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FROM THE COLLEGES: TMU to use digital cadaver in classes; Judson seeking successor to David E. Potts; Union names Van Neste & Baker as deans

In today’s From the Colleges:
Truett McConnell University
Judson College
Union University

Truett McConnell to use digital cadaver in classes

CLEVELAND, Ga. (BP) — An interactive virtual anatomy dissection table will become part of the biology and exercise science programs at Truett McConnell University’s Pilgram Marpeck School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) this fall.

An Anatomage Table, an advanced anatomy visualization system, has been featured in numerous journals, on PBS and in a TED Talks presentation by Jack Choi, founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley-based company behind the new technology.

Robert S. Bowen, Truett McConnell’s STEM dean and associate professor of physiology, noted, “So much of anatomy is based on experience, relationships and repetitive inquiry.” With the Anatomage Table, Bowen said, “Like a real cadaver, the detail is a much finer resolution than what can be achieved with plastic models. The table also provides an interactive environment and a hands-on experience with both human and animal study.”

At a cost of more than $71,000, TMU’s Anatomage Table has been fully funded with grant money from the Hearst Foundation, the Carolyn Ragan and King Charitable Foundation and the Georgia Baptist Health Care Ministry Foundation.

Truett McConnell’s Anatomage Table currently is on Cleveland, Ga., campus, with Bowen and other faculty now developing curricula to utilize the technology in STEM classes at the Baptist-affiliated university.

The table depicts multi-layered scans of the male and female anatomy, allowing students to perform dissections on different parts of the body with the ability to redo portions of the process or undo any errors.

“Fixing errors will allow our students to effectively learn from their failures and improve their understanding on human and animal anatomy,” Bowen said. Both the biology and exercise science programs require “extensive knowledge of anatomy and the table will be a nice addition to our instrumentation and training resources.”

Some of TMU’s senior biology students have had an opportunity to get a firsthand look at the various features of the digital cadaver.

“Using the table provides you with a hands-on learning experience,” Elise Lombard, one of the students, said. “You can only see and learn so much through a lecture. Being able to manipulate a [digital] cadaver allows a greater understanding of the anatomy and function of the human body.

“There are many different paths that a biology student can take,” Lombard added, “and this table allows you to customize and personalize your learning experience for your individual goal.”

Bowen noted, “Up until the addition of the table, anatomy education was a significant weakness for both the exercise science and biology programs. The table has made strides to correct that deficiency; however, it is already apparent that the table is going to be in high demand and additional tables would serve our programs well….”

The Anatomage Table, Bowen said, is “another example of the technology that God is blessing TMU with and will coalesce well with the other equipment and resources that are available to train the next generation of scientists and practitioners.”


Judson seeking successor to David E. Potts

MARION, Ala. (BP) — Judson College, a four-year women’s college affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention, is in the process of searching for a successor to David E. Potts, who died March 28 at age 66. Potts had led the college since 1990.

Judson, a 466-student college with degree programs in liberal arts and the sciences, is one of the oldest women’s colleges in the U.S., founded in 1838 by members of Siloam Baptist Church in Marion, Ala., where the organizational meeting of Southern Baptists’ Home Mission Board was held in 1845.

The college is named after Ann Judson, the first wife of Adoniram Judson, pioneer missionary to Burma (now Myanmar) in the early 1800s. Ann Judson, known as the first Protestant overseas female missionary, translated the Old Testament into Burmese before her death after nine years on the mission field.

Scott Bullard, Judson’s senior vice president and academic dean and associate professor of religious studies, is serving as the college’s interim president. Bullard has been a member of Judson’s faculty since 2008.

Potts, a Birmingham native, had served as executive vice president for administration from 1987 until Judson’s trustees elected him as the college’s president in 1990. He had previously worked at Judson as vice president for development from 1980-85. Potts also worked at Samford University, his alma mater, during much of his career as financial aid director and, earlier, as an admissions representative at the university in Birmingham.

Highlights of Potts’ tenure at Judson include growing its endowment from $2 million to $19 million and raising $35 million through capital campaigns for new construction and facility restoration, including the refurbishment of Judson’s historic Jewett Hall, the 30,000-square-foot main academic building named for the college’s founder, Milo Parker Jewett. Nine new academic programs were added, including three of the current five largest majors. Potts also initiated an exchange program for faculty and students between Judson and the Kachin Theological College and Seminary in Myanmar.

In addition to his service at Judson, Potts worked to improve higher education across the Southeast, serving as both a commissioner and Executive Council member for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional body that accredits Judson and other colleges and universities in the Southeast. He served as a member or chair of numerous SACSCOC on-site review committees to help institutions measure their effectiveness. In 2013, Potts was honored with SACSCOC’s James T. Rogers Distinguished Leadership Award for Outstanding Contributions to Higher Education.

