Assistant Dean of Student Life
Ernest Jeffries has been Davidson's assistant dean of student life for 15 years-watching thousands of students arrive as wide-eyed freshmen and end their journey as well-rounded alumni. He's also seen Davidson welcome a tremendously more diverse student body. "Through my lens, we're a much more diverse institution. I've seen a great change, especially with the Class of 2014-the largest number of students of color in any class."
A Man of Many Talents
On most days, Jeffries' commitment to students continues well beyond the typical workday. He serves as chief judicial officer, and also as either adviser, mentor or director to students---including minority student affairs, academic support programming, the tutoring program, Rotaract, Black Student Coalition, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and Gospel Choir. And anyone who has ever heard Jeffries lead the choir in song knows how much heart he puts into his work!
Praise and Worship
Sunday mornings are booked too. As a licensed minister with a master of divinity degree and working toward a doctorate in ministry, he'll be in the pulpit of Davidson's Gethsemane Baptist Church.
Handle with Care
Jeffries appreciates that Davidson still embodies Southern charm, a characteristic that allows faculty and staff to build relationships with their students; to see them as individuals. "Students may encounter the same issues here that they would anywhere else. The difference is that here, care is taken to ensure that concerns are addressed and that students are made to feel comfortable. It's intentional and deliberate. I take it personally."
Paying it Forward
"Students leave here with a good education, and, hopefully, with a sense of civic responsibility. This type of education, used correctly, will situate them in places of influence. I hope they understand that they have a duty to affect any community they find themselves in."
Seeing students at their best and, sometimes, at their worst, Jeffries learns a lot. "I see my role as pastoral when it comes to students. I'm here to help them through crises, wading through life and family issues, and their futures. Our students are very bright, and I'm always impressed with how they work through their difficulties."