VP Naylor Wanted to Be Part of ‘Something Bigger’
By Katie Beeman, Senior Staff Writer
Edward Naylor has returned to his first calling, education, after working as a lawyer in Rocky Mount for over 22 years. As Wesleyan’s new Vice President for Student Affairs and Legal Affairs, Naylor wants to be an advocate for the students.
Naylor, 49, started in his new position before the 2014 fall semester. He is in charge of security, residence life, food services, student activities, the health center, and student discipline.
When Naylor started his new job—he’s commonly known as Dean of Students––some students were unsure about approaching him, according to SGA President Isaiah Morrow. “I kept encouraging students to just go and talk to him,” Morrow said. “As soon as the first few saw how personable and caring he was, more and more students were going to see him.”
Both Naylor and Morrow stressed that it’s important for students to voice their concerns. “I have to know their concerns, so that I know how I can best help them,” Naylor explained
Student Aubrey Motley emerged from a recent meeting with a positive vibe about the dean. Motley went his office to talk about some problems on campus. “He gave really good input,” said Motley. “He cares about the students.”
Junior Chavonne Jones shared a similar opinion of Naylor. “I see him around campus all of the time,” she said. “He’s always involved with what the students are doing.”
Starting this position, Naylor found no major problems within his division. “Student Affairs was left in really good shape by Dean Williams,” he said, referring to his predecessor, Dr. Randy Williams, who left the college to take a position at Elon University.
Naylor stated that he viewed his first year as an evaluation period and not for making major changes. After the start of this semester, Naylor began to compile a list of goals that he wanted to achieve.
Student safety is at the top of Naylor’s plans. “This is their home and students need to feel safe here,” he said.
Around campus, the college has already placed new security lights, which are a lot brighter than the old ones. Naylor wants to install more. He also plans to add more security cameras and, eventually, emergency boxes. Mounted on poles, the emergency boxes would include a button that members of the Wesleyan community can press to call police.
Along with safety improvements, Naylor would like to see a greater number of students involved in activities, like clubs and student government. “I want to improve upon the existing clubs and add a wider of variety,” the dean said. Also, Naylor will strive to increase job and internship opportunities for students on and off campus.
As for long-term goals, Naylor noted that the administration hopes to have 1,000 students enrolled at Wesleyan in three years. With this number, Wesleyan intends to build two new residence halls and new classroom spaces, according to the dean. Increased enrollment should not mean lowering admissions standards, he said. “We want to maintain quality as we grow,” he said, reflecting the ideals of President Clark, whose philosophy for the college is “consistent improvement.”
Naylor came to Wesleyan after working as a lawyer, primarily in litigation. He feels that his law background is an asset in his new job. “Getting a law degree is like a liberal arts education,” said Naylor. “It encompasses a lot of different areas.”
His law background helps him when it comes to law enforcement matters, contracts with outside companies like Sodexo, and student conduct. “The student conduct hearings are basically a mini court system,” said Naylor. Together with his Student Affairs responsibilities Naylor will be handling the college’s legal affairs.
Before receiving his juris doctor degree from North Carolina Central University, Naylor’s passion was education. He earned his undergraduate degree in business education from East Carolina University and then taught and coached baseball at Edgecombe County schools.
Naylor said that he had missed education and decided to return. “I wanted a field where I was a part of something bigger than myself and would help people on a large scale,” said Naylor. He expressed his excitement at working with college-aged students. “I was surprised at how engaged the students here were,” he said. “They really have a passion for this school and their futures.”
As for Naylor’s daily schedule, he stated that there is no typical day. The dean said that he spends a good amount of time answering various emails and telephone calls, as well as attending meetings with students, staff, and other members of the Wesleyan community.
The dean meets with Morrow every Wednesday. The SGA President brings the students’ concerns to the dean and the two try to find the best solution. Morrow explained that sometimes the administration might not be aware of particular student concerns. As an example, he noted that the college is now working to install coin machines in the residence halls to help students do their laundry, after the issue was raised in one of his meetings with the dean.
Naylor has been connected to Wesleyan for years through his wife, Sheryl, who graduated from Wesleyan in 1992. Back in high school, Naylor was even accepted here with plans to play baseball, but he decided instead on East Carolina University. The Naylors have two children. His daughter is a high school senior in Rocky Mount at Faith Christian School and his son is a senior at ECU.
Naylor still likes to coach and watch baseball and he enjoys spending time at the beach. He is an active member of Rocky Mount’s Englewood Baptist Church, where he serves on the board of directors.