851 Alumni Spotlight: Janelle Rae

Rebecca McTear851 Alumni Spotlight, Alumni/ Advancement, News

Janelle Rae Headshot
851 Alumni Spotlight

Class of 2017

Janelle Rae

8 Words
  • Playful
  • Curious
  • Contemplative
  • Compassionate

  • Learner
  • Introspective
  • Hopeful
  • Listener
5 Questions

01. What did you study at SU and when did you graduate?

I earned my Master of Social Work degree from Spalding in 2017.

02. What do you do for a living and how has your work environment changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?

I moved into the role of Dean of Students at Spalding University during the COVID-19 pandemic. My work environment changed dramatically in many ways. Communication with colleagues increased exponentially as we navigated, and still are navigating, unchartered and ever-changing waters. We all are working from home, me from my dining room, which has altered how I think about what it takes to build community. In some ways the pandemic has forced us to be creative and more intentional about how we build collegiality. I have found myself so grateful for the rare moments I get to see faces in a virtual meeting that I would normally see walking around campus. That is one of the ways the pandemic has impacted my work, increased gratitude for the moments I take for granted.

03. What are the top 3 ways SU helped prepare you for what you are currently experiencing both at work and in your personal life?

The Spalding School of Social Work teaches a generalist practice approach with an emphasis on social justice. Professionally the program prepared me to think of my work at multiple levels of practice, individual, community, and policy, which gives me a holistic view of any program or process. It also taught me to apply a social justice lens to all parts of my work, recognizing the influence of power and privilege on access, advocacy, and progress. Finally, the social work principles taught me to respect the dignity and worth of people and center human relationships, which are critical to my role leading a team whose primary focus is meeting the holistic needs of the Spalding student. Personally, my social work education prepared me to be mindful of my self-care amid stress and chaos and to lean into community for wisdom.

04. What is your favorite memory from your time at SU?

The cohort model allowed me to become quite close to my classmates during the program. Our residency weekends, while intensive, created some great bonding. My favorite memory is the camaraderie of those class weekends when we would all bring food to get us through the long days. Sharing food and breaking bread demonstrates loving kindness and opens the heart as well as the mind.

05. What was your favorite spot on campus as a student?

Truthfully, I spent most of my time as a student in the RAC or the library, which are both lovely but my favorite place on campus for students is Mother Catherine Spalding Square. It is a beautiful gathering place with infinite possibilities for making memories, enjoying a sunny day, and gathering your thoughts.

1 Message

Some of the most precious jewels are created from intense stress and friction. We are going through an unbelievably trying time, but I believe we will emerge a wiser, stronger, more brilliant community.

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