Raters Ready for the Challengeby Jim Amidon • May 16, 2008
President Pat White’s decision to promote Mike Raters ’85 to the Dean of Students position ushers in a new era of leadership in the Dean’s Office at Wabash.
Raters served as Associate Dean of Students since 2004 and becomes Dean after Tom Bambrey was named Wabash’s Director of Athletics.
"In the last four years, I’ve learned that the position is far more complex than I saw it when I was a student at Wabash," said Raters, who attended Wabash from 1981 through 1985. "I’ve gained a better understanding and appreciation for the interactions the Dean of Students has with faculty, staff, and especially students."
President White thinks Raters is up for the challenge. "Mike Raters has a proven record of increasing responsibility and leadership at Wabash," he said, "and it’s clear to me that he has the respect of the Wabash students, faculty, and staff."
Raters’ first order of business will be to find an Associate Dean, who can be on board in advance of the start of classes in August. As Raters knows well, the Associate Dean manages the bulk of student housing issues, which at Wabash involves a lot of revolving doors at the start of the school year.
Raters earned his master’s degree from Butler University while spending 17 years teaching and coaching at Franklin Central High School. While serving under Bambrey in the Dean’s Office, he had primary responsibility for coordinating student housing and developed Wabash’s Housing Education and Leadership Program (HELP), which he designed to train Wabash undergraduates for positions of campus leadership.
"One of the things I’ve learned in the last few years is how high the stakes are in terms of the welfare of the student body," Raters said. "I have a keen understanding of the impact behaviors have on academic performance, the development of leadership, and social skills."
Raters plans to elevate the conversation about the unique qualities of the Gentleman’s Rule — the enormous freedoms it allows for students and the sometimes sobering realities of the responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with those freedoms.
"Dean Bambrey has shaped the conversation of the Gentleman’s Rule and how it can be a guide for students long after their time at Wabash," Raters said. "I know the impact the Gentleman’s Rule can have on shaping each and every young man who comes to campus. Through continued conversations, programming, and action, I will demonstrate my very high expectations of our students and I will seek to make sure they reach those expectations."
"I’m excited about furthering the effort to maintain the viability of the Gentleman’s Rule."
As an undergraduate at Wabash, Raters was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and was a four-year letterman on the baseball team. He becomes the sixth Dean of Students in Wabash College history.
Raters is a firm believer that by setting high expectations for students and supporting them, Wabash men can leave here prepared for all of life’s challenges. He also sees the work as a team effort.
"I can see a role for every person on campus — students, faculty, and staff — to play in helping our students truly adopt the mindset, best purposes, and aspirations of the Gentleman’s Rule. All of us can play an important role in the way we teach our young men to meet the qualities we set forth in the Rule and in our mission statement," he said.
As a teacher and coach at Franklin Central High School, Raters taught American Government, U.S. History, and World History, while supervising 12 student teachers. He was the 2003 Center for Congress "Outstanding Teacher;" received a Franklin Township Education Foundation Grant in 2001; and was the Franklin College Supervising Teacher of the Year in 2000. He was also a faculty sponsor of Students Against Destructive Decisions and the Senior Government Class Community Service Projects Coordinator, in addition to sponsoring a range of student clubs, groups, and organizations.
Raters also served Franklin Central as varsity baseball coach (1995-99), varsity tennis coach (1988-99), and varsity girls golf coach (2000-2004).
Since his arrival at Wabash, Raters has been involved with Wabash’s Teacher Education students, and he has taught a Freshman Tutorial at the College.
"I’m very excited about this opportunity to serve Wabash," he concluded. "I have a lot to learn in a short period of time, but I think I’m up for the challenge."