Thursday, September 28

Student Development: new name, new faces, new location

By: Brooklyn Dance

Last year, when a student needed to speak to Rhonda Lilienthal about housing and later speak with Becky Headrick about CLEP tests, it required visiting two offices in two different buildings.

Over the summer, officials restructured student development, housing it with all other student services in the newly named Center for Student Development in the Bud Robinson Building.

Tom Middendorf, associate provost and dean of student affairs, said combining the departments always made sense, and university officials’ goal was to offer better service to students and become more efficient.

“In the midst of those conversations, we recognized that there was value in both a philosophical and physical combination of these initiatives,” Middendorf said. “We don’t want our student services just to work together, we want them to live together as a cohesive team, thinking about students from a holistic standpoint.”

With serving students being the top priority, Middendorf said conversations with current personnel led to developing a proposal, which was voted on by the president’s cabinet.

The previous student development office, which included Rhonda Lilienthal, associate dean of students for residential life, Matt Spraker, associate dean of students for community life and now Jessica Dykes, associate vice president and dean of student life, joined Campus Chaplain Shawna Songer Gaines in the former Center for Leadership, Calling and Service.

“We now have a bigger picture of the overall student experience when we combine our efforts between what was student development and CLCS,” Middendorf said.

The Center for Student Development now houses first year programs, community life, residence life, community engagement and reconciliation, career services, retention, student employment, community accountability, academic support, disability services, testing services and the chaplain’s office.

“Combining our resources allows us to take a more global perspective on student needs,” Middendorf said. “Our Christian perspective directs the way we serve in each of these areas.”

Jessica Dykes, associate vice president and dean of student development, was excited to be a part of the new system.

“Dr. Middendorf did a wonderful job communicating with me in the midst of the restructure,” Dykes said. “I believe in this structure and truly feel that this holistic model will be beneficial for students.”

Middendorf is confident in the future of the restructure.

“The vision is to establish a center that focuses on the holistic development of college students. At Trevecca, we see learners as more than a mind or an academic major,” Middendorf said. “The outcome is about developing young people and offering the world something unique in the character development of our students.”

Dykes is looking forward to practicing the center’s vision through her role.

“I’m excited about working with the wonderful team of professionals housed within the new Center for Student Development,” Dykes said. “It is my goal to work alongside our staff to understand the ways in which we can enhance the student experience.”


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