Working towards a more student-friendly atmosphere, Wynn Hill, the new dean of students, is ready to assist students with their college experience.
Prior to being a dean of students administrator, Hill held several positions, each helping him become prepared to assist students at BYU-Idaho. Within the college itself, he worked in the Student Honor Office (formally known as the Deans Students), Student Leadership and was the managing director of Student Well-being.
Hill also worked at a Juvenile Correctional Facility as a parole officer and as a counselor for teenager-family reunifications before finding employment at BYU-I.
Through these different positions, Hill has worked with various departments that have helped him become a better resource for students who may be in need of assistance. While the dean office isn’t brand new for Hill, compared to his previous positions, he has become more available for one-on-one student interactions.
Now, what exactly does Hill’s new position entail?
“I have three main stewardships that I fulfill. One is working with students in any sort of crisis. It can be medical, death within the family, a student death…” Hill said. “It can be anything that is a crisis situation that we need to help a student or family navigate a tough situation.”
When in this type of situation, Hill tries to help students balance their personal well-being with their academic endeavors. If a student has an illness that is making it harder for them to focus on schooling, Hill helps either accommodate the student’s needs at school or helps tailor a plan for them if they decide to take a semester off.
“The second one is to help a student that feels that they weren’t heard or didn’t get the service that was appropriate for them at different campus entities. Maybe they feel like they just didn’t get what they were supposed to get at a certain place, and sometimes I can help.” Hill said. “Sometimes it may just be that a student’s story didn’t come across like they were wanting it to, so they can come to see me and I can listen and try to help them.
When students face challenges with an administrator, Hill can act as a mediator to resolve the issue. If there are problems with a student or faculty conduct, then the Honor Office would be the more appropriate place to address those concerns.
The third part of Hill’s stewardship involves the recently created department called Student Living. With Student living having previously been under the Student Housing Department stewardship, Hill along with the assistant dean of students, Layne Kinghorn, is taking the principles of Student Living and infusing it onto campus to help improve the student life. Hill’s advice for students at the beginning of the semester involves two things: learn from relationships and take care of yourself.
“Focus, besides studies, on relationships here. That’s how they’ll learn the most, that’s what makes this place great is—relationships,” Hill said “Those relationships with their roommates, new friends, with faculty and administrators; recognize the goodness of those around them and be able to learn from them like they’re learning from their studies. And then I would tell them to reach out when they need to reach out; get some help.”
Hill also teaches a religion class on campus and enjoys mountain biking with his wife, going to concerts with his family and playing pickle-ball.