Staff restructuring brings new ASG adviser, ministry changes
Dean of Campus Life and ASG adviser Ron Jackson is stepping away from his current roles and into a new position as Professor of Youth Ministry. Admissions counselor and Director of External Relations Lisa Downs would become the next adviser of ASG beginning fall 2016 while continuing to plan events for the Admissions Department.
These changes were put into motion when Dr. Mark Hayse took a new position as Faculty Development Coordinator and left his role as Professor of Youth Ministry. Dr. Randy Cloud, Chair of the Department of Christian Ministry and Formation, said that when Hayse took the new job, the next big decision was an easy one.
“Ron Jackson has been an adjunct in our department for the last 10 years and he’s had extensive youth ministry experience with High School and College,” Cloud said. “He is one of, if not the leading youth ministry professional in the church of the Nazarene so it was a very easy decision for us to choose him for the position.”
Cloud said that Jackson would be serving as the department’s Professor of Youth Ministry half-time and would be the director of the department’s summer institute for junior and senior high school students who are interested in theology and ministry. This institute is being funded by a $600,000 grant that the department received at the end of the fall 2015 semester from the Lily Endowment, a private philanthropic foundation that sponsors religious, educational and community building programs.
Jackson said that being the director of this institute is what he is especially excited about because it is about the continuation of leadership, a passion that has fueled his work with ASG. Though Jackson is leaving ASG, he said he would continue to be the adviser of the National Society of Leadership and Success, which Jackson started at MidAmerica four years ago and is a part of his leadership initiative on campus.
Hayse said he would continue to teach Christian education classes and remain as the director of the Honors Program while taking the new position coordinating faculty development, which was created at MNU as part of the $10 million Title III grant that the university was awarded in September 2014.
“As a coordinator my job is to connect people to resources, help people to create those resources, help people grow and develop professionally, and then to bring workshops and training events and seminars and programs,” Hayse said. “I call it curriculum, an informal curriculum for faculty members.”
Hayse said he believes he is leaving the future of youth ministry education at MidAmerica in Jackson’s more than capable hands.
“I was comfortable moving to this new responsibility because I knew it would make room for one of my favorite colleagues to exercise his gifts, pursue his passions, and follow the call of God on his life,” Hayse said.
Jackson had been in youth ministry for 29 years before coming to work at MNU. He said he had the practical experience of the material in MidAmerica’s youth ministry classes, but Hayse helped him learn how to effectively teach it.
“One of the greatest gifts anybody has ever given me during my adult lifetime is the gift Mark Hayse gave me,” Jackson said. “Years ago Mark and I co-taught the course that I currently teach and he mentored me and showed me the ropes of teaching.”
Jackson would like to show the same mentoring spirit to Downs as she takes over his position with ASG and plans to transition leadership with her during ASG’s workweek over the summer, he said.
Downs said that she sees this new position as God’s next call on her life and is excited for the opportunity to work more closely with students.
“I’m excited to work with that group of students, the ideas they have and their vision for next year,” Downs said. “I know that ASG is a very important part of the student body in representing our student body and planning events.”
Downs was the ASG Social Life Director her senior year at MidAmerica and has been the faculty adviser for both junior and senior class councils in past years. She has worked in the Admissions Department for 16 years.
“I think the world of college students, that’s why I’ve been around as long as I have,” Downs said. “I have a passion for working with college students and helping them reach their potential, helping them learn more about themselves and find talents they may not have even realized they had.”
Jackson said he knows that Downs would be able to take the reins from him and make the program her own. He said he appreciates MidAmerica hiring from within while filling these positions even when it was a challenge to make the moves viable.
“We’re in a real tenuous place right now because money is extremely tight and the university had to get very creative to do this,” Jackson said. “And this is something good. I’m excited about this.”
Renée DeVaultNews Editor, Managing Editor - More by this author
Renée DeVault ('19) is a Bible Theology and Communications major from Olathe, Kansas. She has been a member of The Trailblazer as a reporter, news editor, and managing editor.She is also the Administrative Chaplain of MidAmerica Nazarene University.