by Joe Garvey

Jane Dané, associate vice president for enrollment management at Old Dominion University, was recently named Counselor of the Year by the Potomac & Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling.

The association is a nonprofit professional organization for those who work with students in the transition from high school to college.

"Jane's innovative leadership has no boundaries," ODU President John R. Broderick wrote in a letter nominating her for the award. He cited her role in establishing the Center for Social Mobility, which conducts research on access, achievement and attainment, in 2018.

The center and its annual Social Mobility Symposium, which brings together institutional teams of admissions, enrollment and student affairs professionals, helped influence U.S. News & World Report's decision to add social mobility as a factor in its Best Colleges rankings.

"Throughout the pandemic, the Center for Social Mobility has provided top-notch professional development for higher education leaders focused on low-income, first-generation and underrepresented minority student success," President Broderick added. "This work would not be possible without a leader such as Jane Dané, who is committed to equity for all students."

Don Stansberry, vice president of student engagement and enrollment services, noted that Dané's efforts played a critical role in ODU's enrollment increase of 2.6% in fall 2020, "remarkable amidst a pandemic."

"While Mrs. Dané's commitment to equity and access is most impressive during the COVID-19 pandemic, she has a career of dedication to high ethical standards of college admissions and promotion of equal access to higher education for all students," Stansberry added. "Jane advocates for statewide financial aid reform, promotes financial literacy programs through the Association of Public Land Grant Universities and helped establish the Hampton Roads Transfer Alliance. Through Mrs. Dané's leadership, Old Dominion University has increased online learners by 52% in the past eight years, with over 6,100 fully online students enrolled in over 100 online programs."

J. Christopher Fleming, executive director of undergraduate admissions, noted the steps Dané took during the 2020-21 academic year, including reallocating eight positions to the success coaching program.

"ODU now supports the entire first-year class and uses big data surrounding individual risk factors modeled to predict retention," Fleming wrote. "Additionally, ODU launched a pilot support program of 10 retention specialists. These staff members reallocated a portion of their time to help students resolve challenges such as financial holds in preparation for registration."

He also highlighted her impact on minority enrollment.

"Before COVID-19, under Jane's leadership, the enrollment of undergraduate minorities at ODU grew from 38% in 2011 to 53% in 2019," he said.

Dané joined ODU in 2011. Before that, she led enrollment management initiatives at Salisbury University and served in statewide leadership positions for the University System of Maryland. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Delaware and master's degree in education from Salisbury University.

The Potomac & Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling, founded in 1964, aims to maintain high professional standards at both the secondary and college levels and to connect college admission officers, secondary school counselors, independent counselors, financial aid officers and educational organizations to discuss common concerns and explore ways to empower students.

Criteria considered for the association's Counselor of the Year award include:

Areas of expertise.

  • Impact on constituents in the admission process.
  • Advocacy for students and colleagues.
  • Commitment to equity and access for all.
  • Thoroughness in their daily work.
  • Innovation in the industry.

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