Division of Student Life

Mission Statement

The division of student life at Averett University is committed to providing an inclusive environment enabling each student to develop and enhance personal health and wellbeing, leadership skills, social responsibility, critical thinking and a spirit of service.

Student Life Goals and Objectives

Personal Health and Wellbeing

Students will be exposed to programs and initiatives designed to promote health and wellbeing including: health clinics, wellness counseling, health education, recreational activities, and spiritual exploration where appropriate.

Objective One
Students will have opportunities to participate in health and wellness fairs. Health and wellness educational materials and information will be displayed and distributed in key locations on campus. Students will participate in a group learning experience centered around the topic of emotional well-being and resilience.

Leadership Skills

Students will become actively engaged through the development of leadership skills and qualities.

Objective One
Promote leadership skill development through exposure and access to leadership programming, opportunity and roles.

Objective Two
Establish opportunities for students to engage and apply leadership learning/skills.

Objective Three
Establish departmental standards for leadership engagement, support and influence.

Social Responsibility

Students will gain a healthy respect for self and others by exercising personal integrity and engaging in a community of shared responsibility and social media.

Objective One
Promote the engagement in active bystander intervention through the See It Say It campaign by reporting incidents that disrupt the well-being of themselves and or others. programming, leadership opportunities and through the See It Say It campaign.

Critical Thinking

Students will demonstrate the ability to reason and make sound judgements through an exploration of our world’s ideas, narratives and strategies.

Objective One
Teach appropriate strategies for students to responsibly and critically interpret multiple narratives of information.

Spirit of Service

Students will gain an awareness of the impact and importance of service to others.

Objective One
Students will make connections between local, national and global communities by identifying the impact of current social issues on humanity.

Student Life Staff

Lee Wilkerson
Acting Dean of Students and Director of Housing & Residence Life
434-791-5627 / 434-791-2470

Lee serves as the Acting Dean of Students and Director of Housing and Residence Life. He received his Bachelor of Science in Biology Pre-Health from Lees-McRae College and Master of Business Administration from Lincoln Memorial University. He has served in housing and residence life for over fifteen years at several colleges and universities. His goal for all residents is that, as a result of living on campus, they will be more successful as students not just in the classroom but that they will continue their learning within the halls they call home as they navigate the independence and interdependence of community living on campus while becoming more connected with their Averett family. Lee enjoys spending time with his wife and four children.

Jill Adams
Assistant Dean of Students

Jill Adams joined the Averett family in September 2016. Before coming to Averett University, she served as the Director of Student Health Programming at Ferrum College.  Jill holds a B.S. from Bluefield College and a Master’s in Health and Wellness from Liberty University and has 3 children.

Fredrick Betts
Coordinator for Retention and Persistence

Fredrick comes to us from DCC where he has served as a Career Coach/Success Coach since 2013. He enjoys working with the students, faculty and staff to provide students with a rewarding college experience. He is excited to join the Student Success Center here at Averett to help be a part of the continued success of the students.

Skyler Daniel
University Chaplain

Skyler Daniel is from Knoxville, TN, and he and his wife Ronella are blessed with two children, Charlize and Amos.  Skyler holds a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Lee University, and a Master’s of Divinity from Wake Forest University.  Half his time is shared with West Main Baptist Church where he serves as Associate Pastor for Youth.  Before coming to Averett, Skyler ministered to marginalized students in Romania, and served various ministry roles before that.

Dr. Jenny Wagstaff
Director of Counseling Services

Dr. Wagstaff earned her M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Radford University, Radford, VA and her Ph.D, in Counselor Education and Clinical Supervision from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. She has worked in higher education for over twenty years where she has served in both student affairs and faculty positions. For the past six years, she served as an Assistant Professor in Counselor Education and taught courses in the areas of group counseling, family counseling, crisis, substance abuse, lifespan development, multicultural counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy for graduate students pursuing their degree in clinical mental health counseling. Prior to teaching, she worked as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the Hokie Wellness Center at Virginia Tech for seven years and as the Assistant Director for Student Support Services for the International Student Center at Virginia Tech for two years. She has published research in the area of Brief Motivational Interventions to address high risk drinking on the college campus and authored research around the readiness of student affairs professionals to provide helping skills. While she enjoys teaching, she is most passionate about providing counseling services to students. It is her goal to work with students in a manner that leads to the development of self-awareness, self-reliance and self-confidence. Her counseling style is highly supportive while being goal orientated and solution focused. To maintain a work/life balance, Dr Wagstaff enjoys spending time being creative in the kitchen, gardening and walking around her farm with her husband and dogs.

Jessie Henderson
Counselor and Conduct Case Manager

Jesse Henderson graduated from Averett University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. After graduating, Jesse moved to Tennessee to pursue her graduate degree from East Tennessee State University. In 2016, she graduated with her Master’s of Art in Counseling with a concentration in College Counseling/Student Affairs. While in Tennessee she served as the Outreach Coordinator for the Alcohol and Other Drug program, as well as a senior staff Counselor at ETSU.

Jesse is happy to be back at her alma mater where she will be serving as a part-time Counselor, and handling case management services for student conduct. She is excited to help students find their way to succeed at Averett! Students who are struggling with adjustment to college life or simply need someone to talk to can feel free to set up an appointment. Topics typically include depression, anxiety, sleep problems, managing stress, trauma, substance abuse issues, and relationship issues. Jesse’s counseling style is flexible, student centered, solution-oriented, and supportive. She enjoys connecting with others, laughing whenever possible, and serving as a resource to help get students back on track when needed.

