❍ Field of current or former occupation: Academia
❍ Email: [email protected]
Question: What is your current occupation and where do you live? Please briefly describe your duties and responsibilities. How long have you been at this position?
Jodi Fisler: I currently work as Director of Student Affairs Planning & Assessment and Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. I have been in this position since 2009, although I started my career at William & Mary’s international studies center in 1997. My current responsibilities involve overseeing the student affairs division’s strategic plan and working with the various student affairs departments to help them assess the effectiveness of their work. I also coordinate campus surveys related to student life and analyze and share the data with campus leaders and other interested groups.
Question: Did studying German language and culture at Williams College help you in your professional and personal development? If yes, then how were German Studies useful to you? What opportunities and challenges did the German major open up for you both specific to your current occupation and more generally?
Jodi Fisler: I believe my German major had an indirect impact on the trajectory of my professional life. The experiences I had while studying abroad during my junior year gave me confidence and skills that helped me land my first “real” job out of college (working in the alumnae and development office of an independent K-12 school). I have no doubt that my international experiences also helped me land the job at William & Mary’s international studies center when I moved to Williamsburg. Although I never used my language skills in either of those roles, my employers appreciated the broader perspective I had gained through my cultural studies and time abroad, as well as my willingness to take on challenging tasks and my ability to relate effectively to a variety of people. I believe the exposure I gained to German philosophers, artists, and writers over the course of my major also helped me think about problems in different, creative ways. I was also able to make a little extra money teaching German classes to adults on the weekends.
The influence of my major on my personal development is much more direct. The year I spent in Vienna as a student at the Hauptuni was transformative. I returned from that year abroad with a much clearer understanding of what it meant to be a student and an independent adult. I also developed friendships that have lasted for more than 20 years (and counting) and that give me a good excuse to make return visits every few years. I continue to enjoy German and Austrian books, radio, and television, thanks to the wonders of the internet. Given that some of the books I have read recently have not been translated into English, I can say with certainty that the language skills I developed at Williams and during my time abroad have given me access to ideas and cultural perspectives that have greatly enriched my life.
Question: Please share your advice or recommendation about the German department at Williams to a prospective student who is considering taking courses or majoring in our program.
Jodi Fisler: It’s been so long since I was in the program, I’m afraid I can’t offer any advice on this subject.
Question: Would you be willing to serve as a contact person for current students of German about your career or life path? If so, how should students contact you?
Jodi Fisler: I would be happy for students to contact me at my personal email address: [email protected]