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Dunn clarifies rectors’ role at ND

Sarah Mervosh | Thursday, November 19, 2009

The University looks for strong pastoral skills, education and experience when hiring rectors, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Sr. Sue Dunn said at the Student Senate meeting Wednesday.

Dunn attended the meeting to clarify the role of rectors after Senators discussed the relationship between rectors and students at their meeting last week.

“Living alongside students in the residence hall and accompanying them on their journey of faith, the rector counsels and advises, provides critical support, and when necessary, calls students to accountability,” a handout that Dunn gave Senators read.

Dunn said each year, the University receives more applications for rector positions than are available.

“We want somebody who has a minimal of a masters education and three to five years of experience in pastoral ministry education,” Dunn said. “Something with a skill set that would enhance their ability to do their [job].”

Rectors typically worked as high school teachers or pastoral ministers prior to becoming a rector, Dunn said.

“Sometimes persons who do a combination of religious education, maybe function in a Catholic parish as a coordinator. They might have done spiritual direction counseling,” she said.

Dunn said the University does not have a preference for religious involvement of rectors. Currently, however, 67 percent of rectors are priests, brothers or sisters, her handout said.
Dunn said the University hopes rectors will stay several years once hired.

“Hopefully a person who is hired is able to have the stability within a hall, so hopefully a person understands that we would like them to stay at least through three plus years, for continuity for the sake of the hall community,” she said.

Hired rectors undergo training prior to the beginning of the school year, Dunn said.
“When a person is hired to become a rector,” she said. “They are on campus for several days and they get an overview of all things related to student life.

“In addition to that, then they go through the all hall training. After that all hall training, they’re having weekly meetings,” Dunn said. “They also have a weekly luncheon with one other member of senior staff to discuss how things are going.”

Rectors also continue to grow during their time at the position, she said.

“One of the things that we try to foster and value throughout the University is that we are all life long learners,” Dunn said. “So [rectors attend] different programs, different workshops.

“There are opportunities after someone is hired to grow in skills, and then hopefully have ongoing conversations with their supervisors,” she said. “Ongoing conversation to see what are strengths, what are things that could be improved or changed.”

The Hall Life Survey, which students are asked to fill out each year, also provides feedback for rectors from students in their dorms.

Dunn, who previously served as rectress of Lyons Hall, said the survey was important to her.

“Personally, I took the hall evaluations really seriously,” she said. “I know that how I was between year one and year two, and I think there were some things that I changed.”
The job of a rector or rectress is considered a full time position, Dunn said.

“There is a possibility that they can do something else on a part-time basis,” she said. “For example, some of the rectors teach one course or two.”
Working another job on the side is not recommended for first-year rectors, Dunn said.