At the onset of this semester, Canisius College welcomed its newest director of student engagement, Jason Francey. Francey, who is from Long Island and is an alum of the college, has already proven to be a perfect fit for the campus community.
Francey attended SUNY Potsdam for his undergraduate studies, through which he received a degree in theater. Afterwards, he received his master’s in student personnel administration (now the HESAA program) from Canisius and worked as a graduate assistant in the Griff Center for Academic Engagement. He spent two years at Juniata College working with the Residential Life program and he was the assistant director for college engagement at Utica College, before eventually coming back “home” to Canisius. Currently, he is studying to receive his MFA in theater arts from the University of Idaho.
As the director of student engagement, Francey’s job consists of working directly with students — especially student leaders — around campus. This part of the job, he says, is his favorite, as it allows him to make connections with undergrads and make their college experience the best it can be.
Francey brings an energetic and passionate vibe to the department, and he is looking forward to working with the students to implement ideas and projects that will lead to more participation in campus events and clubs, as well as the development of important skill sets by current student leaders.
He discussed an idea to train students in organizational and personal leadership, whether that be teaching them how to run a club meeting or plan an event, to learning the qualities that it takes to be a respected leader. He also has ideas to create co-curricular pathways that help students build their resume while also identifying and practicing leadership skills like communication, cooperation and public speaking.
But most of all, Francey’s goal is to get to know the undergrads at Canisius and to work with the school to create a positive and engaging environment for all.
“My office door is always open to all students,” he said. “I love when students just come in, sit down and have a conversation. I want to get to know their experience, but I also want to get to know them as a person.”
Francey is all about having those personal relationships with students. By attending events and stopping by club rooms to introduce himself to students, he has already gotten to know a handful of undergrads around Canisius.
Francey has big ideas for the school, but he also takes time to himself and has revitalized his love for exploring Buffalo. He is a big theater fan — multiple playbills are framed and hung up in his office — and is excited to get back to Shea’s for a show. As for food, the cheesy fries at Cole’s are his favorite, and he is excited to try new restaurants that have opened up since he moved away.
Canisius is lucky to have a new addition like Francey, and his biggest hope for his role is to impact students in a positive way — similar to what he experienced when he was in college.
When speaking on his time at Canisius, Francey recalled it fondly, noting that he is a firm believer in the Jesuit education and has taken his experiences from Canisius with him everywhere in life. He was ready to take the next career step in his life, and the job at Canisius was exactly what he hoped for.
On Canisius, he said: “What better place to do that than at the school that has meant so much to me and given me so much?”