Who is Sharia Hays? A New Face in Community Living

By Johnathan Lykins
Assistant News and Opinions Editor

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Sharia Hays, RC’s new assistant dean of community living, comes to Michigan after eight years as director of residence life at Mississippi College, a Christian university in Clinton, Mississippi. Prior to that, she was a residence hall director at Baylor University.  

Hays attended George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, for her bachelor’s degree and then earned her master’s degree from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California, where she is currently working on her doctoral degree.

Sharia would love for the RC community to know that she has a dog named Qwerty. They both love people and hanging out with students. Now, here are some questions and answers with Hays.

What does the position entail?

I oversee the community living experience at Rochester College, which includes residence life, conduct, dining, and various other responsibilities that influence a student’s community experience. As an educator, I strive to enable students to develop to their fullest potential — intellectually, ethically, socially, spiritually and morally in the context of a community. I desire to provide challenge and support to students in their effort toward effective leadership, responsible citizenship, identity development and personal success. My hope is that students will gain a better understanding of their deepest selves and their roles as members of the Rochester College community.

What led you to RC?

I was seeking a new opportunity professionally.  RC had a position available that interested my career aspirations.  I instantly got excited about the new professional opportunity. I loved the idea of moving back north where there are seasons and place that was similar to the Northwest.

What are you looking forward to most here at Rochester College?

Growing, changing and improving the student experience.  I want students to love their institution and have memorable experiences that help them grow individually, but also help them develop community with students, faculty and staff.

What does a typical day look like?

Typically, I am in-and-out of the office with meetings.  Either I am in meetings with students discussing life issues, connecting with them about their RC experience, or helping them make plans for the future.  I also attend lots of meetings dealing with various aspects of my position, dining services, addressing student needs as well as issues, discussing maintenance and housekeeping issues, etc. 

Who has influenced you the most in your life?  

My mom, she was a single parent who made me a priority.  She infuses her faith into every aspect of her life and I am always amazed by her unending trust and faith in our Heavenly Father.  She showed me what it meant to be a hard-working woman that earns the respect of others, as well as has how to love on and serve others where they are in life. I owe a lot to her for where I am now in life. 

What do want us (the students) to know about you?

I am here for students and I want/desire to be an advocate for them and for their college experience. I truly do love getting to know students and helping them pursue their life's ambitions. I am also willing to have the tough conversations when needed; I would rather have a student in my office that I am helping grow and learn than a student that is in trouble because of choosing to not follow institutional expectations; however, I see those moments as growing opportunities as well.  My role is to be an educator that empowers students to grow in their own strengths and abilities in order to serve the greater community.