During each week of our service-learning, a different faculty or staff member from Elon spends the week with the Gap Experience students. The visiting faculty or staff lives on site with the students, participates in the service projects, and helps to facilitate the reflection activities each day. Oftentimes the visiting faculty and staff have experience in the community in which they’re serving alongside the Gap students. It is also great for the students to have a connection to five friendly faces when they arrive on campus in January!
Transition Week: Rex Waters, Dean of Student Development
Rexford A. Waters is the Dean of Student Development and Assistant Professor at Elon University. He is finishing his 24th year at Elon. He received both his BS and MS from Virginia Tech. He has worked at Virginia Tech, West Virginia University, the University of South Carolina, and Elon University. Rex has played a key role in the development of numerous programmatic areas at Elon most notably the Center for leadership, Campus Recreation and more recently the office of new Student and Transition programs. Rex is a dynamic and insightful leadership educator with extensive experience in the consulting arena. He has done extensive work with MBTI, the Five Factor Profile, StrenghtsQuest, TAIS and team development processes. His current work involves leadership development and individuals in transition with a focus on teamwork and applied learning. He was recognized as Higher Education Leader of the Year by the National Society for Experiential Education in 2009. As well as leading a successful professional life, he also has a strong family focus.
Pine Ridge, South Dakota: Steve Mencarini, Director for the Center for Leadership
Educational background: I received my undergraduate degree in Biology for the College of William and Mary (Go Tribe!) and my Masters’ degree in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland-College Park (Go Terps!). I have also taken several courses in the Leadership Studies Ph.D. program at Gonzaga University (Go Zags!) and am pursuing my Doctoral degree at UNC-Greensboro in Higher Education (Go Spartans!).
Professional: I have had the awesome opportunity to work at great higher education institutions around the country. I started at William and Mary as an admission counselor. I then moved to the University of Maryland working in the Office of Campus Programs, specifically working with the student programming board. I also had a brief stint at Lake Forest College (IL) as the Assistant Director of Leadership and Community Involvement and, finally before coming to Elon, I worked in Residence Life at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.
Personal: I have two amazingly wonderful sons, Sam and J.J., live in Greensboro, and am a die-hard Baltimore Oriole fan.
Why I enjoy working in the Center for Leadership: The students with whom I get the pleasure to work are remarkable. I have the world’s best job in that I get to be able to guide, coach, instruct, and teach students as they learn more about themselves and how they can work with others to make an impact on the world.
Favorite quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
St. Louis, Missouri: Rod Parks, Registrar
Dr. Rodney L. Parks is the University Registrar and an Assistant Professor teaching in the field of Human Services. Parks earned his Ph.D. in Counseling from the University of Georgia and has published numerous studies and book chapters focused on unique student populations and their challenges navigating higher education. Dr. Parks also teaches Wilderness and Adventure Therapy on-campus, taking students to Peru each fall to hike and camp on the Inca Trail. Dr. Parks is a Missouri native and lived in the downtown St. Louis area for a couple of years where he volunteered time at the YMCA of Greater St. Louis.
Mullens, West Virginia: Phil Miller, Lecturer in Human Services Studies
Professor Miller is a licensed clinical social worker with 15 years of social work experience. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Master of Social Work degree, concentrating in mental health and specializing in family therapy. He is passionate about marriage and achieved the status of a certified Gottman marital therapist from the internationally acclaimed Gottman Institute in Seattle, Wash. He spent eight years as an active-duty officer in the United States Air Force while working as a clinical social worker, and he lived in Japan for three years. Professor Miller has extensive experience working with varied client groups ranging from children to the elderly, as well as living and working in unique settings such as rural Appalachia and the inner city.
Washington, D.C.: Carol Smith, Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance
M.Ed. Frostburg State Univ.
M.S. Black Hills State Univ.
Ph.D. Texas A&M University
Carol teaches a Study Abroad course to New Zealand, Physical Education Pedagogy, Adventure Based Learning, Dance (folk, social, ballroom), Physical Education Activity Classes, and is a Mentor for the 2017 Leadership Fellows and the 2017 Periclean Scholars.
This is Carol’s 4th year traveling and teaching with the Gap Experience!