Welcoming Dr. MOE, Dean of Students
Dr. Miriam Osborne–Elliott (Dr. MOE) keeps a basket of KIND bars in her office and urges visitors take one when they leave. Not just because she frequently meets with snack-loving college students, but as a reminder to both give and receive kindness.
A commitment to kindness is the philosophy that Dr. MOE brings to her new role as Chesapeake College’s first dean of students.
“Students usually end up in this office for something negative. They may have a complaint or issue that needs to be addressed. I try to make every meeting end positively with a solution to the problem and a plan to move forward,” Dr. MOE said. “We want all of our students to be successful. That is the priority here and is the guiding principle of our work.”
Often, the dean, said, those lessons for students go beyond academics. Learning how to collaborate and respect differing opinions, for example, are key goals of higher education that help students become better community members and employees.
“I’m not here to simply dole out punishments or deal with a single incidence,” Dr. MOE said. “The goal is ultimately to change the behaviors that brought them here in the first place. If students can make positive changes here, they are learning to remove barriers to their own success. That is a valuable skill they can use for the rest of their lives.”
The new administrator said she is looking forward to spending time in all areas of Chesapeake’s five-county service area. Dr. Osborne-Elliott sees many similarities between the Eastern Shore and her native St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“That deep connection to the water is something that I share with residents of the Eastern Shore. Water brings a certain geographic isolation so communities have to look inward for survival. People here are very proud of the local traditions and history. They work together and are creative problem solvers. I grew up exactly the same way,” Dr. MOE said.
What is already clear, Dr. MOE said, is the critical role Chesapeake plays in the region.
“The economic health and growth of this area is directly tied to the work we do here at the college,” she said. “In the time that I’ve been here, I see the impact this college has on the Eastern Shore and how important our work is to families here.”
Dr. MOE joined Chesapeake after spending 10 years at the University of Maryland College Park. Most recently, she was the assistant director for academic outreach and student development. Previously she worked at the University of the Virgin Islands for 20 years where she had several roles including dean of students for the St. Croix campus.
Dr. MOE earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She later earned a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University in St. David’s, Pa.
She was the inaugural fellow at the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Ga. In 2004, Dr. MOE participated in the Management Development Program at the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education in Cambridge, Mass.
With more than 25 years in higher education and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, Dr. MOE says she knows how to acclimate to a new leadership team.
“As you develop your plans and goals, it’s important to observe what is already working well in an organization and why. The next step is to listen to what people are telling you about what works and what can be improved.”
Dr. MOE says she already enjoys working with both Chesapeake’s employees and students.
“Everyone here works daily to create a safe, supportive environment where all of our students can thrive,” she said.