By Mallory Sherwood, Managing Editor
Dr. Wayne Barnard will no longer serve as dean of Campus Life beginning June 1, said Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, on Thursday. Barnard, who has served as dean of Campus Life since 1996, will be the university’s first dean of spiritual formation, a position the university has been wanting to fill for three years, Money said.
As dean of spiritual formation, Barnard’s responsibilities will include: helping Shane Hughes, Chapel coordinator, plan Chapel; working with Abilene churches to connect students with a ministry; assessing the student body in relation to spiritual practices; integrating faith and learning in connection with the Adams Center for Teaching Excellence to equip faculty with how to instill spiritual disciplines in their field of study; and teaching part time in the Master’s Program of Higher Education.
“Wayne is an excellent candidate for this position because of his academic qualifications, his love for students and his knowledge of spiritual formation,” Money said. “This new role will play to his strengths and expertise. It’s what he loves to do.”
Barnard said he is excited for this new role and is looking forward to leaving behind the administrative aspects of his old job.
“We’ve talked about this need for a long time now, and I think I have a clear understanding of what this job means,” Barnard said.
Barnard has served in a variety of ministry positions such as a full-time minister, a youth and family minister, a prison chaplain, the campus minister at ACU in 1989 and dean of Campus Life. He also completed his doctorate in human development, which focused on college students and what it means for people between the ages of 18 and 25 to be at college during a transition period in life.
“I’ve seen that administrative roles can fill your day with meetings and budgets and personnel issues so that the really important things don’t always get the attention they deserve,” Barnard said. “With this role I can give attention to the things I am really passionate about, which means discovering who we are as spiritual beings.”
Barnard said he will miss the daily interaction with Campus Life staff and the interaction with students regarding their experiences and passions. He said he still will be able to work with students but on a different level.
“I hope students quickly realize the change in my role,” Barnard said. “I think the title of dean scares students away because I deal with discipline actions on campus and how the university reacts to events. I want to be a friend, pastor and counselor to students and be someone they can tell exactly what they think. I want to have open and honest conversations with students again.”
Money said he created this position because he felt an urgency for it on campus.
“I think we’re behind the curve on this one, not ahead of it,” Money said. “We make the claim that we are a comprehensive Christian university, so what we need to do is learn how to help students develop their faith.”
The university will begin a nationwide search this summer that includes people on campus to find a new dean of Campus Life, Money said.
Dr. Tom Winters, vice provost of the university, and Dr. Jeff Arrington, associate dean of Campus Life, will serve as interim deans during the transition time until a new dean is found. Money said he hopes a suitable candidate will be found by next spring.
Barnard said several qualifications are needed for the new dean of Campus Life.
“This person needs to have a deep, abiding love for Jesus Christ and be grounded in faith because this will be their source of energy for this difficult job,” he said. “They need to have a strong family life and a deep love for students. If they don’t love college students, then they shouldn’t apply. They also need to have a high commitment to the academic process.
“It is the perfect time for a transition in life and one that I love to do. I’ve come full circle now because I’m doing again what I began doing when I first came to Abilene: helping others experience Jesus.”