Working with community leaders around the state, Potts was a founding board member of Sowing Seeds of Hope, a faith-based nonprofit organization seeking to address the root causes of poverty in Alabama. As a member of Sowing Seeds of Hope’s board of directors and health care task force, he helped bring a dialysis center to Marion, promoted programs that helped children gain health insurance coverage, and actively worked toward the reopening of a hospital in Perry County. He was a former president of Alabama Possible, formerly the Alabama Poverty Project, an organization co-founded by his father, former Alabama Baptist Convention Executive Secretary A. Earl Potts, which seeks to raise awareness of poverty issues statewide.

Potts’ personal commitment to service influenced the Judson community as well. For each of the past 11 years, more than 80 percent of Judson students have participated in community service through the college’s nationally recognized Faith-Based Service and Learning program, which Potts established in 2005. He served alongside them, often engaging in manual labor as he listened to students’ stories and told them about ways they could use their gifts to serve those referred to as “the least of these” in Matthew 25, a passage that he often read to students.

Potts also was instrumental in establishing Judson’s non-traditional, external degree program for adult learners during the early 1980s that would grow into Judson’s Distance Learning Program.

He held a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Alabama and master’s and undergraduate degrees from Samford.

An eight-member search committee, with five females and three males, is seeking Potts’ successor in a national search. The committee chair is James Sanford, a businessman and farmer and member of First Baptist Church in Prattville, Ala.

Also on the committee are Charlie Dunkin, trustee chairman and a Perry County businessman; David Byrd, former trustee chair and pastor of Northside Baptist Church in Jasper; Daphne Robinson, assistant attorney general for the state of Alabama; Susan Jones, Judson’s senior vice president and dean of students; Joan Newman, a financial adviser at Edward Jones; Lesley Sheek, head of Judson’s education department, associate professor of education and associate dean of the college for assessment and teaching effectiveness; and Mary Ellen Clements, Judson’s executive assistant to the president and member of Siloam Baptist Church. Robinson, Jones and Newman are Judson alumni.

Potts is survived by his wife Nora Beth Bloodworth Potts, two daughters and eight grandchildren.

A service honoring Potts was held April 8 in Judson’s Alumnae Auditorium. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that gifts be sent to Judson College, Sowing Seeds of Hope, Siloam Baptist Church or Marion Academy, a K-12 Christian school in Marion.


Union names Ray Van Neste & Hunter Baker as deans

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) — Union University has named Ray Van Neste as dean of its school of theology and missions and Hunter Baker as dean of the college of arts and sciences.

Van Neste, professor of biblical studies at the Baptist-affiliated college in Jackson, Tenn., has served on Union’s faculty since 2001 and also is director of the R.C. Ryan Center for Biblical Studies.

Baker, associate professor of political science, joined Union’s faculty in 2010 and has held a number of roles at the university, including senior associate dean of arts and sciences, dean of instruction and associate provost.

The outgoing dean of the school of theology and missions, Nathan Finn, is leaving Union to become provost at North Greenville University in South Carolina, while Baker succeeds John Netland, who became Union’s provost last fall.

Van Neste is a native of Millington, Tenn., who holds a Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland; a master of arts degree in New Testament from the Chicago-area Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; and an undergraduate degree from Union.

Van Neste wrote the commentaries on 1-2 Timothy and Titus for the Baker Illustrated Bible Background Commentary series, co-edited “Reformation 500: How the Greatest Revival Since Pentecost Continues to Shape the World Today” and contributed study notes on the pastoral epistles for the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible, among numerous other projects.

Van Neste and his wife Tammie have six children.

Baker came to Union from Houston Baptist University, where he served as director of strategic planning, associate provost for academic affairs and assistant professor of government. He is the author of three books — “The System Has a Soul: Essays on Christianity, Liberty, and Political Life,” “Political Thought: A Student’s Guide” and “The End of Secularism” — and has contributed articles to such publications as Christianity Today, First Things, National Review, The Federalist and The Gospel Coalition.

Baker was one of 13 Republican congressional candidates in 2016 for Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District. David Kustoff of Memphis won the primary and general election. Kustoff is a former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.

Baker also is a research fellow with the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and an affiliate scholar of the Acton Institute.

He holds a Ph.D. in religion, politics and society from Baylor University; a law degree from the University of Houston Law Center; a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Georgia; and an undergraduate degree from Florida State University.

Baker and his wife Ruth have two children.