Dr. Chris Confer has held the position of dean of students at AU for more than four years. In April, he announced his decision to step away from AU and begin the next chapter of his life at Southern Wesleyan University in Central, South Carolina.
At SWU, Confer will serve as vice president of student life rather than as the dean of students. He will be part of the president’s cabinet and will oversee athletics and police and security.
Though Confer has had no previous affiliation with SWU, the president and many cabinet members of SWU are from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana.
“This transition was an unusual one,” said Confer on the job application process. “The president of SWU had reached out to a mutual friend asking for recommendations for the vice president of student life, and my name was recommended highly to him. I was then contacted by SWU to consider applying for the position.”
“My wife Michelle and I prayed about it and felt that God was asking us to be open to a work that he was doing, so I submitted my application materials,” said Confer. “About a month later, I was asked to come to campus for an interview, and while Michelle and I were there, it became evident that God was calling us to make this move.”
Confer believes that God’s fingerprints have been all over the process of this change.
“In my own life, when God calls, he first begins preparing my heart and then asks me to take a step of faith,” said Confer.
Many details have come together for Confer and his family as they have contemplated this call to SWU. In February, Confer and his wife decided to put their house on the market in order to possibly make a move to Noblesville, where their daughter attends school and Confer’s wife teaches.
“Our house was under contract in 4 days,” said Confer. “Thankfully the buyers were willing to allow us to rent our house back from them until the end of May.”
The Confers then started looking for houses in Noblesville, but nothing came on the market that was in their price range.
“It wasn’t long after this when I was approached about the job opportunity at SWU, and about a week after I accepted the job, we had a house under contract down in South Carolina,” said Confer. “God truly has been faithful in opening up doors for us all along the way.”
While Confer is looking forward to new and challenging experiences he is transitioning into at SWU, there are many things he will miss about the AU community.
“I have had the privilege to serve alongside a fantastic Department of Student Life team who deeply cares for students and want every student on campus to have an outstanding experience. Their work is done with excellence, and it has been a joy to lead this team,” said Confer.
During his time at AU, Confer has enjoyed living out ministry daily with faculty, staff and students. He has loved leading a small group over the last three years and seeing students grow. Working with students and seeing them realize all that God has called them to be is where Confer’s passion lies.
“I have also enjoyed, as strange as it might seem, walking through the conduct process with students who are open to learning from their mistakes,” he said. “There have been several students who have come back to AU just to thank me for the hard conversations and the growth that they had experienced as students here. Their comments often have been, ‘I hated you at the time, but I didn’t realize how much I needed you to get in my way so that I could be whole again.’”
Confer is thankful for the opportunity to serve at his alma mater and for the people here at AU.
“It has been an honor to serve the AU community over the last four and a half years,” he said. “I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to come back and serve the university that had given so much to me as a student. God has been so faithful here in this place, and I firmly believe that AU’s best days are yet to come. For all those who have gone before, soar Ravens soar!”