Retirements are always a bittersweet time and the retirement of Dean of Students Mike Jungers is no exception. Dean Jungers has been a fixture at MSU for 39 years working in many different areas of the university. Everyone that has crossed paths with Dean Jungers is touched by his kindness, humor, sensitivity and love of our students. Dean Jungers officially retires on June 1st but will be assisting the university with some projects off-and-on.
1) You are retiring after 39 years at MSU. What education/career path did you take to get to the position of Dean of Students? My educational path is not something I would hold up as a model. My career path was marked by my willingness to explore opportunities beyond my current position. In every position that I had, I was also contributing to another area of Student Affairs. In this way, I moved from Residence Life to university conduct, retention, and fraternity coordination, to drug education and prevention programs, to university conduct and disability services, to student conduct and behavioral intervention, and finally into the role of Dean of Students.
2) In your years at MSU, you’ve seen a lot of change take place. Can you tell us three of the biggest changes you have seen in your time here and what effect those changes had on the student body? One would be the emergence of the Student Government Association as a representative body of the students to a significant contributor to the landscape and services of the University through first the creation of the Wyrick Fund, followed by the Sustainability Fee, the Recreation Center and Recreation Facility Fees. Secondly, the recognition of the statewide mission in Public Affairs, the articulation of the three Pillars, and the signature annual events that followed. Finally, our focus on diversity and inclusion which is causing us as a community to experience some very significant but necessary growing pains. There is so much room for growth in what we can realize as an institution and in our influence beyond our campus.
3) A student comes to you and says that he/she is interested in a career in Student Affairs and they would like to know why you chose student affairs and the feedback you would give them on working in student affairs. What would you tell them? Student Affairs was not so much a choice as it was an evolution. There is certainly a thread that connects my first role, as an RA and then a SOAR Leader in the late 60’s to my present role as the Dean of Students, but I never looked too far beyond the role I was fulfilling at any given time. Be prepared to never be richly paid; never say “I’ve seen it all;” expect that there is always more to do and a new group of students to work with; be open to learn about students and about yourself throughout your career; and develop a life beyond your work.
4) What are your hobbies outside of MSU? I love to canoe and fish with my friends; road biking for the exercise, solitude, and taking in the world around me; and enjoying art in all its forms with my wife Gayle. How do you balance work/life? Hmmm, I am not sure that I do. My meditation is probably my best “balancing act” whether or not the rest of me is in balance.
5) What is your favorite tradition here at MSU? Why? It is a tradition practiced at every institution of higher education, but I have to say that my favorite tradition is commencement and the role of undergraduate marshal. So much joy, relief, reflection, friendship, love, pride, satisfaction, and appreciation in JQH Arena. There is no event like it and I feel like I have the very best seat and role in the house.
Read more about Dean Jungers in The Standard.