Tammy Jackson
Student Life Operations Coordinator
SEVIS Principal Designated School Official (PDSO)

Tammy lives in South Boston, VA with her husband, Michael, two sons– Malik and Mekhi, and her niece, Tylisia. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in 2004 in Organizational Management and Development from Bluefield College and her MBA from Averett University in 2008. She is the Student Life Operations Coordinator in the Dean of Students Office. Tammy has worked in college education for over sixteen years in areas such as admissions, advising, registration, business, and financial aid. She enjoys walking, binge watching television, classic literature and movies, and planting flowers. She is a student advocate who is passionate about seeing all students set and achieve their goals.

Holly Kilby
Assistant Director, Academic Support

Holly Kilby serves Averett University as the Assistant Director for Academic Support, where she oversees the tutoring program, the Writing Center, and specialized testing.  Holly received her B.A. in English and History in 2009, her MBA in 2015 and her M.Ed in Administration and Supervision, all from Averett.  She has a background in both higher education and K-12 education, specializing in at-risk youth.  When not working, Holly enjoys adventures with her four boys, be it wrestling practice, camping at a state park, or making bird houses with the boys’ local scout troop.

Shelbilyn “Shelbi” Boelsche
Assistant Director of Housing Operations-Office of Housing and Residence Life

Shelbilyn recently completed the MBA program at Averett University. She graduated from Winston-Salem State University in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. She is from King, North Carolina and joined the department of Housing and Residence Life as a Graduate Hall Director in July 2017. She finds value in music and helping others realize their full potential. Shelbilyn’s passion for working with others has allowed her to develop strong leadership skills throughout her college career in the WSSU music department.

Johnathan “John” Collins
Assistant Director of Residence Life-Office of Housing and Residence Life

Johnathan received his undergraduate degree from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC and completed his MBA from Averett University in 2020. He is originally from King, NC, but now calls Danville home with his wife, Allison.   He has been involved with marching band and many other band functions from middle school until graduating college. Johnathan joined a group known as Wigwam, at Catawba College that allowed him to put on school events and coordinate with all school clubs to give students a college experience they would never forget. He joined the department of Housing and Residence Life as a Graduate Hall Director in July 2018. Johnathan’s passion is to create an environment that students can love and always call home.

Lynsey Corriher
Senior COVID-19 Case Manager
Office: 434-791-5852

Lynsey graduated in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in Psychology and completed her MBA in 2021, both from Averett University. She is from Landis, North Carolina. Lynsey has always been involved in many on-campus organizations and found a home in the Averett community. Through her involvement with various clubs and organizations, Lynsey found joy in helping get others involved and sharing their passions. She loves live music, reading, and thrifting.

Joshua Davis
Graduate Assistant-Housing & Residence Life (Research Coordinator)

Joshua graduated from Averett University in the spring of 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and is currently seeking to earn his Master’s degree in Business with a concentration in Leadership from Averett University. His home residence is in Atlanta, GA, and he recently joined the department of Housing and Residence Life as the Graduate Assistant Research Coordinator for the office of Housing and Residence Life. He prides himself in building relationships and providing service to those around him. Josh’s passion for working with others has allowed him to develop strong leadership skills throughout his college career at Averett University.

Nia Johnson
COVID-19 Case Manager

Originally from Richmond, VA, Nia graduated from Averett University in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management and Management Science with a minor in Economics and completed the MBA program at Averett in 2020. She finds value in helping others and giving back to the community. Her passion for giving back allows her to strengthen her communication and problem solving skills.

Jessica McConnell
Coordinator of Programming-Student Engagement

Jessica serves Averett University as the Coordinator of Student Engagement. Prior to Averett she worked as a Financial Aid Officer at Fortis College in Norfolk, Virginia.  Jessica graduated from Emory & Henry College with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training in 2008.  She resides in Danville with her husband.

Phillip Mitchell
Coordinator of Health & Wellness-Student Engagement

Phillip Mitchell, a Texas native, comes to Averett University ready to build community and provide opportunities. After receiving his Master of Arts degree in Sports Management from Dallas Baptist University, in Dallas, TX, Mitchell has become passionate about creating intentional relationships to serve students more long term. Mitchell has always been involved in team sports, and understands the value of using your ‘teammates’ to work towards a larger goal. He is on your team: working with you, and for you.

Caylin Smith
Graduate Assistant-Housing & Residence Life (Assessment)

Caylin graduated from Catawba College in the Spring of 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. She is from Concord, North Carolina and joined the department of Housing and Residence Life as a Graduate Assistant in July 2019. She is currently working on her MBA with Averett. She finds value in connection with staff and students as well as a passion for music.

Devenia Thorpe
Americorps Student Success Coach

Devenia Thorpe is the Student Success Coach at Averett University.  Born in Ruffin, NC, she’s a military veteran (Army) in which she worked as a Human Resource Specialist.  She has worked for Rockingham County Schools for over 6 years as a Head Volleyball Coach, where she has not only coached but has served as a mentor and tutor to student athletes.  Devenia also has over 8 years of armed security background. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Business Management focusing on Human Resources.