It was announced on Monday, May 4 that Felecia Edwards, Director of the First Year Success Center and Associate Director of Centers for Academic Success and Advising, is resigning from her positions at the University of New Haven.
Edwards will be serving as the Associate Director of Student Success in the College of Science and Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts, located in Boston.
“I am leaving UNH with mixed emotions,” Edwards said. “It is definitely bittersweet…I feel so connected to the UNH community. Goodbyes have always been difficult for me, but this might be one of the hardest ones. I am very sad to be leaving, but excited for this new opportunity. I’ve never lived in a big city and I have heard great things about Boston. I am looking forward to exploring and seeing what Boston has to offer.”
Edwards began working at UNH in 2006 as a graduate assistant in the Undergraduate Admissions Office; from there, she was promoted into a full time position as assistant director of undergraduate admissions and later senior assistant director/coordinator of transfer admissions.
In 2010, Jim McCoy, the vice president for enrollment management, reached out to Edwards when he realized her “needed someone to develop the concept and structure for the brand-new First Year Success Center,” he said in an email sent out to UNH faculty Monday afternoon.
The First-Year Success Center, created only five years ago, has grown exponentially under Edwards’ guidance. The FYSC’s goal is to “familiarize first-year students with the multitude of resources available on campus and to help students make progress toward fulfilling their educational, social, and personal goals,” according to UNH’s website.
“From its small beginning five years ago, the FYSC has grown under Felecia’s leadership into one of most respected and visited offices on campus, a must-see on any admissions tour,” McCoy said in his email. “I am convinced that her leadership was instrumental in our first year retention rate moving from slightly over 72 percent in 2010 to just under 80 percent last year.”
A search for the new Director of the First-Year Success Center will begin soon.
“I am confident the next Director will be AMAZING and will take the FYSC from good to great,” Edwards said. “Aschlee, Tiffany and Patrick, along with our student assistants and mentors, are an amazing team and I am confident they will continue to provide exceptional support and service to UNH students. I leave knowing that the First-Year Success Center is in a great place with a team who cares about it and wants it to be successful.”
In 2014, Edwards took on the responsibility of the Associate Director of Center for Academic Success and Advising, where she assisted in developing programs that are designed to bring faculty advisors and CASA staff together.
CASA is dedicated to giving UNH students the skills they need to successful students and graduates, according to the UNH website. Their mission is to “provide a seamless program of service to support students across their entire academic experience.”
“My favorite part of working at UNH has been the opportunity to hear the stories of so many of our students and mentoring them through an important time in their lives,” said Edwards. “UNH has allowed me to make a difference in the lives of our students and our community. There is no better feeling than supporting my students and helping facilitate their access to resources and opportunities that will enable them to achieve both academic and personal success.”
At the University of Massachusetts, Edwards will “work on the further development and implementation of all programs, working closely with the CSM leadership to expand the focus of the Center and improve outcomes for the diverse student population,” McCoy said.
Edwards will begin at UMass this June. “UMass is much bigger than UNH so it is going to take some time to build relationships with the faculty, staff, and students,” she said. “UNH was my first professional job so this is all new to me. I am not sure what to expect, but I do know that it will be a much longer walk to my office and parking will still be an issue!”
“Felecia’s dedication and commitment have led her to be held in high regard by her colleagues as well as her staff and students. Her contributions have been a great benefit to the University and, undeniably, she will be deeply missed,” he said.
“It was a very difficult decision to accept this new position,” Edwards said. “However, I hope it will allow me to pursue my dream of earning a doctoral degree while allowing me to continue to grow as a professional and pursue my passion for helping student’s access higher education and graduate.”
Edwards said she’ll miss a lot of different things at UNH, including the small campus size, the friendly faces, Charger Nation and her involvement with Midnight Run. “I am going to miss my colleagues and the students the most,” she said. “They have all been a huge part of my life and I consider them my family—especially Tiffany, Aschlee, Patrick, and our student team. I spend more time with them than anyone else in my life.”
A farewell celebration will be held in the First-Year Success Center on Tuesday, May 12 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Students are encouraged to come to wish Edwards luck on her new journey in Boston.
“Education truly transforms lives…..and I am thankful that I have been able to play a small part in the transformation of my student’s lives,” Edwards said. “I am looking forward to doing the same at UMass Boston.”