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Student leadership program at Boyce gains attention of other colleges
September 11, 2006
By Garrett E. Wishall

story picture

(Back row L-R) - Derek Jones, Bobby Wood, Thomas Amos, Matt Capps, Aaron Filippone.
(Middle row L-R) - Sarah Cress, Kat Foxworth, Dana Morris, Lynnette Burgner.
(Front row L-R) - Robbie Byrd, Paul Butterworth, Heidi Johnson, Amannda Filippone.
Photo by Kristin Yeldell

Last semester, Chip Collins and Aaron Filippone drove to Jackson, Tenn., to visit Union University. While there, Collins and Filippone discovered that Union and other Christian colleges list several core values in their student life curriculum to which students are held accountable.

On the drive back, Filippone, resident supervisor at Boyce, said he and Collins, associate dean for student life at Boyce College, started naming characteristics that could make up core values for student leaders at Boyce.

"We thought of qualities we believed were important for students to develop during their time at Boyce," Filippone said. "We wanted a list of values that would exemplify our students when they graduate."

The values Collins and Filippone developed form the acrostic "Leaders:" loyalty, excellence, anointing, drive, education, relationships and service. Loyalty means fulfilling one's responsibilities at the college, according to a Boyce student leadership training manual. Excellence entails doing all things to the best of your ability for the purpose of glorifying God, which is based on Colossians 3:23.

Anointing and drive exhort students to persevere in their God-given call to be leaders for God, while education reminds them they will receive fine theological training at Boyce. Relationships stands for the importance of Christian community, reminding leaders that lifelong friends are made in college. Finally, service tells student leaders they are called to serve their fellow students through servant leadership.

These seven core values were introduced to the five different groups of Boyce student leaders at the Boyce student leadership retreat, Aug. 8 and 9 in Madison, Ind.

The groups include ambassadors, student council members, Howdy leaders, resident leaders and Aletheia, the college's traveling music ensemble. These students participated in separate and combined training sessions where Boyce administrators and faculty introduced and explained the core values. Collins; Filippone; Dan DeWitt, supervisor of Boyce recruiting and associate dean of student life; Kristin Yeldell, associate director of student life; and Nathan Platt, assistant professor of worship and director of Aletheia, all helped train the students.

Resident leaders: student ministers

One area of the Boyce student leadership curriculum that has attracted the attention of other schools is the resident leader program. Formerly known as resident assistants, the name for the position at most schools, the resident leaders supervise students in the Boyce dormitories.

Four years ago, Chip Collins changed the name from resident assistant to resident leader to better reflect the ministry responsibility such a position entails.

"They are front line ministers who are there to minister to their hallways," Collins said. "We are at a school that is developing leaders and this is part of their classroom outside of the classroom, so we wanted to call them leaders. They do lead by example as well as leading dorm residents to live like they should, representing Christ well in the dorms."

Each resident leader is responsible for one hall in the Boyce dormitories. While a role of these resident leaders is to maintain order and make sure that each student is following the guidelines of the college, Collins said they also seek to encourage the students on their floor.

"They make sure that no students fall through the cracks," he said. "The resident leaders try to provide a living environment in which students develop a strong sense of community and receive encouragement, caring support and guidance. They assure that students are doing well inside and outside of the classroom."

The resident leader training manual says resident leaders are expected to seek to identify and meet students' needs through individual counseling, group activities, Bible studies and educational programming. Each semester the resident leaders oversee competitions between halls, including volleyball, dodge ball and kickball games.

Filippone said resident leaders fill a key role as ministers on the Boyce College campus.

"After a few semesters the students on each dorm floor become like a family," Filippone said. "The resident leader helps pull that together and maintain unity on the floor. The resident leaders are kind of like college ministers."

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