By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan University today announced the appointment of Lauren Hensley, Ph.D., as OWU’s first-ever director of Holistic Advising.

In the newly created role, Hensley will lead Ohio Wesleyan in developing, implementing, and coordinating a holistic approach to advising that goes beyond academics. She will collaborate with colleagues in areas including academic advising, career services, student life, libraries, athletics, and OWU’s signature program, the OWU Connection, to ensure students develop the skills and have access to the resources they need to persist to graduation.

Currently, Hensley is the interim director of the Walter E. Dennis Learning Center at The Ohio State University. A member of the center’s leadership team since 2008, Hensley’s work has focused on developing and managing college success courses, leading the center’s instructional team, and collaborating on research-to-practice initiatives that support student learning and motivation.

Hensley will begin her new position July 17 and report to OWU Provost Karlyn Crowley, Ph.D.

“I’m excited to welcome Lauren Hensley to the Ohio Wesleyan family,” said Crowley, the university’s chief academic officer. “She is an accomplished scholar-practitioner whose cutting-edge research and field innovation will make holistic advising an essential and transformational part of every student’s OWU experience.

“Lauren’s position – like that of our new director of First-Generation Student Success – underscores Ohio Wesleyan’s forward-thinking and strong commitment to helping students navigate their college careers successfully,” Crowley said. “With Lauren’s innovative leadership, our students will be even better prepared to earn their bachelor’s degrees and prepare for productive, fulfilling futures.”

At Ohio State, Hensley’s accomplishments have included:

  • Designing co-curricular programs and services for bridge programs, first-year experience, orientation, international affairs, residence life, career services, and student organizations.
  • Proposing, designing, and assessing learning in new courses focused on online learning, first-generation transitions, international student success, and procrastination.
  • Authoring or co-authoring 20 peer-reviewed articles on learning, motivation, and college student development; presenting or serving as a non-presenting author on 56 national, international, or regional scholarly presentations; and facilitating more than 200 workshops for students, faculty, and staff on holistic success topics.

Hensley’s research also focuses on student success, with a special emphasis on understanding motivational needs and designing educational interventions. Her work has been published in outlets including the Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, Journal of College Student Development, and Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.

Hensley earned her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, summa cum laude, from the University of Richmond; her Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University; and her doctorate in Educational Psychology, cognate in College Student Learning, from Ohio State.

She also holds Level 4 certification from the National College Learning Center Association, the highest certification in her field. Her professional involvement includes serving as a former president and member of the executive board of the Ohio College Learning Center Association.

Hensley said she looks forward to joining Ohio Wesleyan and continuing to pursue her career passion of creating systems that support and streamline student success.

“One of the key reasons I am drawn to Ohio Wesleyan is its whole-campus commitment to student success,” said Hensley, a resident of Dublin. “The active involvement of faculty and staff creates a vibrant environment that forms the foundation for a comprehensive, proactive, and personalized approach to advising. I am genuinely excited to lead Holistic Advising at Ohio Wesleyan, as it has the potential to enhance the overall experience of each student and integrate with all aspects of campus life.”

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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