Campus Life Announces Personnel, Organizational Changes to Better Serve Students

for immediate release Aug. 25, 1997

ABILENE - Several personnel changes have occurred over the summer in the ACU Campus Life Office because of departing staff members and efforts to integrate the campus activities and academic functions of the university.

As announced in April, the Campus Life division now reports to the provost, Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen. While the roles of the deans of students, Wayne Barnard and Cynthia Cooke, will appear somewhat the same, they each have added responsibilities and several other staff members have joined their team.

"Research has shown that as much as 70 percent of a student's learning in college occurs outside the classroom, so we want to continue to emphasize this important aspect of education," said Dr. Royce Money, ACU president.

Barnard said he sees the summer's transition as "a very positive move. It is more descriptive of what we do as a Campus Life office in terms of supporing the mission of the university. We help students prepare for life by working with academics and developing opportunities to help them grow in faith, knowledge and life skills. We've added some key people who can give attention to areas we can expand and do a better job giving students more educational opportunities." These people are:

Mark Lewis, former marriage and family therapist in the University Counseling Center, has been hired as coordinator of spiritual development and campus ministries to replace John Hamilton, who resigned in June for personal reasons. Lewis will work with Barnard in the day-to-day planning of Chapel, mentor the Students' Association Spiritual Life Committee as they plan activities, serve as liasion to local churches' campus ministries, and provide spiritual and pastoral counseling to students. One of Lewis' first activities will be a church fair Sept. 1. Representatives of local congregations may set up tables and talk to students at Chapel and later in the Hilton Room.

"When the position opened, I really wanted Mark for it," Barnard said. "He is a trained counselor with a youth and family ministry background. He has a lot of the experience we were looking for."

Jan Meyer will continue her role as director of Leadership Camps, which she had in Admissions, but has now joined the Campus Life team. Her role has been expanded to include the title, coordinator of educational development.

"As we rethink Campus Life, we have a real desire to merge curriculum and co-curriculum," Barnard said. "If you look at the ACU education as a triangle, faith is at the top, with living and learning making the other two points. In Campus Life, we are educators along with the faculty, and our desire is to aid student development in all areas."

Meyer will play a large part of that as she, for example, helps residence halls become learning communities by inviting counselors to conduct stress management seminars, forms peer education teams on various topics related to young adults and researches the development of a ropes course for students and employees.

Brent Pennington, former director of McKinzie Hall for men, is now assistant dean of students. His role primarily will be the frontline person in issues related to discipline and men's social clubs, Barnard said. "I will work very closely with Brent, especially during this first year of transition. But the addition of his role will help us fill lots of gaps."

Kaley Alexander is the new coordinator of campus activities, replacing Gayle Soules, who took a job in the Metroplex. The Student Activities Organization (SAO) will now be called the Campus Activities Team (CAT), because it was too often confused with the Students' Association (SA). Alexander will especially be involving freshmen in planning events.

Kory Hill, assistant coordinator of intramurals, has become coordinator of intramurals, after Damon Edwards also took a job in the Metroplex coaching. Edwards finished his master's degree this summer.

Reg Cox, director of Student Success, has moved to the Office of Admissions to concentrate on first-year student retention. "With Reg's help, our office goals will eventually extend to first-year retention of entering students from the initial enrollment of students," said Tim Johnston, director of recruiting and admissions. "This retention responsibility changes our recruiting and admission strategies over time. We are looking for mission keepers. God can further his mission through ACU when students enroll and persist to graduation. Overall, we strengthen our ability to create graduate success therefore better achieving ACU's mission."

Christopher Parks is the new McKinzie Hall director, replacing Brent Pennington. He is a 1994 ACU theatre graduate and has served recently in the U.S. Army Reserves, helping in Bosnia and Cuba relief efforts. In Cuba, Parks was a civil affairs officer working in a migrant camp advising the commander on how to facilitate a sense of community among the 2,500 people there. In Bosnia and Croatia, he helped enforce peace agreement by serving on a four-person liasion team between the task force command and local officials.

Steve Rowlands, M.M.F.T., has taken the marriage and family therapist position in the University Counseling Center vacated by Mark Lewis. A 1994 graduate of ACU's marriage and family therapy program, Rowlands has been working in the child and adolescent division of Mental Health/Mental Retardation (MHMR) in Abilene. He will counsel on many topics, but especially depression, suicide and adjustment, which he also focused on at MHMR. He will work with a support group for students from high-conflict families. Before working for MHMR, he worked for ACU's Marriage and Family Institute for one year. His bachelor's degree in psychology is from the University of New Mexico.

Deborah Hamilton has joined the University Counseling Center's staff as a half-time therapist, working especially with depression support groups. She is currently finishing her thesis for completion of her master's degree in psychology from ACU. She served in the military for 10 years.

Barnard and Cooke are now members of the Dean's Council along with other academic administrators.

Areas of Campus Life which now officially fall under Barnard's responsibility include philosophy of Campus Life, disciplinary policies and procedures, assistant dean of students, Chapel secretary, Residence Life, Spiritual Development and Campus Ministries, Educational Development and Leadership Camps, Health Services and the Counseling Center, Security and men's social clubs.

Areas of Campus Life which now officially fall under Cooke's responsibility include budget administration, Welcome Week, New Student Orientation, Students' Association, Campus Activities Team, Student Entertainment, Intramurals, cheerleaders, the Campus Center and women's social clubs.

If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Malissa Endsley, director of media relations, at or call 915-674-2692.

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Last update: September 4, 1997