MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary President Jeff Iorg has announced that the seminary’s vice president for academic affairs, Rick Durst, will become director of the MDIV/MTS degree, effective July 1.
The change, Iorg told the faculty May 11, will help accomplish goals approved by the GGBTS trustees to increase the visibility of the master of divinity (M.Div.) and master of theological studies (MTS) programs and the need to make the M.Div. available in a distance format.
“For these items to be a priority, it will require a passionate, focused, creative leader — a champion to make and keep them a priority,” Iorg said in naming Durst to the new post.
“I have loved serving Golden Gate as vice president and dean these past 11 years,” said Durst, who will retain his rank as professor of historical theology. “However, this change to direct the M.Div. program and develop the mobile M.Div. program allows me to put calling before career.
“Dr. Iorg has allowed me to align my passions for teaching and innovation with a strategic need in the seminary’s five-year plan to provide effective leadership training for all the churches of the western U.S.”
Durst has served Golden Gate Seminary in various positions for more than 14 years, initially as director of the Southern California campus in 1991. He was elected as vice president for academic affairs in 1994. During that time, Durst oversaw the development and accreditation of two new campuses, in Arizona and Colorado.
“This kind of change in assignment by a high-ranking administrative leader sometimes produces speculative questions.” Iorg told the faculty. “So, let me be very clear. Dr. Durst is an outstanding classroom educator, passionate supporter of Golden Gate and one of the most creative people I have ever met. Rick has been my friend for more than a decade. He has served me with loyalty and devotion. We both intend to retire as servants of Golden Gate.”
Underscoring the strategic nature of his decision, Iorg said Durst is simply the “best choice” for the newly created position.
Dwight Honeycutt has been named interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. Durst will continue to lead through the next six weeks, helping facilitate a smooth transition.
Honeycutt, the William A. Carleton professor of church history, has served as a faculty member since 1988.
Referring to the assignment of Honeycutt, Iorg stated, “Dr. Honeycutt is a respected leader among us and I ask you to give him your full cooperation through this transition.”
The search for a new vice president of academic affairs and dean will begin immediately. A senior faculty consulting group was appointed by Iorg to assist in the process.
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five campuses, in Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona and Colorado.