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FROM THE COLLEGES: Union, Boyce, Truett-McConnell, Hardin Simmons


Mitchell named Union interim provost

JACKSON, Tenn. — Union University President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver has named C. Ben Mitchell interim provost and interim vice president for academic affairs.

Mitchell, a noted evangelical ethicist and philosopher, has served at Union as Graves professor of moral philosophy since 2009. He brings a background of scholarship, classroom teaching and public policy expertise to the role of Union’s chief academic officer.

“Ben Mitchell is an excellent scholar and teacher who embodies our core values and Christ-centered mission at Union,” Oliver said. “I am grateful that he has agreed to work shoulder to shoulder with me as we seek to advance our mission and vision.”

Mitchell said he has “fallen in love with the amazing students, faculty and staff of Union University” and is “honored to serve them in any way I am able. And I am especially grateful to assist Dr. Oliver as we seek to take Union to the next level of excellence as a Great Commandment and Great Commission institution.”

Mitchell was a consultant with the Center for Genetics and Public Policy at Johns Hopkins University and co-director for biotechnology policy and fellow of the Council for Biotechnology Policy in Washington, D.C. He is the editor of Ethics and Medicine: An International Journal of Bioethics. He is a fellow of the Research Institute of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.


Mitchell was a member of the Templeton Oxford Summer Symposium on Religion and Science (2003-2005). He was invited to participate in the Calvin Summer Seminar on Religion, Modernity and the Hermeneutics of Science (2012).

In addition to his academic work, Mitchell frequently consults on matters of public policy and has given testimony before such groups as the Institutes of Medicine, the Illinois Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2012, Mitchell and Oliver testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in opposition to the government’s abortifacient health care coverage mandate. Mitchell called the mandate “an unconscionable intrusion by the state into the consciences of American citizens.”

Mitchell has published in major news media, including the Washington Post, and is enlisted as an expert on National Public Radio, FOX News, MSNBC and other media outlets.

He has contributed chapters to 25 books and has written dozens of articles and reviews. He wrote “Ethics & Moral Reasoning: A Student’s Guide,” published by Crossway, and a forthcoming volume “Christian Bioethics: A Guide for Pastors, Health Care Professionals and Families” with D. Joy Riley, M.D. (B&H).

Mitchell received his doctorate in philosophy with a concentration in medical ethics from the University of Tennessee. He has done additional study in genetics for non-scientists at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., and has twice been visiting scholar at Green College, the medical college of Oxford University.

He earned a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University.

Mitchell is a native of Tampa, Fla. He and his wife Nancy have been married for 39 years. They are members of First Baptist Church in Jackson.

Moodie to lead Boyce business management program

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A cross-cultural business researcher and professor will lead the new business management program at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Wisconsin native Scott Moodie will assume duties as assistant professor of business management at Boyce in July. Moodie is currently completing his Ph.D. in management science at Spain’s ESADE School of Business, consistently listed as one of the best business schools in the world.

Moodie will be responsible for Boyce’s new degree offering in business administration, pending approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The degree is designed to integrate business and missions, and will prepare students for three avenues: intercultural business, non-profit organization administration and local church administration.

“I am incredibly excited about this new business degree,” Randy Stinson, senior vice president for academic administration and provost of Southern Seminary, said. “It will create many ministry opportunities for the Gospel both here and around the world. Students will not only be more strategically deployed as missionaries but will also be more effective ministers of the Gospel as they develop a biblical understanding of faith, work and economics.”

Before studying at ESADE, Moodie earned his undergraduate degree in marketing at Cedarville University and his M.B.A. in international business at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He currently resides in Italy, serving as the senior editorial assistant for Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal.

“Scott is an exciting addition to Boyce College,” John Klaassen, global studies coordinator, said. “He has been a part of international churches everywhere he has lived and will bring not only expertise on the business front but a thorough understanding of what it means to live globally, be a churchman internationally and work with businesses cross-culturally. His perspective will be unique among business leaders and his gifting will serve the church in ways that we have never experienced before.”

Leaders at Southern Seminary and Boyce College, including Boyce dean Dan Dewitt, lauded the new program on social media for its ability to equip students to serve on the mission field.

“Boyce has established itself as a stalwart for biblical and theological education, but now we are enabling Gospel ministers to advance the Kingdom in difficult places in the world with skills for the marketplace and beyond,” Dewitt said. “This degree is setting a precedent for training Gospel entrepreneurs to be on mission around the globe.”

In a video announcing the business administration degree, Klassen said, “We need to train our cross-cultural workers to access those nations [that are closed to missionaries].”

He added, “Here at Boyce College you’re going to get the global studies, you’re going to understand missions and how to do missions. But now with this new degree program you’ll also understand business; you’ll understand what it takes to start a business; you’ll understand how local economies work.”

The four-year degree consists of 36 hours in biblical and theological studies, 33 hours of business studies, 15 hours of global studies and 12 hours of ministry studies.

“I want to encourage you to come to Boyce … Get the solid biblical and theological understanding that you need and get the solid business understanding that you need, and learn how to combine those two things together so you can be an effective minister of the Gospel,” Klaassen said.

Truett-McConnell launches capital campaign for student rec center

CLEVELAND, Ga. — Truett-McConnell College’s board of trustees voted unanimously March 7 to endorse a capital building campaign for a new student recreation center.

