Jeff C. Hoagland, '00 & Professor Jennifer Subban

Jeffery C. Hoagland (Jeff), '00 M.U.A. College of Liberal Arts

Jeff Hoagland graduated from Wright State University in 2000 with a Master of Urban Administration degree from the College of Liberal Arts. He is the president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition (DDC). The Coalition is the Dayton Region’s economic development organization and principle public advocate.

After graduating from the University of Dayton in 1991 with a B.S. in Political Science, Jeff entered the workforce and worked in the Montgomery County Community and Economic Development office for six years. In 1995, he left Montgomery County and joined the City of Kettering, where he served in various roles including community development administrator, economic development manager and finally assistant city manager. In 2004, the City of Vandalia hired  Jeff to be its city manager, a role he held until joining the DDC in December 2010 as the executive vice president of operations. Jeff assumed the role of president and CEO in June of 2011. 

Jeff is actively involved in the Dayton region. He is president of the board of the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District, the Dayton Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee, the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board, the Wright State University MPA Advisory Board and NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. Jeff is also a member of the Dayton Rotary and the Greater Dayton Mayors and Managers Association. Jeff is frequently a guest lector in government classes at UD and Wright State. He and his wife are also very active with Catholic Social Services.

Jeff resides in Vandalia with his wife Jennifer and their two sons, Charlie and Jackson. Jeff was born and grew up in Elyria and is the second youngest of nine children.

Professor Jennifer Subban

This summer, Jennifer Subban, Ph.D., associate professor of urban affairs, will lead a group of Wright State students on what will surely be a life-changing experience: three weeks of service-learning in South Africa. For Subban, it’s also a journey home.

Subban left South Africa at the age of 25, before the country was liberated from the racially segregated system of apartheid. She was a graduate student at the University of New Orleans when South Africa held its first democratic elections in 1994.

“A bunch of us got in a car and drove to Houston to vote,” she recalled. “That was a really neat experience.”

Subban spent 10 years at the University of New Orleans, where she earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning and a doctorate in urban studies. As a faculty member, she directed a family literacy program before coming to Wright State in 2001.

Today, Subban balances her research and teaching while overseeing two important service-learning opportunities for Wright State’s students: the Student Philanthropy Project and the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.

As Subban explained, the goal of the Student Philanthropy Project is to expose students to philanthropy and, hopefully, cultivate the next generation of philanthropists. “Students come into the class knowing, sometimes, nothing about philanthropy,” she said.

During the course, students volunteer at local nonprofits, learn how to fundraise and write a grant proposal, and then ultimately select the beneficiaries of the funds they have raised.

“The growth is amazing. The maturity is amazing,” Subban said of the transformation she sees in her students.

Subban also directs Wright State’s chapter of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, a national organization that offers a certificate program in nonprofit organizational leadership. Students in the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance take six courses to earn their certificate. They also fundraise and host workshops and various other events throughout the year.

For senior physics major Amanda Dahlman, getting involved in the Student Philanthropy Project and Nonprofit Leadership Alliance helped her realize that a career in science wasn’t the right fit for her. She will begin a master’s degree program in public administration this fall and aspires to work as a fundraiser for a nonprofit organization.  

“Dr. Subban is wonderful,” Dahlman said. “She truly cares about educating and providing opportunities for students to engage with the world around them. She models what she teaches and is someone that I respect as a professor and as a human being. Anyone who has the opportunity to collaborate, take a class, or talk with Dr. Subban, should.”

Making a difference back home

Another project that is near and dear to Subban is her community outreach in her native South Africa. After receiving her green card in 2007, Subban and her husband Neil Daniels, who is also from South Africa, returned home for a visit.

During the trip, Daniels, a soccer coach, assisted a boys’ soccer team from New Orleans that was in Durban, South Africa, to participate in the One Nation Cup. There, he met a principal at a local high school who was interested in raising his school’s level of community engagement.

Subban met with the principal and then returned six months later to engage with teachers, students, and community members. In just a few short days, Subban facilitated a workshop on community-based leadership and helped the school implement a service project to clean up trash in the neighborhood. She also led them in developing a plan to find sponsors to help finance the repainting of all of the classrooms.

“You see how quickly you can have an impact on your community,” Subban said of the experience.

When Subban and Daniels returned in the summer of 2009, they expanded their leadership training to two Durban area high schools. By 2010, Subban was ready to take 10 students from Wright State and have them provide the training.

“They did a really good job, working with the students, doing the training, being attentive to the details of what was happening,” she said. “They worked really hard, and I couldn’t have asked for a better crew.”

Working in an impoverished area of South Africa was an eye-opening experience for the students. One place they visited was an informal settlement of shacks built into the Durban hillside.

“When we walked through (the community), they saw lots of things. It’s harsh,” Subban recalled. “Plastic bags are so embedded (in the sand), you can’t even pull them out if you wanted to.” Water has to be carried from a single tap, she said, and there is no electricity.

Some students met a family mourning the death of their son—the family breadwinner, who had been killed for borrowing 50 rand (about seven dollars) and not paying it back.

After returning from their visit, the Wright State students and the South African students began a conversation Subban will never forget.

“I was so proud of them, because they spoke about the people more than they spoke about the place. They spoke about how people received them, how people spoke to them,” said Subban. “This is the human face on a bad situation and they got that.”

“That,” she recalled, “was the moment of authenticity. That was the moment that people really started connecting.”

As part of their community outreach, Wright State students instructed the South African students on how to use solar cookers so they could teach local community members. They also provided blankets to nearby residents. While South Africa is warm during the day, the nighttime can be chilly, especially for those living without heat and electricity.

For this year’s service-learning experience, Subban hopes to take 12 students to South Africa and use a slightly different approach to the training. Art, poetry, and music will be utilized to initiate dialogue. Sessions will be held on entrepreneurship, and soccer will be incorporated to encourage more boys to attend. Since South Africans are concerned about their carbon footprints, recycling will be a recurring theme throughout the training. For example, participants will be able to use recycled materials in art projects or to make musical instruments.

For Subban, the most rewarding part of her work is helping people realize they can be their own catalysts for change.

“There’s a dignity in it,” she explained. “It helps people find their own dignity, and it helps people know that they can do things. It’s the same thing that I say about students. It’s lighting a fire. It’s about showing people what’s possible. There’s that transformation when people recognize that they do have power, and it’s not something that comes from anybody else. It’s what you decide to do.”