On the Hill Spring 2018

Dean Odus Compton: Working to Help Students Find Their Place on Bison Hill

For 24 years, Odus Compton, ‘87, associate vice president of student development and dean of students, has served as a role model, minister, encourager and mentor through his many roles at OBU, significantly impacting the lives of students and encouraging them to live in faithful service to Christ.

What motivates you about being dean of students at OBU?

The opportunity to help shape and support the culture at OBU is a major part of my calling and to do that from the dean’s chair is both challenging and exciting. I am grateful to be a part of the University’s mission as we seek to “transform lives” and serving in this role gives me a great vantage point to do so.

What are some of the most rewarding aspects of being dean of students at OBU?

Watching our students as they dive into the various opportunities afforded to them to grow into the men and women that God has designed them to be never gets old, whether that is a small group in the dorms, a ministry group off campus, a GO Trip, a student organization, or in the classroom. I love students and have dedicated more than 30 years of my life to seeing God raise up students to go into the harvest.

What is the most challenging?

Students have incredible challenges today, perhaps more than during any other time in history. It is heartbreaking at times to hear their stories and know what they have been through and are currently going through. The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy, and he is relentless at times.

What are some of your main job responsibilities as dean of students and associate VP for student development? Which areas do you oversee?

As dean of students, I give oversight to the student services aspect of the University, which includes residential life, student activities, career development, international student services, diversity and multicultural student services and the RAWC. As associate VP for student development, my responsibilities also include giving leadership and facilitating collaboration within spiritual life and student life on campus.

What do you think sets OBU apart from other universities?

I believe that our history calls forth for faithful commitment to Christ in His call on us as an institution and as individuals. I also believe that God’s hand has been on this place in a real and powerful way for more than 100 years. The impact of this University in every sector of the world, whether in business, education, the arts, ministry, missions, or the sciences, is a result of the stellar faculty, staff and administration that impact some of the best students on the planet.

During what years and in what roles have you been on Bison Hill?

I was a student from 1983-87, assistant campus minister from 1988-91, and Baptist Collegiate Ministries director/religious activities director from 1991-2002. I came back to OBU in 2008 and served as church relations director until 2010 when I became the student ministry director. In 2016, I was promoted to associate vice president of student development/dean of students.

What does the future of student development look like at OBU? Are there any initiatives you would like to share?

One of my stated objectives in coming into this position is that the “student” must be at the core of what we do in “student development.” Programs will come and go, but we need to always evaluate what we do and where we are going based on the effectiveness and benefit to our students.

What is something that might surprise people about being the dean of students?

It seems that many in our community think that the only thing I do is discipline. I actually enjoy hanging out with students and hearing about their passions and dreams for the future.

Why did you choose OBU, both as a student and also for the majority of your career?

I came here as a student because I felt God calling me here and had that confirmed during Welcome Week my freshman year. I am only the third person in my family of ten to graduate from high school, and the only one to graduate from a university. While a student here, I gained a vision and a passion for what God can do through a college generation yielded to Him. This place gets in your blood and it is certainly in mine.