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

Lesley Villarose
Dean of Students

Lesley Villarose, Dean of Students at Averett University, grew up in Rockville, MD. She attended Lynchburg College and received a bachelor of arts in communications with an emphasis on journalism. After graduating from Lynchburg College in 2002 she moved to Philadelphia, PA where she attended Temple University and received her master’s in educational administration.

During her time in Philadelphia, she worked at three institutions and served in various positions in student affairs that included student activities, recreation services, conference services and student union operations and conduct.

Previously she served as the Director of Student Engagement. She, her husband Michael and their daughter Lexi reside in Eden, NC. Lesley serves as State Director of Region 3 for NASPA.

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.  She has 3 children and resides in the Danville area with her husband.

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.

Rodney Harper
Mailroom Supervisor




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 with Dean Villarose. 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 graduated from Averett with a B.A. in English and History in 2009; she earned her MBA from Averett in 2015.  Holly is currently working to complete an M.Ed in Administration and Supervision, also 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.

Lee Wilkerson
Director of Housing & Residence Life

Lee serves as the 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. Lee is grateful to be a part of an office that supplies much more than just the basic need of a roof and a bed. 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.

Erin Schlauch
Director, Galesi Family Student Success Center

Erin lives in Danville with her husband and two children, Elijah and Eva. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from Mississippi College in Clinton, MS and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Belmont University in Nashville. Erin has worked in higher education for eight years as both faculty and staff, but her passion is in supporting student success through learning support. Before coming to Averett University to serve in her current role as the Director of Student Success, she served as the Director of the Learning Success Center at Arkansas State University Mid-South. Erin enjoys traveling and experiencing new places, good music, and good food. She is dedicated to innovating new ways to provide students with the encouragement and resources they need to help them reach their potential and succeed in their educational and personal goals.

Jamie Walker
Chief of Campus Safety and Security

Jamie Walker graduated from Averett University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. He graduated from DCC in 1997 with an Associate degree in Criminal Justice. Jamie has been with Averett University Security Department since 2004 and was promoted to Director of Security in 2007. This title was later changed to Chief of Campus Safety and Security. Jamie has over 15 years in campus security and law enforcement experience. Jamie and his wife Gena reside in Danville, VA.

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 is currently working on his MBA with Averett University. He is a recent graduate of Catawba College in Salisbury, NC and has a fiancée, Allison. He joined the department of Housing and Residence Life as a Graduate Hall Director in July 2018. Johnathan is from King, NC. 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. Johnathan’s passion is to create an environment that students can love and always call home.

Lynsey Corriher
Graduate Assistant for Student Engagement
Office: 434-791-723

Lynsey recently graduated from Averett University in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in Psychology. She now plans to obtain her MBA from Averett University. She is from Landis, North Carolina. She joined the Student Engagement Team as a Graduate Assistant in the summer of 2018. Lynsey was 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
Graduate Assistant- Student Success Center

Nia recently graduated from Averett University in the spring of 2018. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management and Management Science with a minor in Economics. Nia is a candidate in the MBA program at Averett. She is from Richmond, Virginia and recently joined the Student Success Center. 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 AmeriCorps 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.

Cecilia “CiCi” Yeager
Assistant to the Dean of Students, Counseling, & Spiritual Life (Special Projects)

Cecilia recently completed her MBA with a concentration in Marketing from Averett University. She graduated from Old Dominion University in December 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. During her undergraduate career, she interned for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia and served as a Small Group Facilitator and Service Co-Chair in her faith ministry at ODU. Cecilia has lived in Virginia for the last 10 years, but calls Texas her home. Her passions include painting, photography, reading dystopian novels, and feature writing.