04/03/11 — MOC is changing student activities department

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MOC is changing student activities department

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on April 3, 2011 1:50 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Growing the on-campus student population is one of Mount Olive College President Dr. Philip Kerstetter's top goals, and as part of that, he believes the school needs to focus not just on academics and athletics, but also on student life.

That's why he's restructuring the college's student activities department from one currently focused on serving students nine- to 10-months out of the year, to one focused on serving students all 12 -- like most other college and universities.

He said he doesn't believe that the college's approach was wrong in the past, just that it's time to update it.

"Any organization is going to have transition. Sometimes you have to restructure," Kerstetter said. "You bring in a new leader and that presents an opportunity to build on what's been done in the past, and I have the ability to build on a very strong past."

And, he said, while the restructuring would only actually affect about three positions in students affairs -- and may result in some staff turnover, which he declined to speak about -- the benefits should be felt throughout the college.

Currently, Mount Olive College has 390 traditional students living on campus, with another 400 commuting. His goal over the next five years is to increase that number to about 1,200 students living on campus.

But, Kerstetter said, serving all those students has to go beyond academics and athletics to also include resident's life programs, intramural sports, clubs and other extracurricular activities, as well as help with such issues as roommate and family problems and career planning.

"These are all related. They're all connected. We deal with a whole student," he said. "And the expectation is that we have a program that is a 12-month program serving these students. "I think the key is to think in terms of what the students need."

By having these people working on campus throughout the summer, he explained the goal is for them to not only be able to give more attention to planning events for the upcoming year, but also to improve new student orientation, and to serve those students on campus during the summer, particularly through new initiatives such as arranging for summer internships for students with local businesses.