Honoring Cindy Janney's Remarkable Career and Retirement

Janney’s favorite aspects of working at Minnesota State Mankato included her interactions with Residential Life students and staff. As Dean of Students, she enjoyed solving problems not specified in procedures and rules and helping students and families not get lost in the complexity of the university during difficult situations. Managing student conduct has been a fun challenge, she says, especially helping students realize that student conduct is here to help rather than get them in trouble. Janney describes her work in the student conduct process as the opportunity to “help [students] refocus on what they want to accomplish and what will help them get there.”      

Over the years, Janney has observed changes amongst incoming classes, including smaller family sizes and fewer students having previously shared a room with a sibling. She noted that there has been a clear decline in students’ ability to resolve conflict as first-year students, possibly due to less experience sharing spaces growing up. She also mentioned the impact that electronics and technology have had, highlighting the same success rate in roommate selection between students using social media platforms to find roommates and the selection of roommates by Residential Life based on the preference survey provided by the university. 

Janney believes that one of her greatest impacts to the Maverick community was her willingness to show her own mistakes and accept others. This behavior has been visible within the Office of Residential Life, and she anticipates this positive culture to continue well beyond her time. She hopes that people feel cared for and able to work as part of a team. Without communication and teamwork, the larger efforts and construction projects—like building new residential buildings—would not have been completed successfully.

Some of the more visible impacts Janney has made on campus include her involvement in building renovations and new construction projects. She describes these projects as “fun and satisfying” because they changes the environment and have the opportunity to shape student behavior in positive ways. She shares that “it’s been fun to provide students with the spaces that meet their needs.”

 Janney describes the sense of community and teamwork within Residential Life as having an emphasis on being vulnerable with one another. She acknowledges that it is not always easy to do, but that they are most successful when a certain level of vulnerability is present. While working in Residential Life, Janney believes that “in order to show up as a human for students, we need to show up as a human to each other.” It is evident within Residential Life that there is an emphasis on communication, vulnerability and relationships with one another. Janney feels that this community helps them achieve extraordinary outcomes.

Just a week before retiring, Janney got to experience her favorite event of the year. On Tuesday, Jan. 9, an annual award ceremony took place for residential hall students in which students both give and receive awards for achievements they didn’t know they could do. For example, students received awards for having exceptional involvement, being a ray of sunshine, or for being the culinary master of Residential Life students. “The whole point of student affairs is out of classroom experiences that support students’ achievement in [the] classroom,” Janney says, and this event highlights some of those moments. The event concluded with Janney receiving the Bronze Pin award for the work she has put into helping Residential Life Student Leadership. Junior Sammy Higgins presented this award, saying that Janney was deserving because “she gave the conference staff the confidence to host the first Regional Leadership Conference 2022 within the Midwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (MACURH) and the National Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH).” Higgins added, “she has also made a large impact within my own life as a student leader, especially during COVID-19, in a time that students didn't and couldn't be involved on campus.” Janney has clearly made a lasting impact not only on the professional staff, but also current students. 

            While reflecting on her time at Minnesota State Mankato, Janney attributes her professional growth to breaking out of her own assumptions and seeing problems/issues in new ways, allowing her to move forward. She acknowledges that assumptions can be limiting in what she can accomplish and breaking out of these assumptions has allowed her to continue to serve students positively. She is particularly proud of her consultation with students on what University and Residential Life planning is, explaining where their money goes and being a good steward of student resources. She has seen the impact of her intentionality of residential hall student resources achieve outcomes that have positively benefited students as well as University enrollment.

In retirement, Janney plans to spend more time with family and friends scattered across the country and the world. She plans to continue part-time consulting work for the Minnesota State system, specifically in planning for the next 10-year food service contract. She shared that she is looking forward to only focusing on one task. In her reflection, Janney acknowledged the dedication of the people at the University. Her career is marked by a commitment to students, a willingness to adapt to changes and a passion for creating a positive and supportive Residential Life community. Although her time at Minnesota State Mankato has come to an end, it is clear the University will continue to see the positive aftereffects of her many years of great work and dedication long into the future.

We wish Cindy Janney the best in her retirement. 

Big ideas and real-world thinking on campus and in the community.

Dean of Students and Residential Life Director