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New Orleans trustees approve reactivating exec. v.p. post

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Trustees of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, during their annual spring meeting March 10-12, reactivated the position for an executive vice president and approved a record $11 million operating budget.

Mark R. Foley was named executive vice president by presidential appointment following approval from trustees to restore the office which has been vacant the past six years.

NOBTS President Chuck Kelley named Foley, a 10-year staff member and administrator at the seminary, to act as an administrative facilitator for the president. His duties, to be assigned by the president, will include institutional effectiveness, representing the president as a denominational and community liaison and coordinating seminary reports.

Foley, 46, named interim dean of the graduate faculty in October 1996, has been vice president for student development and institutional research and planning since January 1993, when he also was elected as an assistant professor of psychology and counseling. He has been director of student relations, 1991-92; director of financial aid and student development, 1988-91; and a development officer, 1987-88. Before coming to the seminary he was a business owner/operator in Wichita Falls, Texas, from 1972-86.

A 1972 graduate of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, with a bachelor of business administration degree, Foley completed two degrees at New Orleans Seminary, the master of divinity degree in 1989 and the doctor of philosophy degree in 1992, specializing in psychology and counseling. He is a licensed professional counselor in Louisiana and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors.

Denominationally, in 1996 he was named by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Inter-Agency Council to serve on the Racial Reconciliation Task Force.

A new fee schedule, rent charges and salary information were included in the 1997-98 budget adopted by trustees. The seminary operates on a Aug. 1 to July 31 fiscal year.

The new budget is a 5.9 percent increase over the current year’s budget and will be the largest budget in the history of the seminary. The increase involves some significant items of change, including a 9.1 percent boost of $490,000 from SBC Cooperative Program funds, growth in endowment fund revenues, reinstatement of the executive vice president office, an approximate 14 percent increase in the minimum wage, and a 2 percent faculty and staff salary increase.

The new matriculation fee will be $850 per semester for the seminary’s undergraduate, master’s and non-degree programs. The seminary’s doctoral degree fees will $1,000 per semester.

Trustees re-elected three laymen as chief officers, a unique situation for any SBC agency board, said Kelley, who just completed his first year as seminary president. All nominated for their positions by pastors, trustee board officers are William M. Hamm Jr., a retired mechanical contractor from Shreveport, La., chairman; Arnold A. Burk, a pharmacist from London, Ark., vice chairman; and William A. Hanberry, a retired commercial contractor from Hattiesburg, Miss., secretary-treasurer.

One new faculty member was elected. David M. Howard Jr. will be associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, effective Aug. 1. Howard has been associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill., since 1990. He previously taught at Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., 1982-90, and at Bethel College, also in St. Paul, 1983-90. He has done visiting professorships at Columbia Biblical Seminary and Bible College in Columbia, S.C.; Prairie Graduate School in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada; and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Howard has been a book review editor for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society since 1994 and has served on a national level in the Society of Biblical Literature since 1994. He has been a consultant, translator and reviser for Tyndale House Publishers since 1989. A prolific author of books, journal articles, book chapters and professional papers, he currently is working on the Joshua commentary book in Broadman & Holman’s New American Commentary series. He also is under contract to write commentaries on 1 and 2 Kings for Eerdmans’ New International Commentary on the Old Testament and on Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah for Zondervan’s NIV Application Commentary series.

A graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Howard completed the doctor of philosophy degree in Near Eastern studies there in 1986. He graduated magna cum laude from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill., with a master of arts degree in theological studies/Old Testament in 1977, and finished a bachelor of science degree in biology from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, Pa., in 1974.

Howard, 44, grew up as the child of missionary parents serving in Costa Rica and Colombia from 1953-67. His church experience includes adult Bible study, pulpit supply, associate minister for outreach and coordinator of discipleship in independent Baptist churches. Trustees elected him with the understanding he will join a Southern Baptist church upon moving to New Orleans. He and his wife, Jan, have two daughters, Christina, 11, and Melody, 7.

Trustees ratified action by the seminary’s foundation board which met March 10, including appointments of Robert R. Mathis, professor of Christian education, as the first occupant of the new John T. Sisemore Chair of Christian Education; Will H. McRaney Jr., assistant professor of evangelism, to the new Cecil B. Day Chair of Church Planting for four years; and Gerald D. Wright, associate professor of missions, to the Chester L. Quarles Chair of Missions.

In other action, trustees:

— promoted A. Perry Hancock to associate professor of Christian education and L. Thomas Strong III to associate professor of New Testament and Greek, both in the school of Christian training; Charles A. Ray Jr. to professor of New Testament and Greek; Paul E. Robertson to professor of theology; Argile A. Smith to associate professor of preaching; Asa R. Sphar III to associate professor of psychology and counseling.

— granted tenure to Foley; R. Allen Jackson, assistant professor of youth education; Francis X. Kimmitt, assistant professor of theological studies in the school of Christian training; Charles L. Register, assistant professor of evangelism and director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Growth; and Kenneth B. Taylor, assistant professor of evangelism and director of the John T. Christian Library. Kelley mentioned to trustees granting tenure does not mean a professor now has “license to teach anything,” but rather “is a statement of lifelong commitment,” he said, “meaning we want you to plan on spending the rest of your life here.” Tenured professors, he said, are held to the same standards of accountability as before receiving tenure.

— approved immediate sabbatical leave for Sidney L. Buckley, professor of voice and chairman of the division of church music ministries, due to serious health problems, and sabbatical leave for the 1997-98 academic year for Ray.

— approved a new presidential evaluation process so the president will be evaluated as all other faculty. A faculty evaluation process, created and developed by the faculty, was put in place in October 1996. “This is meant to be a positive, affirming process for all,” Hamm said. The executive vice president will summarize all data and make a report to trustees at the March 1998 meeting. “This idea came from the faculty,” Kelley said. “We want to be accountable. We want to improve and grow. This will be the most comprehensive system of any of the six SBC seminaries.”

— approved expenditures for a fiber optic line to create an “upramp” to the Internet. NOBTS already has its own Internet server on campus. The fiber optic technology will allow “intranet” capabilities to be developed, with Kelley explaining, “Through computers, seminary personnel will be connected to each other and the world.”

— heard a report on the expansion of the seminary’s class offerings by compressed interactive video (CIV); with the help of the Florida Baptist Convention, CIV classes will be offered in Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville. The seminary has offered CIV classes year-round on its North Georgia Campus in Decatur since 1995.

— approved the SBC motion for each SBC entity to develop ways to assist Christian schools associated with the SBC.

— heard reports on several evangelistic mission efforts set for March 14-21, including the third annual mission trip to Ecuador and 10 spring revival teams scheduled to work in Louisiana churches with historically low baptism records; as well as mission trips in May to Costa Rica and Tanzania.

— recognized two trustees who will rotate off the board during the June SBC, each of whom have served two consecutive five-year terms: Ed Johnson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Ocala, Fla., who was trustee chairman 1994-96; and Glynn Rhinehart, a geological engineer from Lafayette, La.

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  • Debbie Moore