Cedarville students have a unique perspective on campus life with their parents as faculty members

by Sarah Mummert

Freshman Molecular Biology student Abbi Shepherd’s dad is Dr. Mike Shepherd, a Bible professor who teaches Masters of Divinity classes.

The Shepherds moved to Cedarville in 2015, and they live across the street from the university. Shepherd said, “I like to tell people my house is closer to the BTS than Parker and Bates are.” 

Shepherd lives on campus, and she plans to do so all four years. She said if she stayed in town, she wanted to “at least move out of the house for some space and independence.” A potential disadvantage to living nearby is a lack of independence. “But,” she said, “I feel like I haven’t really had that problem, because I’ve always been pretty independent.”

Shepherd notes a unique advantage of being a Bible professor’s daughter: “I think it’s really cool being able to sit in on his classes.”

It’s not awkward for her to tell people her dad is on faculty. She said, “I think my dad is very cool, and I think the stuff he teaches is cool. And he’s insanely smart. When I tell people my dad works on campus, people who know who he is will be like, ‘Your dad’s Dr. Shepherd? I love having him in class. He’s so smart!’ And I’m like, ‘Yep, that’s my dad!’”

But Shepherd also said she feels like she missed out on part of the college experience. “I came in already fully comfortable with campus, knowing a lot of professors already. I had taken classes on campus.” None of that was new and exciting for her.

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Freshman Professional Writing and Information Design student, Josh McClain, is son of Dr. Mark McClain, the chair of the Science and Math department. Dr. McClain teaches several chemistry classes and has worked at Cedarville for 25 years. 

The McClains live in Xenia, but Josh lives on campus. He said, “I wanted to live on campus at least one year to get the on-campus experience and to get more involved in the community.”

McClain and his dad meet for breakfast every Thursday. “If we weren’t intentional about it,” McClain said, “I probably would never see him. We really don’t cross paths unless we make an effort to.” An advantage to having his dad work on campus is having him here during the day. “It’s nice to have your dad have an office on campus,” he said. “I could just walk into his office, and he would be there.”

McClain’s family knows the area well, and he knew a lot about Cedarville before attending. “Not just the layout,” he said, “but the academics and the biblical focus of the school.”

Another advantage to having a parent work for the university is tuition remission for all four years. “It’s a tremendous blessing,” McClain said. 

McClain said a disadvantage of having a parent as a faculty member at his school is if someone treats him differently when they find out, but he hasn’t experienced that that much. He said another issue could be if students don’t have a great relationship with their parents, but “for me, that’s never been an issue.”

McClain noted having his dad work on campus changed his perspective on faculty. “Having seen my dad at home and at work, I’ve gotten to see his full life and everything he’s involved with outside of work.”

Administrative jobs carry more stress than many people realize.

“It’s helped me respect the professors I have now, because I realize they have lives outside of classes that we don’t often think about,” said McClain. “They have needs, too. We have to respect their time and their humanity.”

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