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Faith big draw for associate dean of students candidate

Dr. Dana Walton-Macaulay was interviewed by students on campus on Wednesday as part of the search for the new associate dean of students.

The search for the position began shortly after Dr. Becky Spurlock’s resignation earlier this semester.

The interview was led by a group of students from Orientation Council, Community Council and other student organizations. The students were given several sample questions to ask as well as a rating system to grade the candidate.

Macaulay began the interview by giving her work experience, including time at both smaller, private institutions and larger state schools.

Macaulay began her career in higher education at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. She worked as the area coordinator, and in 2004, started work at the University of Kentucky as the head of Residence Life. She was later promoted to associate dean of students.

Students were allowed to ask her question and then fill out a grading sheet about her perceived leadership qualities, experiences, faith and what she would bring to the university.

Nicollette Barreras, a freshman on Community Council who helped organize the event, said that it is important for students to stay informed on larger university matters.

“I truly believe the connections I form now will impact our campus for a positive future, and that starts with the students, staff and faculty,” said Barreras.

The biggest question students asked was how her experience at a school the size of UK will transfer to Belmont.

“The biggest challenge,” said Macaulay, “is figuring out the values of students and what they want.”

Macaulay said that she is choosing Belmont because of the intimacy afforded at a small Christian school. She said a public school like UK ignores the faith aspect of students.

“I’ll not have to censor my conversations with students here,” she said.

Students also asked how Macaulay would facilitate student communication between students and upper administration. The miscommunication of the lawn policy was brought up as an example of a breakdown between students and the administration.

Macaulay wants to meet individually with students and student-run organizations to not only work with students, but to actively become involved in the process. She emphasized that compromise would have to happen from both sides.

“Just because I hear you doesn’t mean I can make your wishes come true,” Macaulay said.

The student representatives continued to ask her about areas of weakness, where she feels her strengths lie and what to expect from her regarding student communication.

After the students were finished, Macaulay turned the tables and asked the students about their experiences at Belmont. She wanted to know about the on-campus living experience and the biggest issues facing students.

At the end of the session, the students filled out evaluation forms, rating Macaulay on a scale of 1-5 for her overall presentation and satisfaction of answers.

The next candidate interview will take place this Friday in McWhorter 110 and is open to students.

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