Dr. Jamaica Chapple UNT Dallas

“I pride myself on knowing the students by name, what their goals are and how I can help them.” - Dr. Jamaica Chapple, Associate Vice President of Student Access & Success, Dean of Students

Dr. Jamaica Chapple, Associate Vice President of Student Access and Success and Dean of Students at the University of North Texas at Dallas, takes what could be considered an unconventional approach to her position in higher education. A university’s dean of students is often closely associated with monitoring student conduct, but Dr. Chapple has been more of an advocate for the students since arriving on campus in 2013. The highly-successful educator is beloved rather than feared, and she is a constant presence in the common areas where students hang out, never more than in these early weeks of a semester.

Her approach is a direct result of her personal experience as an undergraduate, when she was living at home, commuting daily, working full-time and generally never engaged with the college experience other than sitting in a classroom.

“The students laugh now in orientation when I tell them from my freshman year until my senior year, I was completely lost,” said Dr. Chapple. “I attended the University of Texas at Arlington, and it has been a commuter school for a long time. They have great resident life experiences, but I lived at home and commuted. I changed my major six times, I felt like a number, and I was never connected to the university. I have always said if I had an opportunity to go back and right some of the challenges I had, I would do that, and I do that here.”

Dr. Chapple made her college experience work despite those challenges, graduating with a BA in Anthropology and going on to an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana Monroe, and earning a Ph.D. in Counseling and Supervision from Texas A&M University-Commerce. Those early experiences are the motivation for how she interacts with her students and directs her staff of 14.

“I am intentional about getting to know the students,” she said. “I tell them you will see me all over the place, and I stop and ask them their names, what they are studying and what they are interested in, because that’s so much of what I didn’t get. I make sure students know what is available to them and what is happening, and how they can benefit. We want our students to be fabulous alumni. That’s the goal.

“I pride myself on knowing the students by name, what their goals are and how I can help them. I only wish I had UNT Dallas when I was an undergraduate. It’s small enough to feel connected, and big enough to know every person is invested in your success.” 

-UNTDNews-