School councils merge to enhance student life

Communications Staff — April 6, 2009

As the Southern Seminary campus gets a facelift, the institution’s school councils are receiving an update and enhancement as well. In council elections the week of April 13, Southern will merge its four student councils into one in an effort to best serve the seminary’s student body.

Lawrence Smith, dean of students and vice president for community relations for Southern and Boyce College, said the change in structure reflects a modification of the student councils’ mission.

‘The main mission of the school councils has been to enhance the theological education of students, which has been carried out mainly by holding forums throughout the semester,” he said. “The problem was the deans of the individual schools host many forums themselves, so it was difficult to find slots that were open for council events.

‘The main purpose now, instead of holding forums, is to be an advisory council to enhance student life. The council will help the administration come up with new, more interesting and more relevant ways to enhance seminary life and create unity among students. We wanted to have a think tank of students to help us enhance student life at Southern Seminary.’

Previously Southern had four council members on each council with four councils, one from each school: the School of Theology; Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth; School of Leadership and Church Ministry and the School of Church Music and Worship.

In the fall, Southern will move to one eight-member council, with two representatives from each school. Steven Chambers, student associate for councils and organizations, agrees that the change will provide a unity of purpose for the councils.

“The changes will allow the four different schools to communicate better,” Chambers said. “This, in turn, will create a stronger community among the student body at Southern Seminary.”

In addition to being an advisory board to administration on student life, Smith said the councils will take on more of a ministerial role to the student body.

‘We want the members of the council to know what is going on in student’s lives, such as illnesses or family issues, and be able to minister to those students,” he said. “They will also tell me, as the dean of students, what is going on, so that we can provide assistance as needed. All of this serves to enhance theological education.’

Elections for the 2009-10 student council will take place the week of April 13. Chambers said students will receive an email with a link to an online ballot and will able to select two representatives from their school.

Smith said there will be a council president among the eight members. Other specific roles will be delegated within the council, and will not be decided upon until the fall.

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