Tracy Waal, formerly the director of admissions at Mount Vernon Nazarene University, officially started his new position as vice president of student life on Aug. 1, though he was not physically in his office until Aug. 8.
Although his office in admissions is cleared out, Waal is still working in the department until a new associate VP of enrollment management is hired. Then a new director of admissions will be hired.
Waal was initially told by MNVU President Dr. Henry Spaulding to consider the associate VP of enrollment management position, although Waal “was not sure about being moved away from students.”
Instead, Waal decided to apply for the VP of student life position, because having someone with MVNU’s voice be a part of the process seemed like a healthy thing, according to Waal, but he did not think he would get the job.
“I didn’t really pursue the job, and Dr. Spaulding didn’t necessarily pursue me,” Waal said. In the end, Waal got the job, and now he is excited to work with the student body.
“In admissions, you meet students who may or may not come to MVNU,” Waal said. “In student life, there is more of an opportunity for long-term relationships.”
Waal did say he would miss the admissions department, as they have been his family for the past nine years, though he expects the same bond can be formed with the student life office.
The student voice is one of Waal’s primary focuses as he’s been trying to “intentionally talk to as many students as he can.” Waal’s been spending time in the “caf,” eating with students in order to further this goal.
A survey went out in September, giving students an opportunity to help student life serve this campus, according to Waal. Student life oversees athletics, the counseling office, residence life, campus life, intercultural life and campus safety.
When it comes to his approach to the new position, Waal said he “wants to create an environment where students can live to their God-given potential. When someone comes to me with a proposal, my first question is going to be ‘how does this help students reach their God-given potential?’”
Waal recognizes that there are big shoes to fill accepting a position formerly held by Joe Noonen. “I can’t imagine how Joe was able to hold both this position and the student chaplain as well as he did” Waal said. “It’s a true testament to him and his heart for serving.”