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Alumni Feature: Josh Engle

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Meet Josh Engle, Title IX Officer and Dean of Students at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Engle graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2012 with a master's in marriage and family therapy.

What are your day-to-day tasks as a Title IX Officer and Dean of Students?
Overall, my role is to support students who may be struggling or facing challenges so they may continue their academic pursuits with as little interruption as possible. Each of my days are typically filled with individual meetings supporting students experiencing a number of issues. Some students may have a disability and require accommodations within the classroom. As the Title IX Officer, I investigate reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault according to Federal guidelines. Finally, my office is responsible for hosting student events to increase engagement. The more engaged students are, the more likely they are to succeed at their educational goals.

How do you treat students holistically?
Understanding developmental theory is key for educators. Student development is unique to each student. This means students often face different struggles and may need different supports in place to continue helping them make progress toward their goals. I don’t consider myself an expert on each student’s situation. I’m an expert on policies, community resources, and supporting students to make healthy decisions that will inevitably support their growth and development.

What inspired your career direction?
My motivation for transitioning to higher ed came as I gained experience in the field and saw students face many differing struggles. I enjoy providing supports to students who need a little assistance or aren’t being heard. I worked at Payne County Youth Services at the youth shelter as an undergraduate student, which sparked an interest in supporting children and young adults facing legal and familial issues. After graduating, I was a case manager in a rural community. That experience showed me the importance of family and early childhood development for overall mental and physical health. After graduate school I also worked as a supervised therapist in Stillwater.

What OSU experiences and classes prepared you for what you do now?
Communication is key to supporting others. Listening and developing an ear for problem solving is essential when working in higher education and the human services field. Having the skills and ability to communicate professionally and effectively are key to professional success in any field. I often use the theories I learned in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at OSU to gain a more comprehensive understanding of students and their unique circumstances.

Who helped you get to where you are today?
I appreciated the time spent in my graduate assistantship with Dr. Brecca Farr, Human Sciences Career Services senior coordinator. Dr. Farr is an excellent example of an educator who integrates development theory into her work and supervision of students. Her patience and constant guiding hand showed me how much I didn’t know about professionalism, but helped motivate me to continue learning. I am grateful Dr. Farr invested her time to help me grow.

What advice do you have for current OSU students?
Be intentional with the courses you take and the co-curricular experiences you attach yourself to. This is what set you apart and gives potential employers a wider idea of what your interests are and how you might fit into a role within an organization. Find a faculty member within your field that you can connect with. Get involved and ask questions. I can’t tell you all of the ways in which this can be helpful. Specifically, you can get a broader idea of your field that may allow you to see even more options for your future. Students are more powerful than they realize.

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