September 28, 2017
This past September, Carrie Williams began serving as Wheaton’s first permanent Director of Student Care. The position has existed since Fall 2016 and was previously filled on an interim basis by Jessica Torres.
“Carrie comes to us with a love for Christ and a wealth of experience in the private sector as well as higher education,” revealed a Wheaton Portal announcement on August 29 that introduced the new director to the student body. After welcoming Williams, Dean of Student Care and Graduate Student Life, Alison Ash, detailed her many qualifications including her experience as a counselor and therapist.
The Wheaton student body has a broad variety of physical, mental, academic and emotional needs. To meet these needs, Wheaton College has several departments dedicated exclusively to Student Care: The Counseling Center, Academic and Disability Services, Student Health Services and Res Life. Williams will work directly with these departments as a part of her new role.
“I work collaboratively with the Wheaton Care team as well as Graduate Student Life to help coordinate students care for their holistic well-being,” Williams said. “In addition, I serve as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, which means I receive concerns from students regarding different forms of discrimination, harassment or sexual violence and help to plan events for educating the campus community in these areas.”
The EVP of Student Care, junior Lauren Rowley, has already begun collaborating with Williams on upcoming campus sexual assault prevention events. Rowley and Williams will be responsible for Student Care proposals, programming and events throughout the school year.
Rowley and Williams are both devoted to serving the Wheaton student body this year. “My prayer is that through student care programming we can point students towards God as the only infallible source of intimacy and life — the place where we are so wholly known and yet so wholly loved,” says Rowley.
Meanwhile, Williams expressed eagerness for her duties as director. “I look forward to serving in this capacity of supporting and caring for all students, providing them resourceful options, pointing them in the right direction and guiding faculty and staff in their supportive efforts through the coordination of students’ care so that they have what they need to thrive.”
Rowley and Williams mentioned the LGBTQ+ campus community, student mental health, effective leadership training and better utilization of on-campus resources as the most pressing student care issues for this year. Ash stressed the importance of early intervention for struggling students.
“We believe that early intervention with students is critical for their thriving. If a student is missing classes or struggling with depression, we would like to have someone at the college who can hear these concerns and point students in the right direction to receive assistance,” said Ash.
According to Ash, the new director will accomplish this goal by means of promoting communication between students and student care departments.
“Carrie serves as the central point of contact for student care concerns on campus. She helps connect students to needed resources on campus and also assists Wheaton employees who may need to contact Student Development about student concerns,” Ash said.
There is a distinction between the Ash’s role as Dean of Student Care and William’s role as Director of Student Care. Ash oversees the individual directors of the many student care departments, offering support and guidance. Williams assists with student care needs that arise on a daily basis, and is available for walk-in appointments and urgent matters.
“Over the past three months, I have come to appreciate how much [Wheaton students] show their love and care for one another in need, express their love for Christ and commitment to faith through their service and their willingness to give of themselves for one another,” said Williams. “My goal is to ensure that students have what they need for them to thrive during their college experience.”
Student care concerns can be reported to Student Development by calling 630-752-5941 during office hours. Students, staff and faculty can also send an alert through the Student Care Network by logging onto Portal, clicking the Employee tab, and following the prompt under “Student Care Referral.” Williams receives these alerts and coordinates the next steps for students in need.