The University of Lynchburg has a new vice president for student development. Eric T. Baldwin comes to Lynchburg from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he served as assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students. Baldwin will start on Nov. 1.
“We are so pleased to welcome Eric to the Hive,” said President Dr. Alison Morrison-Shetlar. “His wealth of experience in higher education — from student affairs to academic advising, and sports management — will serve our students and our campus well.”
In this role, Baldwin will serve as a strong advocate for student success and the Office of Student Development. He will oversee all student development functions through the supervision of five direct reports including the dean of students, three associate deans, and the director of student engagement and leadership development.
His charge also involves evaluating the office’s organizational structure including appointing a new dean of students, a role that was previously part of the vice president’s responsibilities.
Baldwin, who has held various roles in higher education, says he began looking for a student affairs position just like this one about two years ago. “I made a list of all the things important to me in the profession, and I was blown away by what the University of Lynchburg was looking for — it was like you all had read my list.”
He is looking forward to the move — both professionally and geographically.
“This is like a homecoming for me,” Baldwin said. “I grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and my wife and I met at James Madison University. The entirety of our lives, except for the past seven and a half years, has been spent in North Carolina and Virginia. The University and the city are the perfect size to make connections, build relationships, and make a difference.”
Since accepting the job, his mind has been “moving at warp speed” in anticipation of getting started. Baldwin added he’s eager to get to know Lynchburg students, faculty, and staff.
“During my campus visit, I was so impressed with the students I met and engaged with — each person was so genuine and welcoming,” he said. “The students opened up about their concerns and their needs, so I am definitely excited about being involved with as many events as possible and being present with students.”
The positive vibe Baldwin felt when talking to students extended to other areas, as well.
“I am excited to work with such caring faculty and administrators,” he said. “It’s obvious the faculty love to teach and care deeply for their students. The professionals in the student development area are some of the most dedicated I’ve met, and President Alison and her team have such a strong vision for the future! I am honored to be a part of all that.”
Baldwin’s experience in higher education spans more than three decades. After completing his bachelor’s degree in political science at Appalachian State University, he earned a Master of Education at James Madison University. While there, he began his career in residence life as a graduate hall director.
He stayed in residence life for several years, first as the area coordinator at North Carolina State University, then as associate dean and director of residence life at Queens University of Charlotte, where he later was dean of student affairs from 1996 to 2002.
In 1998, while taking business courses at Queens University, he pitched an idea for a hybrid sports management program — professional golf management — that would be overseen by the PGA. In 2002, he was tapped as the program’s first director, a job he held until his wife’s job transfer to Washington, D.C., in 2011.
After a short stint as director of operations for Operation VetsHaven in the Greater D.C. Metropolitan Area, Baldwin was hired as director of professional academic advising at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, in 2012.
In 2014, Baldwin and his family — wife, Liesel Kittlitz, daughter, Harper, and son, Reese — moved across the country to Spokane, where he took his most recent assignment as assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students. From 2019 to 2020, he served as interim associate provost, overseeing the Division of Student Affairs.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic brought more responsibilities for Baldwin, who oversaw student testing and the evacuation of students studying abroad, among other duties.
It’s a portfolio that should prepare him well for the collaborative environment at Lynchburg, Morrison-Shetlar said. In addition to serving on the President’s Executive Council at Lynchburg, Baldwin will also join the COVID-19 Task Force and the enrollment task force that is being created.
“I look forward to drawing on Eric’s expertise as we navigate the various challenges facing our University,” Morrison-Shetlar said.
“Our leadership team and the task force have done a fabulous job working together to keep the campus safe and informed throughout this pandemic. While that is still a top priority, student recruitment and retention are long-term challenges we can only solve together — and that is something we are known for: collaboration and innovation. Eric will fit right in and move us forward to success.”
Baldwin, who is finishing his Doctor of Ministry at Virginia Theological Seminary, is excited for the challenge.
“There is always so much work to be done — but that energizes me,” he said. “Besides spending a lot of time getting to know the students and the community better, I will focus on making sure people are seen, heard, and valued. These are personal values for me when working with my team and with students.
“Also, I’m looking forward to beginning to integrate President Alison’s vision for the University more deeply in the work of student development. This is an exciting time to be a Hornet!”