About the Work Program

The Work Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Work Program is to provide students with productive work that creates opportunities for the Warren Wilson College community to acknowledge, examine and celebrate the ethics and value of work in the educational process. The Work Program fulfills its mission by:

1. Providing a work force that operates the college in a way that benefits students both educationally and financially while serving the community.

2. Fostering a positive work ethic, respect for the dignity of labor, and the importance of serving others.

3. Strengthening the students’ sense of community through common endeavor and giving students the opportunity to participate in all aspects of operating the college.

4. Offering experiential learning that helps to fulfill and enhance the educational mission of the college.

5. Providing students with an evaluation of their work, opportunities for reflection on the meaning of their work, and career guidance that encourages all students to make informed choices in planning their life and work.

6. Providing opportunities and resources that enhance supervisors’ roles as mentors and teachers.

Who We Are

Ian Robertson

Dean of Work
Ext. 3019

Ian Robertson is Warren Wilson’s Dean of Work.  Beginning as the director of the Garden Program, Ian came to Warren Wilson in 1981 and has been here since.  Hailing from Great Britain, he holds a National Certificate in Agriculture from Staffordshire College of Agriculture.  Ian is very well traveled, having worked with students in Kenya, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Chile.   However, his favorite place he’s ever traveled to is Hong Kong.  In his spare time he enjoys playing soccer and competitive table tennis, walking his dogs, and driving around with the top down exploring the Swannanoa Valley.  He also enjoys reading, his favorite book being Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence.  His favorite films are the Seventh SamuraiRed Beard, and Babett’s Feast.

Melanie Kemp

Work Program Operations Coordinator
Ext. 3743

Melanie is a full time staff member in the Work Program Office as well as a 2012 Alumni. She handles all things crew-related between students, supervisors, and the WPO. She manages crew assignments for the academic year as well as during breaks, including break work sign ups and crew change requests. She also manages the timekeeping system, handles oddities such as Day Student Contracts and Additional Hour Contracts, and manages the Work Program Office Student Crew.  Melanie is the go to person when students are struggling with their work crew assignment or when supervisors are having issues with their student crew. In addition to this work, Melanie also utilizes GoogleDocs and Excel spreadsheets to manage all the data regarding incoming students, all work crew placements and crew histories, and crew logistics such as crew numbers and genders of crew members.  She enjoys mountain biking, baking pies, and watching Battlestar Galactica.

Ellen Graves

Director of Work Learning & Programs
Ext. 2007

Ellen Graves, the Director of Work Learning, originally came to Warren Wilson as a student.  She intended to major in Outdoor Leadership, but graduated in 2006 with a BA in Psychology. Within the Work Program, Ellen facilitates the ongoing conversation about work-learning and its place in current Triad Education model. She helps crews foster learning environments and supports supervisors as educators by working with the Center for Teaching & Learning, mentoring supervisors, providing trainings and resources. Additionally, Ellen oversees the allocation of Work Funds for student and supervisor development. Expertise: students struggling with the philosophy of work, requesting funding for workshops, conferences, etc., and engaging in learning or other parts of the Triad in new ways.  When she isn’t assisting Ian or dealing with workers compensation, she enjoys baking bread and weekend traveling adventures.  Somewhat of a beach aficionado, the best beaches she’s traveled to are the Ocracoke beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the Golden Bay in Malta. Her favorite book is The Z was Zapped by Chris vanAllsberg.  Her favorite film is Wet, Hot, American Summer.


The Work Program

Log Cabin

(828) 771-3743

Academic Year Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Break Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm, 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm