Long-time Student Affairs administrator Jane Tuttle to retire
LAWRENCE – Jane Tuttle has influenced the lives of countless students and parents during her 25 years of working in student affairs at the University of Kansas. Tuttle, who is currently assistant vice-chancellor for student affairs, is retiring from KU. She will complete her last day of work on December 17th and officially retire on December 31st.
“I received a really nice handwritten note from a graduate when he heard I was retiring,” Tuttle said. “I didn’t know I had such a positive impact on this young man. It made me cry when I read it, and it still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.
Tuttle, who was named one of KU’s Women of Distinction in 2012, leaves big shoes to fill in the Office of Student Affairs, where she has spent the past 25 years.
“You can train someone to do your tasks, but you can’t teach history and compassion,” said Karen Bailey, assistant controller of student accounts and accounts receivable. “KU loses a great mentor for our students and a great colleague. ”
Jane began her career at KU as a resident principal at Ellsworth Hall in 1979 and welcomed some of her former resident assistants to campus when they brought their children to college. Since returning to KU in 1996, Tuttle has seen the university expand support for students from one-person work to an entire department and adopt a compassionate withdrawal policy for undergraduates, which Tuttle always thought it was necessary. With a chuckle, she explained that some of her ideas were right before their time.
In her current role, which she has held since 2015, Tuttle serves as a resource for faculty, students and community members. She provides leadership and administrative support to the Student Affairs Division, which is committed to supporting and serving all members of the KU community.
It all started when Tuttle was drawn to the job and said yes to a job offer as Assistant Dean of Students – a position she held from 1996 to 2004 – part-time and on a limited-time basis. Tuttle had spent several years previously as a stay-at-home mom with her two sons.
“I could still do my mom’s thing, which was really important to me,” Tuttle said. “And the job was to lead students, which I knew how to do. The rest is history.
Tuttle then served as Assistant to the Vice-President, Student Success from 2005-2008. She was directly responsible for the coordination of the parent services program and she managed the university’s non-academic misconduct program. She then served as Assistant Vice-President for Student Success from 2008-2011 and provided front-line communication with students, parents, faculty, staff and other stakeholders. She retained similar responsibilities in her next position – Assistant Vice-President, Student Affairs – a position she held until she took her last post at KU as Assistant Vice-President, Student Affairs. in 2015.
Over the past 25 years, Tuttle has been fortunate to bond with thousands of KU students and parents. Difficult conversations are a routine part of her job, but she maintains that being honest and compassionate is the key to maintaining relationships in the face of these difficult conversations.
“Jane really cares about her students,” Bailey said. “Even though these conversations are difficult, she approaches everyone with care and compassion and provides advice. It doesn’t mean that students always get what they want, but at least someone listened and cared.
Tuttle’s mind goes first to the students when she reflects on her time as the Jayhawk. Hawk Week, she says, is fun, even if it means working every day, and move-in day is a “happy occasion” where students and parents are filled with hope.
Tuttle, who earned a doctorate in higher education administration from KU, was also involved in political work during her time at the university. She recalls a time nearly 20 years ago when the Kansas board of directors decided to survey graduates with questions to measure indicators of post-graduation success.
“That was before you could email someone and ask them to fill out a quick form,” Tuttle said.
The project eventually became Tuttle’s. And she thinks it’s because others thought it couldn’t be done.
“I went around and talked to each dean or their assistant and asked them how we could make it work,” Tuttle said. “Long story short, we made it work and it’s still institutionalized. My philosophy was, “I don’t care how much work it causes in the back if it gets done.” No one needs to be their champion anymore because it works.
Now, after years of hard work, Tuttle finally has time to relax and will join her retired husband, Herb Tuttle. He is a recently retired KU faculty member who has led the Engineering Management and Project Management programs for many years. She has no immediate retirement plans in addition to spending more time with her family and traveling to Texas more frequently to attend her granddaughter’s dance recitals.
But the memories of his KU family won’t be fading anytime soon.
“I’m going to miss people,” Tuttle said. “It was a really wonderful experience. It is a research institution that cares about undergraduates. You don’t find that everywhere.