Ruth Ward: Captain of the mother ship

Missy Ballinghoff

Ruth Ward sits in the Student Administration’s Office. Starting March 5, she will be Operation’s Assistant in the Office of Living and Multicultural affairs. (Photo: Lyle Hawthorne).

When first stepping into Goucher’s Student Administration Services (SAS), it’s easy not to know what you need, or where to begin. It is here, staring blankly at the front desk, that most students meet Ruth Ward.

“I want to make sure that students who come in this office feel secure. I always try to get the person to say what they need and I don’t always necessarily fix it for them, but I want to be sort of a conduit,” said Ward.

Ward has worked as the Operations Assistant in SAS for five years, but will be switching positions come this March. Beginning Monday, March 5, Ward will be the Operations Assistant in the office of Community Living and Multicultural Affairs (CLMA).

“I am convinced we have amazing students that may sometimes need guidance as they negotiate the challenges of college life- and, I want to have an opportunity to support those challenges through the office of CLMA,” said Ward.

Ward currently spends her days helping students work with billing, financial aid, and the Registrar’s Office. Initially expecting to be a secretary, Ward quickly realized that SAS “is the mother ship for undergraduate students…where kids can come in and I hope resolve questions, issues, and problems that they might feel concerned about,” she said.

“I don’t want students to feel like they can’t ask a question, so I try to be welcoming and warm,” she adds. Ward provides valentines around Valentine’s Day, Halloween candy at Halloween, and other sweets for the winter holidays. Ward focuses on making SAS a productive, comfortable working environment for students to solve problems and ask questions.

As part of her position at SAS, Ward works closely with many other offices on campus such as the Dean’s office, Community Living, and Admissions, and pulls many of those offices together into communication for students. “We’re trying to make a kid have a positive experience at college,” Ward said.

Ward will be working under the Assistant Dean for Community Living at her new position, and will be continuing her goals to support students through challenges faced at college.

“I plan to continue my belief that Goucher faculty, staff and administration are a team with this goal in mind—to assist our students with success,” said Ward.
Before working at Goucher Ward taught children with learning differences in special education in Baltimore County Public Schools for 10 years. “What was so cool about that was I knew a lot of kids in the county who are in this particular area and when I got here some of them were Goucher students who had known me when they were very young.”

Ward graduated from University of Maryland College Park as an English and American History double major. When she’s not in SAS helping Goucher students find the right form to fill out, Ward volunteers at the Smithsonian Institute library in Washington DC.

“I work there as a volunteer information coordinator, like [SAS], except I say things like ‘hope diamond second floor,’ ‘ladies’ room over here,’ and I take people with visual impairments sometimes on tours.”

While Ward spends most of her time at Goucher, one of her favorite Goucher events without students is the SAS annual holiday party.  “One of the reasons that I enjoyed it so much was I have a lot of interaction with people all over the college…every office from FMS to the President’s Office, the Dean’s Office to Community Living… and I would talk and email with those people but never meet them. So this event is a place where we can all come together and have real conversations and enjoy company and tons of food,” said Ward.

Ward also enjoys Baccalaureate and Graduation as positive celebrations of students’ achievements. “That’s when I get to see all the parents who I’ve talked to on the phone or emailed for four or five years and it’s just awesome,” said Ward.

“I do not feel like I will be too far away—and I plan to continue my belief that Goucher faculty, staff and administration are a team with this goal in mind—to assist our students with success.”

Ward plans on taking her ideas and goals for helping students over to her new position at CLMA where she will be even more student-centralized. With her constant focus on the students’ needs at SAS, and soon at CLMA, Ward said, “I feel like I have 1,500 kids working here.”



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