Meet the Admissions Team


Jeff Chidester is the Executive Director of External Affairs, where he oversees admissions, strategic partnerships, communications and marketing, and the broader external affairs portfolio. From 2003 to 2016, he held various posts at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, most recently as Director of Policy, where he managed the Center’s First Year: POTUS 2017 project, as well as a series of national policy debates which aired on ABC News and PBS. He received a B.A. in Political Science from Grove City College (Pa.), an M.A. in International History from the London School of Economics, an M.A. in Politics from the University of Virginia, and an M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He is the co-author of The Reagan Years (2005) and At Reagan’s Side (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009), and co-editor of Reagan in a World Transformed, 1981-2014 (Harvard University Press, 2014) and Crucible: The President’s First Year (UVA Press, 2018). He has published numerous articles on the American presidency and public policy.  jchidester@virginia.edu  434-924-7330


Courtney Leistensnider is the Admissions Coordinator, handling many admission operations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including planning recruitment events and prospective student visits. She joins the Batten team after completing her M.Ed. in Higher Education from the Curry School here at UVA. Courtney graduated from Christopher Newport University with a double major in History and American Studies and a double minor in Anthropology and Leadership Studies and served as Admissions Fellow at CNU after graduation. A big Wahoo sports fan, you will most likely see her at many UVA sporting events throughout the year!  crl4sn@virginia.edu