PTC Newberry Campus Director Wears Many HatsApril 8, 2022
It’s pretty difficult to summarize the many roles of Piedmont Technical College (PTC) Newberry Campus Director Beth Jaeger. In an average day, she is, of course, an administrator. But she is also a photographer, tech support guru, special events coordinator, social media influencer, logistics manager, counselor, furniture mover, art curator, and even resident elf or cupid, depending on the holiday. In short, Jaeger is a problem-solver and general spreader of happiness throughout the building.
“On this campus, we have fun. We are positive. And we are kind,” Jaeger said. “As long as we can laugh at ourselves, we have had a good day.”
At the time she began working at PTC in December 2013, Jaeger had little higher education experience but came with a mighty will to make things work. She brought to campus 19 years of experience working at a long-term care facility as an activity director and later as staffing director. Taking on managing the Newberry Campus was daunting in the beginning.
One of her first challenges was keeping track of classroom, workspace, and auditorium reservations using a room grid of the building. “It looks like a huge Tetris puzzle,” she said. “It was a big stressor. I’m thankful that I never double-booked a room!”
As she settled into the job (there is no such thing as a “routine” day), Jaeger widened her scope to address the friendliness and warmth of the campus. She had seen a mural painted by local artist Robert Matheson for a city Juneteenth event and wanted to share it with students. PTC Maintenance Technician Brian Hare knew the artist, so Jaeger asked him to make an inquiry. Next thing you know, the mural is on display in the campus’s front lobby. But it nearly took a village to make it happen. The mural wouldn’t fit in a car or standard truck.
“We eventually had to rent a U-Haul to transport the mural because it is so big,” noted the plucky logistics/transportation manager for a day.
Jaeger works hard to offer engaging activities for students, such as a Black History Month Trivia Contest, Valentine Exchange, Traveling Art Shows, and even a Free Little Library Box in front of the building. An especially inspired event was “Blind Date with a Book,” in which forgotten library books that are rarely checked out were giftwrapped and presented on a table for people to borrow. Participants seemed to really enjoy it.
“I get all my ideas from Pinterest. I am not that creative,” she said humbly. “I want the students to want to be here. I want them to have fun when they are here.”
Jaeger lives in Newberry with her husband, Mike, and daughters Kindel, 14, and Mallorie, 21. For Jaeger, a conversation about family is not complete without
Her fondness for animals, especially dogs, is no secret to the Veterinary Technology faculty on campus. Jaeger has audited their classes many times, and on her birthday, they presented her with an honorary Vet Tech lab coat.
In her spare time, Jaeger enjoys quilting and spending time with her active family. They participate in Crossfit together, and her younger daughter even competes.
Jaeger is grateful for the outstanding people she works with and is quick to give credit when it’s due. She noted that Dean of Off-Campus Academic Affairs Lisa Toland and Academic Services Coordinator Ashley Boone are indispensable members of her winning team.
“There is no way one person can do this,” she insisted. “You have got to have a good team.”
These days, Jaeger is somewhat of a “campus whisperer,” for whom no job is too small.
“If it needs to be done, I will do it or learn how to do it. That is kind of what I stand on,” she said. “I don’t have all the answers, but I have no qualms about finding the people who do. We have a wonderful wealth of knowledge at PTC. It’s a wonderful family.”