Q: What influenced your decision to transition to Huntington?
Brian Jaworski: Having been in residence life and as a higher education professional since I graduated college, I have always sought ways in which my life and work could be used to the greatest extent possible for the glory of God. When I saw the Dean of Students role come open, I jumped at the chance to be here. I am convinced of the value and worth of Christian higher education and the formation of students that happens at a place like HU. To be able to serve in a role where I can influence both the institution and the culture is a tremendous opportunity and blessing. I want to be here to help students get the best possible HU experience.
Q: What has been the most difficult aspect of moving to Indiana?
BJ: The humidity and late sunrises! Spending most of my life in Michigan and Illinois, I always thought that “dry heat” wasn’t a thing. And then I moved to Spokane, Washington, where humidity is low and the temperature in the summer high. I loved dry heat and having lived out west for six years, I finally believe in dry heat. I still wore sweatshirts at the end of 90 degree days after the sun went down. I would have to say the humidity has been one of the biggest adjustments moving here.
The other would be the late sunrises. During the summers in Spokane, the sun would rise before 5 a.m., and even though it would get progressively later throughout the summer, the sun would still rise between 5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. I was able to get up earlier in the morning just because the sun would come out. Living over in Forester Village and next to the tree line, our room is dark and the sun comes up past 7, so it has been harder to get up in the morning. On the other hand, I have slept better since we’ve moved here (apart from a frequent visitor – our 4-year old – elbowing us for space at 3 a.m.!).
There are still those small things when you move, like establishing residency so that you can get a license, so that you can register your car that had expired tags. Or even changing banks and changing all your bill pays and banking information and addresses. The fun adulting things in life.
Q: Have you and your family had the opportunity to explore Huntington County? If so, what have you enjoyed the most about the town and surrounding area?
BJ: Usually Amie and the kids are able to explore a little more than I am as they have been apple picking and have explored the various parks in town. We visited the Fort Wayne Zoo on Labor Day, which was a lot of fun. We still have much more to explore of Huntington County, so we’d appreciate any suggestions!
Amie and I both believe that this will be a great place for us and our family. We will get the added value of living in a small town like knowing your neighbors and being involved in the community, as well as having the conveniences of a bigger city just a few miles down the road.
Q: What are your responsibilities as Dean of Students?
BJ: The big bucket things include providing leadership for residence life, student care and conduct, and Student Activities Board. These things include supervision of incredibly gifted individuals like the residence directors and the SAB director, as well as providing assistance to students who are in need of care or need to be connected with various resources. And when a student’s conduct does not quite align with the Community Life Agreement, I have the opportunity to help students learn from past decisions and explore ways to help them make better ones in the future.
Q: What has been your favorite HU event so far?
BJ: Let me take the easy route here and say I have loved the variety of activities available here! I have attended SAB events, ACOC, chapels, classes, sporting events, “The Christians,” been interviewed by “Rooted,” and of course the Huntingtonian. I have tried to do a lot of different things.
I write this on the night of the first discipleship community meeting. And I am excited about being involved with DC and seeing what God is going to do through this new initiative!
Q: Any new ideas you hope to bring to student life at HU?
BJ: I’m not sure if what I will bring to HU will be “new,” but I definitely am passionate about a few things that I bring with me. I will strive to create a campus environment where all our students can experience acceptance and where each student knows that are loved for who they are and are treated with dignity and respect. Residence life and SAB events — for those areas to contribute to the educational mission of the university by contributing to a student’s development and growth in the unique ways that those areas can. My dissertation research focuses on how co-curricular programming can be leveraged to help students thrive in college, so I’m rather passionate about student programming helping students grow and be successful.
I fully believe that God placed me here for a reason and am in the process of seeing what those reasons are. For example, as I sat in the faculty/staff convocation service in August and listened to the “Bright Star” ideas being presented, I began to sense how much of a fit HU really is for me. I love to dream and create. I love to initiate new things and to explore how to make things better. This is just who I am. So while I was sitting there seeing an institutional culture that embraces new ideas, and to see people around me ready to take HU to the next level, I was pumped to be here! I have a couple of “Bright Star” ideas I am dreaming up, so stay tuned!