Jake Schuler serves the OC Student Life Department in a multitude of roles, including assistant dean of student life, hall director, director of intramural sports and director of residence life. His top priority is always the students of OC, and especially the atmosphere and environment they live and learn in. Jake studied graphic design at Kansas State University (KSU), but discovered his true passion for working with students while serving as a resident adviser and active with intramurals. He joined the OC Student Life team after graduation, and now has served the college for more than 14 years. During his career, Jake has earned the Faculty/Staff Award for Promoting Diversity and the Gorton and Peggy Reithmiller Award for Excellence in Administration twice, and always strives to live by the Olivet College Compact.
What is it like to serve in a variety of different roles?
There is no average day in the Student Life Department! Under Linda Logan, Ph.D., vice president and dean for student life, I have furthered my ability to spin on a dime while thinking critically in any situation. I serve as hall director, director of intramural sports, director of residence life and assistant dean of student life, so no two days are ever the same. As hall director, I lead the resident advisers and uphold the compact and OC mission in Blair Hall. As director of intramural sports, it’s my responsibility to plan and oversee all schedules, referees and advertisements. My role as director of residence life allows me to assist the housing coordinator and administer the overall residential life program, and of course, supervise all campus housing. And finally, as assistant dean of student life, I manage the overall establishment and communication of programs that support all students’ academic, personal, social, spiritual, and physical development.
What’s your key to teamwork?
The hall directors work closely with Campus Safety to service students at their best and at their worst no matter what time of day. Good people are the key to teamwork in the Student Life Department. One of the main reasons I have stayed at Olivet College so long is the fact that I appreciate and enjoy the people I work with. In our department it is like a family, we support each other at work and personally. We might have differences of opinions but we all respect what the other has to say about the issue we are discussing. This mutual respect allows me to never have to second guess sharing a thought or solution.
With the residence life staff, I really enjoy how they bring energy and new ideas every year. The leaders who become resident advisers are some of the best student workers on campus. I am proud of how they work together as a team but still enjoy each other’s individuality in any setting.
Why do you love working at OC?
As mentioned above, I love my department. I also love Olivet College as a whole.
I especially enjoy campus life; how excited the new freshmen are every year, and how excited the seniors are to move on to the next step; the campus-wide attitude for continuous improvement; how friendly and accommodating the college staff and faculty are, especially Chartwells; and the feeling that if I need something or need help, I can just walk into their office and feel welcomed every time.
What inspired you to work in higher education or with young adults?
At KSU, I had a part-time job working the front desk as a community assistant. My boss liked my work ethic and encouraged me to apply to be a resident adviser. I did, and surprisingly I got the job. During my three years as an RA, I had amazing supervisors who taught me so much and they pushed me to grow, even when it was outside of my comfort level. At the same time, I felt like part of a family. As an RA, I received support and feedback from everyone in the department. That dedication and how much everyone in the department enjoyed their roles really had an impression on me. I was impressed with how much they cared about the students no matter the situation.
Why would you encourage students to attend OC?
The size of Olivet College allows you to get to know almost everyone and quickly build relationships. The employees really care! I know every college says this, and in a lot of ways it’s true, but in my time here I cannot count the number of times that physical plant staff, administration and faculty have given personal time to help students at any time day or night. They really do care and live the Compact.
What are some things or events you are looking forward to in your role?
For the future, I am excited to see how Olivet College continues to grow, especially with the updates coming from the Responsible Learners – Responsible Leaders campaign. I am excited for the plans to build a student center, a new residence hall, and the upgrades for Mott.
What is the number one piece of advice you share with students?
Make good decisions. But when you don’t, learn from them, be responsible for them, and tell the truth. Many students only see me in my role as an enforcer of college policy. That being said, I always like to ask students what they have learned from whatever situation I am addressing. I want them to have fun, I want them to enjoy college life, but at the end of the day, I really want them to be safe and kind to others.
What is an interesting or little known fact about yourself?
It’s known that I love my family back home, I enjoy sports, I like to cook, and it’s now known that I’m also a Star Wars nerd. I also have a dog named Ailyn. Ailyn was found in Shipherd Hall on a cold day in January. She was so well behaved that I adopted her the first day I could from the Eaton County Animal Control. She just wants everyone who sees her to pet her. Since I’ve been at OC for nearly 15 years, I would say that there are not any more little known facts about me!