As of this semester, Head Community Advisors (HCAs) no longer exist at Kenyon. Instead, Community Advisors (CAs) will be supervised by two professional staff members.
Carl Mackey and Helen Eckhard began as Residential Life Coordinators (RLCs) in late June. This is an entirely new position, created in lieu of the HCA role. While Mackey is supervising upperclass area CAs, Eckhard is overseeing CAs that work in first-year halls.
The Office of Residential Life (ResLife) decided to restructure the community advising system after it became clear to administrators that it was creating an unnecessary burden for student HCAs, many of whom were seniors.
“We eliminated the HCA role because we were really seeing the ways that that role presented a pretty significant challenge for student leaders in terms of balancing the supervision of peers — never easy — as well as academic commitments,” Jillian Yoder, interim director of ResLife, said. “It was a lot to ask a student to do and to maintain consistency with. Sometimes it was like, ‘Okay, yes, I can focus on my staff and I can be a really present supervisor, but comps!’”
Yoder said that this balancing act among HCAs had created inconsistency in their ability to supervise the CAs under them. According to her, the last academic year ended with seven senior students in the position, one having dropped out.
The previous supervision model had been in place for the past four to five years. Coordinator of Housing and Office Operations Beth Pae said that model is only one of a number that ResLife has tried out over the years. “I have to credit us for that,” she said, “to try things and see what works — and with the changing needs of students and everything, to respond in ways that we feel is best for changes.”