Head of Residence Life abruptly resigns Student Success steps up 

Blake McMillan

Residents’ assistants at Buena Vista University received an email early this semester announcing the resignation of Residence Life Director Kyle Wonders. Wonders began the position at the end of summer 2021 following the resignation of then-director Eric Booth in July 2021. 

“Right now, we are operating without a director,” said Vice President for Student Success Heather Black. “We are pretty solid on a transition plan, so we developed a liaison model so that each of the area coordinators are liaisons with different staff members, including myself.” 

Rylee Walters, the area coordinator (A.C.) for Pierce-White, and Collin Schroeder, the area coordinator for Grand and Liberty, are two of the figures leading up residence life. Alongside Office Manager Theresa Lullman, the three will be working closely with Black. “Over the next two months while we search and hire, I feel really confident in Rylee and Collin, both of them are really outstanding area coordinators. We also have a wonderful backbone in the form of Theresa Lullman.” 

Resident’s Assistant MaryShoko Marugu said, “At the beginning of the semester we lost the area coordinator for the suites, and then a week ago we got an email that the director of res life was also leaving the day we got the email. We didn’t get an email like we did with the area coordinator — it was three days ahead.” 

The transition has been breezy, mostly. The A.C. that departed, Deedee Dusek, previously coordinated the suites. A.C. Collin Schroeder now advises the suites in addition to Grand and Liberty Halls. Schroeder is additionally carrying the suites and residence life responsibilities. “Collin is still managing that, and it made sense as Rylee has Pierce-White and it is the largest residence halls. My hope is that by the end of the year we have hired someone for the suites but with the way higher education is set up, the hiring cycles is very busy February, March, and April.” She said students and R.A.’s voices will be represented in the Another transition, Black said, is that Jenzabar, a higher education software system (think BeaverNet, for faculty), has received a recent upgrade. “With Jenzabar upgrades, we all are worried, but we have a webinar set up with IT in the coming weeks to figure out room selection and whatnot.” Nothing Black’s team can’t handle. 

Marugu added, Residents and friends know they have support from their R.A., but they are mostly worried about room draws and things like that.” Black was able to state that staff she’s assembled will be working toward residence life goals that go beyond this semester, stating, We’re preparing for room selection, and we’re already thinking about fall of 2022.” 

Black said that students can anticipate an update later next week. “We have our all staff R.A. meeting Sunday, and so after this I want to give them a spring calendar. I want to share it with the assistants first, then we’ll let all the residents know when the halls close and when will summer applications be out, and when they can expect health and safety checks.” 

Finally, Black added, “If students are ever confused or not sure, stop in the office, email me or Rylee or Collin and we can work with them. Never feel bad about reaching out with a question.” The offices of Heather Black, Rylee Walters, Collin Schroeder, and Theresa Lullman can all be found in the Student Success office next to the Center for Diversity Inclusion in the Forum.