Mya Sedwick, Campus Carrier staff writer
Berry recently combined the Student Work program and Career Center to create the Center for Personal and Professional Development. This shift was made in an effort to further the holistic growth of the student population. On Sept. 27, Marc Hunsaker was named as the new Dean of Personal and Professional Development. Hunsaker is coming from Michigan State University, where he served as the Purpose and Career Design Consultant for their Career Services Network.
This new position, while only recently filled, has been in the works for over two years. Debbie Heida, chief of staff, noted that it had been about ten years since the last look at the student work program. It then came into question whether the student work, now called LifeWorks, program was providing students with a meaningful experience. While each job may not directly correspond with a student’s chosen career path, each job has the potential to enhance the skills needed in any career. Heida, among others, realized Berry was understaffed when it came to career advising. At this point in the plan, there have been career advisors assigned to each of the schools to provide students with someone knowledgeable in their specific field. Strides have been made toward a well-structured Personal and Professional Development program already, but expertise is needed to fulfill all of the hopes for the future.
One of the main goals of this new position is to enhance mentorship across campus, thus ensuring that each student is able to have multiple mentors without necessarily having to seek them out. Junior Ben Lord explained that the wheel is not being reinvented with these new ideas about campus mentorship; rather, it is being refined. With mentorship being a part of Berry’s focus, Sue Tarpley, director of the Career Center, sees this plan as a way to formalize what is already in place. The goal now is to ensure not only that students have access to mentors, but that the mentors have the training they need and are comfortable in their role. Having cultivated a network of mentors over the years that he is still able to draw from today, Hunsaker understands the importance of providing students with something that is going to not only benefit them while they are in college, but long after they have left.
Hunsaker said that his goal is not to come in and tell Berry how to run their program, but rather to work with the Personal and Professional Development team to continue enhancing the culture and community of mentorship that already occurs. With this mindset, his visions for the LifeWorks program coincide with the direction in which Berry is headed. He wishes to equip students and alumni with the tools needed to thrive personally and professionally.
“[I] love that Berry has created a vision that seeks to promote a student’s holistic development,” Hunsaker said.
To further this vision, he intends to build up the reflective aspect of the LifeWorks program so students develop a sense of purpose and engage in meaningful work.
Hunsaker comes to Berry with an resume which highlights his abilities to work with others on a large and small scale, teach others how to mentor, and communicate effectively with his coworkers.
“He has incredible energy and commitment to students in all that he does,” Heida said.