Covenant Revamps the DC System

For those students who feel like the continual changes to Carter Hall have stolen the limelight from other residence halls, change is coming. While Carter continues to remain a visual reminder of external change on campus, more revision is in the works within all four dorms. 

Interviewing Jonathan Wylie, the Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life, provided disclosure on the process of shifting the roles of ARDs (Assistant Resident Directors) and DCs (Discipleship Coordinators). 

In previous years, one ARD existed to help each RD in the residence halls.  The ARDs were to help with supervision of the RAs, hall council, and DCs. However, as the enrollment numbers dropped at Covenant over the past two years, the system was revamped to provide money and resources back to the college. The ARDs were cut, and two of them became graduate assistants. These two people are Katie Tingle and Nate Allen, whom we know as Community Coordinators. 

Meanwhile, the Student Senate took on the responsibility of overseeing the hall council, therefore implementing RHPs (Residence Hall Presidents) and Vice Presidents. The question then became, “How do we utilize community coordinators?” Katie and Nate thus became responsible for the following three tasks: working with retention rates and academic success, overall campus programming, and supervising DCs. 

Another issue rose to the surface. Katie and Nate, only two people, became managers over thirty-eight DCs. When explaining the dilemma, Jonathan Wylie referenced how although Jesus had twelve disciples, Jesus especially poured into Peter, James, and John. Wylie wanted to resemble this smaller community within a larger community by readdressing the time and supervision of such a large DC staff. He quoted John 14:12, which states, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (ESV). 

By dividing and conquering, so to speak, Wylie was confident more discipleship and servanthood could be more effectively accomplished. He said, “Discipleship is what this college is about.”

One of the staff members Wylie consulted was Dean Voyles, who noted how the DCs were under the authority of the chapel office. This is where Chaplain Lowe stepped in to help evaluate the situation. This decision was in the works through September to December last semester. A final conclusion was reached to elect one Student Ministry Coordinator per residence hall, and these coordinators will be considered interns in the chapel office. 

These positions will be paid and regarded as a fifteen hour/week work study position. Isaiah Barnfield, the RD of Founders, said, “I am looking forward to seeing the Student Ministry Coordinators compensated for the work they will do.” 

As for responsibilities, the Student Ministry Coordinators will be attending RA and Residence Hall President meetings as more of an informational duty to make sure events will not overlap. The RAs and RHPs will consider the Student Ministry Coordinators as resources. The coordinators will be responsible for providing dorm-wide Bible studies within their respective residence halls. They will be working to provide more structure to Day of Prayer activities and will be coming alongside the RAs to suggest liturgy for each hall’s weekly Prayer and Praise. This being said, the responsibility of Prayer and Praise will fall upon each RA’s shoulders.

However, next year, RAs will also be able to select certain leaders or pick volunteers within their halls to distribute various duties in order to assist the RAs. Wylie shared his excitement about how RAs will be learning the skill sets of how to identify gifts in students within their halls and pulling them to be involved with necessary tasks. Wylie said there will be discipleship training for RAs to help them determine these roles. 

By involving other students on the hall, he said, “I believe the Lord sanctifies us through whatever situation we’re in, and I’m happy to help people think through and work through how to love people the best.” 

Overall, Wylie is looking forward to doing what he and others believe is best for the college by being good stewards of the resources (time, people, and money) that the college has been given.