University of Minnesota Rochester’s (UMR) Director of Community Engagement and Career Development Jenny Casper was the recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Service.
Casper started working at UMR in October 2009 as the administrative support for several academic programs including the Center for Learning Innovation (CLI). A year later, she was promoted to administrative director for the CLI. In these roles, Casper collaborated with a team of colleagues across campus and within the system to create processes for first-time delivery of academic programs and processes at UMR; over time identified more productive and efficient ways to meet the needs of faculty and the teaching innovation mission; all the while, gathering ideas and momentum for future initiatives to continue to grow relationships and programs at UMR. She came into her current role in March 2018.
As the Director of Community Engagement and Career Development, Casper works to develop structures for community-focused learning opportunities for UMR students including bringing industry professionals onto the UMR campus to expose students to various career paths.
Casper has contributed greatly to UMR’s success by streamlining the multi-layered course registration processes, growing community partnerships, developing more internship placements and contacts, increasing student research opportunities, enhancing career-development programming and engaging alumni in career initiatives for students. This is due to her leadership, perseverance and longevity at UMR, and her unwavering dedication to serve out her responsibilities and fill the gap when she sees an opening or opportunity.
Several organizations she works to partner UMR students with include Mayo Clinic, Salvation Army, Rochester Art Center, Olmsted County and the Somalia Rebuild Organization. Casper helps connect students to opportunities within these organizations through volunteering, internships, research and employment.
“As significant as the program and process accomplishments themselves is the manner in which Jenny achieves them; through creativity and thoughtfulness, selfless contribution, with warmth, grace and an ever-calm demeanor,” said Julie Thornton, UMR’s former assistant vice chancellor for student success and engagement who nominated Casper for the award.
As one of the few administrators with longevity on campus, Casper has contributed significantly to the construction of UMR’s student-centered approach to our innovative practices both inside and outside of the classroom. While doing so, she has modeled poise while establishing a high standard at UMR including the work of students and community partners.
“It is truly an honor to receive this award,” says Casper. “It is really the efforts of everyone at UMR that contribute to making this such a great place. I am grateful to work with amazing colleagues who care so much about supporting students.”
“Jenny’s initiative and intelligence are at the heart of her exceptional service to UMR,” says UMR’s Chancellor Dr. Lori Carrell. “We would not be where we are today without her commitment to serve our vision, faculty and students. Her drive to meet each challenge with solutions at this startup campus is without parallel.”
Casper was honored at a reception at the May 2019 Board of Regents meeting and at a formal reception at the Weisman Art Museum on June 17.