On May 1, the college kicked off the 14-month campaign to raise $13 million for the 69,000-sq.-ft. facility.

“God is raising up a new generation of believers who are sold out to the Lord Jesus Christ, and they are coming by the hundreds to Truett-McConnell in such a way that our facilities can no longer hold all of them,” President Emir Caner said.

“Once home to a few hundred students, our college now enrolls more than 1,600 students residentially and online,” he said. “It is both incumbent and necessary that we radically transform the campus to give us the ability to radically transform as many lives for Christ as God would send to us.

“The George Blaurock Student Recreation Center will stand on more than a concrete foundation. It will reflect the rich heritage and staunch commitment of the Anabaptist movement and one of its evangelists,” Caner noted.

“The center’s namesake is none other than the very man who helped begin the modern missionary movement and who, through martyrdom, gave his life for the faith,” Caner added.

“Students already have dubbed the center ‘The Rock,’ and it will be an asset for recruitment, a ministry to our students and will accommodate our growing athletic program that we hope will include football and women’s lacrosse in the not-too-distant future,” Caner said.

The “Rock” will feature an 8-lane, accessible swimming pool, two racquetball courts, three basketball courts and a restaurant. An elevated running track will offer indoor exercise. Training equipment includes ellipticals, treadmills and free weights.

“We can’t keep the new center all to ourselves,” Gary Jarnagin, director of financial development for the college, said. “So, we plan to offer the rec center’s use to the public on a membership basis.”

“Once the funds are in hand, we will begin digging for the ‘Rock’ by fall 2015, with an estimated 18-month build-out for completion,” Jarnagin said.

J. Robert White, executive director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, told TMNews, “Being a healthy communicator of Gospel truth begins with a commitment to wholeness. That’s what I love about Truett-McConnell, forthright commitment to radical transformation of the body, mind and spirit. The new student recreation center will reflect the vibrant environment of Truett-McConnell College, a Georgia Baptist College that is devoted to the health of every student, every professor and every administrator.”

Chairman of the trustees, Bob Jolly, told TMNews, “As a pastor in North Georgia, I have witnessed first-hand the blessing Truett-McConnell College is to the local church. Though nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, the college is not isolated. It is an integral part of the local community and the region — a city set on a hill whose light cannot be hidden. Truett-McConnell therefore is aggressively seeking to brighten the community with a new, state-of-the-art, student recreation center that will reveal the light of the world, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of all who call on His name.”

HSU program featured in Sky and Telescope Magazine

ABILENE, Texas — High school students halfway across the Earth from Hardin-Simmons University are celebrating their discovery of an object so far away it is well past Pluto.

University, high school and even junior high students from around the world have been discovering new asteroids every month since 2006, thanks to an international program run out of the Sid Richardson Science Complex at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. However, this latest discovery by students in Taiwan is different from the hundreds of other discoveries.

This newest find is the first trans-Neptunian object (TNO) ever observed by students participating in the International Asteroid Space Collaboration (IASC), which has traditionally discovered near-Earth objects (NEO).

“Some of the asteroids students have found are so close to Earth that they are considered new threats to our planet,” Patrick Miller, co-founder and director of IASC and HSU professor of mathematics, said.

Operating out of a small office in the basement of the science building, Miller and the program are featured in the June 2014 Sky and Telescope magazine. The discovery comes just as the magazine hits newsstands.

Five students at National Dali High School in Dali City, Taiwan, Republic of China, made the discovery as part of the Internet-based space-watching program. Over the Internet, participating schools receive astronomical images taken only hours before from several telescopes across the globe.

Students use a software package to assist in the detection and measurement of the positions of asteroids and other near-Earth objects. Discoveries of hundreds of previously unknown asteroids and even comets have been documented as a result of the program.

“Most of the discoveries are Main Belt asteroids, found between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter,” Miller said. “They are two to four times as far from the Sun as the Earth. Many are boulders of rock about a quarter-mile across.”

The newest discovery is different because it is at the furthest reaches of the Solar System, Miller said, so far away that it would take about 562 Earth years for the TNO to go around the sun once.

The students discovered the TNO with images downloaded in April from the Institute for Astronomy in Haleakala, Maui, which has the world’s largest scientific camera, with a seven-degree field of vision and 1.4 billion pixels.

IASC (pronounced Isaac), now in its eighth year, was co-founded by Miller and Jeff Davis, an HSU student at the time and now alumnus, with just five schools from the United States participating. IASC has since grown to 500 schools with 5,000 students participating each year in more than 70 countries on six continents.

The objective of the space program is twofold: to keep an eye out for objects in space that could be potentially dangerous to Earth, and to prepare young scientists for future endeavors, Miller said.

One of the most productive months for IASC was March 2012 when students discovered 20 new asteroids, a record number in one month. Discoveries included one made by an 11-year-old middle school student in Portugal and two local students at Cisco College in Abilene. Two previous asteroids discovered by HSU students were cataloged that same month by the Minor Planet Center, located at Harvard University, and have since been named by the students.

One of IASC’s volunteers, Tomas Vorobjov of Slovakia, discovered a comet in his work to support the student-based discovery programs. Miller described Vorobjov’s sighting as a major discovery considering the comet, like the TNO, is so far away.

“From Space to School, An International Collaboration Puts Asteroid Hunting in the Hands of Students,” can be found in the June 2014 issue of Sky and Telescope.
Compiled by David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress [3]), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress [4]) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp [5]).