Biola employees explain their confusing job titles

There’s more to the job title for Biola’s influential leaders.


Grant Walter

Grant Walter/THE CHIMES

Nicole Foy, Writer

Senior director of university communications and marketing, brand marketing and creative production, Brian Miller shows off his business card. He explained that his job is to manage how people perceive Biola. | Grant Walter/THE CHIMES


Chad Miller, director of Spiritual Formation, has been trying to explain his expertise and career for the last 15 years. Ever since his studies at Talbot School of Theology, where he received an M.A. in spiritual formation and soul care, Chad Miller has dealt with blank stares and confusion from people inside and outside the church regarding exactly what those words mean.

“It’s a job that people may not know what I do just by my job title,” Chad Miller said.

Chad Miller’s amusing predicament is by no means unique; every industry and profession has its own set of terms that are commonly misunderstood by those outside that particular field. However, staff and administration at a Christian university who attempt to explain their jobs often face even more confusion when their titles include uniquely Christian words such as “spiritual formation.”

Chad Miller, director of Spiritual Formation
“We are a pastoral presence on campus”

“I just explain that Biola has a vision for spiritual formation because of the Institute for Spiritual Formation … so really that just involves the spiritual growth of undergraduate students at Biola,” Chad Miller said. “I am involved in programming and making space for spiritual development for the student population.”

Thus, Chad Miller’s daily schedule usually includes extensive work with chapel programs, particularly the “Fives” service on Tuesday, and several one-on-one meetings with students.

“[My favorite part] is working with students. I daily interact with students, and college is such a vital time in their personal spiritual development,” Chad Miller said. “The more student interaction the better.”

As Chad Miller’s position was only just created this year, much of his work includes finding new ways to promote spiritual growth. For example, Chad Miller and his staff are exploring the possibility of training student leaders for a small group ministry within the dorms and off-campus community as well as creating the Office of Soul Care to provide pastoral care for students.

Whatever future projects might be, Chad Miller emphasized that the primary aim of his office is to serve as a much-needed spiritual resource for students.

“The office of Spiritual Development really understands that we are a pastoral presence on campus,” Chad Miller said. “So, if there is a pastoral need or they need someone to talk to, we are here.”

Anthony Melendrez, Event Services production coordinator
“My big thing in life is shepherding.”

The responsibilities of Event Services are apparently misunderstood as often as the Department of Spiritual Formation, as Event Services production coordinator Anthony Melendrez can remember a few phone conversations where he had to politely explain the responsibilities of his job. As long as his job description is understood, Melendrez says one of his favorite parts of his job is the problem solving — figuring out what the customer wants and how best to organize the event in a way that satisfies and relieves stress of the partnering organization or department.

Although his position as production coordinator means that Melendrez must oversee the big picture of every on-campus event, he also emphasizes everyday interaction with students. Melendrez takes great care not only to teach student workers the technical aspects of setting up large events but also the responsibility and work ethic in order to be successful in the future. Melendrez and his co-workers even strive to be available to students interested in hosting their own dorm events or who simply need technical advice.

“My big thing in life is shepherding,” Melendrez said. “I pretty much look at my student workers, male and female, as my responsibility to train them up in the Lord. Period.”

Melendrez acknowledged that many students don’t understand the amount of work and time a single event can take or how easy it is for something to go wrong.

“We have jobs and you might not understand it, but as a department we will do everything we can to honor the Lord and you,” Melendrez said.

Brian Miller, senior director of University Communications and Marketing, Brand Marketing and Creative Production
“We are out there telling people about this place.”

Brian Miller often doesn’t give his entire title during first meetings, as its considerable length and usage of marketing-specific words can complicate any introduction. As senior director of university communications and marketing, brand marketing and creative production, Brian Miller explained that his job is to manage how people perceive Biola, ensuring that all experiences someone has with Biola are positive and true.

“People don’t always understand the planning and deep thinking that goes into [university communications and marketing],” Brian Miller said. “It’s so very intentional. We don’t just put up a billboard because we felt like it one day. We make sure its the best thing we can do.”

This intentionality extends to every bit of the Biola website, marketing videos, campus banners, prospective student pamphlets and the Biola Magazine. Thus, Brian Miller’s days are filled with conversation and relationship as Brian Miller meets with designers, producers, student workers and co-workers who are working to guarantee that Biola is represented well.

“We live and breathe Biola, because we are out there telling people about this place and the great work Biola is doing for the Lord,” Brian Miller said. “I want people people to know that there are a lot of people that are fully dedicated to and passionate about Biola and about serving.”

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