving as the interim associate director of Student Transitions.
McConnell holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering technology, both from Southern Polytechnic State University, now part of Kennesaw State University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in student affairs leadership from the University of Georgia.