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Southwestern trustees approve theology dean, 6 new faculty

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Fulfilling a promise to hire faculty who reflect the nation’s growing ethnic diversity, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees hired five men and two women from three countries to fill a leading post and six faculty positions.

The group — which includes natives of Zimbabwe, Cuba and South Korea — was elected at the biannual meeting of the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary’s board of trustees March 7-8.

By ballot vote, a tradition when voting for a dean, David Crutchley was elected the ninth dean of the seminary’s school of theology. The position was left vacant last June by the death of Tommy Lea. Crutchley, who was born in Rhodesia — now known as Zimbabwe — joined the school’s faculty in August 1999 as associate professor of New Testament.

Southwestern President Kenneth S. Hemphill said Crutchley was selected from a nationwide search for a dean because of his strong belief in the inerrancy of Scripture, his integrity as a scholar and his passion as a former missionary to South Africa. As dean, Hemphill said, Crutchley will continue Southwestern’s tradition of academic excellence and passion for missions and evangelism.

“His appointment will send the signal that that is who we are and what we continue to excel in,” Hemphill added.

Trustees elected Timothy Pierce instructor of Old Testament, James Wicker associate professor of New Testament and Esther Diaz-Bolet assistant professor of administration. Jong-hwan “Jonathan” Kim, associate director of the seminary’s undergraduate and Lay Theological Studies programs since August, was given faculty status.

Trustees also elected William McGuire associate professor of psychology and counseling and Dana Wicker assistant professor of psychology and counseling.

Hemphill said McGuire and Dana Wicker’s coming keeps Southwestern “the leader in the area of Christian counseling.” Daryl Eldridge, dean of the school of educational ministries, added that the two bring with them “a great background in local church work as well as clinical work.”

McGuire, 48, has served as professor of psychology and counseling at Criswell College since 1998. He also taught at Dallas Baptist University from 1994-97. McGuire earned his Ph.D. at Texas Woman’s University. He earned a master of education and bachelor of arts at Mississippi State University and a master of theology at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Wicker, 43, earned her Ph.D. at the University of North Texas and her bachelor of science at Baylor University. She has served as an intern at the Child and Family Guidance Clinic in Dallas and a guest professor of psychology and counseling at Southwestern since 1998.

Her husband, James, 45, earned a Ph.D. and a master of divinity at Southwestern Seminary and a bachelor of arts at Baylor University. He was an adjunct teacher at Dallas Baptist University the past two years and has pastored First Baptist Church, Frisco, Texas, since 1991. He previously pastored FBC Farmersville and FBC Lavon, Texas.

The Wickers are the first husband-wife team to be elected to the faculty in the same year at Southwestern.

Pierce, 31, earned a master of theology at Southwestern Seminary and a bachelor of arts at Wayland Baptist University. He is expected to complete his Ph.D. at Southwestern this spring.

Hemphill called Pierce “brilliant, articulate. [He’s] going to be an outstanding young man both for the local church and for our Old Testament students.”

Diaz-Bolet, 49, is the first Cuban American woman to join the school’s faculty. Diaz-Bolet earned her Ph.D. and a master of arts in religious education at Southwestern, a master of science at Florida International University and a bachelor of arts at Montclair State University.

Kim, 36, is the first Korean American to join the faculty. He earned a master of arts in religious education and a Ph.D. at Southwestern and a bachelor of arts at Southwestern Baptist University. Kim served as assistant professor of adult education at Dallas Baptist University from 1997-99.

Previously Kim served as academic counselor and associate registrar at DBU. He also served as instructor of the ethnic leadership development program at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Mill Valley, Calif.

Hemphill has pledged at previous trustee meetings to bring greater ethnic diversity to the faculty to mirror the growing diversity of the student body. Southwestern enrolled a record 203 international students this semester and has recorded record international student enrollment in each of the past four semesters.

The new dean and faculty “give us a great opportunity to continue our ethnic mix as well as our international flavor,” Hemphill said.

In his report, Hemphill told trustees that faculty, staff, students and an advisory council have been busy working during the past year as part of the seminary’s self-study. The study and the seminary’s “Theological Education in the 21st Century” task force have been preparing for the upcoming 10-year site visit by accrediting agencies. A new seminary vision statement and core values have come out of those discussions.

Trustees affirmed the vision statement which says: “A community of faith and learning that develops spiritual leaders with a passion for Christ and the Bible, a love for people and skills to minister effectively in a rapidly changing world.”

Hemphill explained that core values for the seminary came out of the new vision statement. They are: Christ-centered, biblical base, global strategy, professional excellence, church supportive, godly character, loving relationships and lifelong learning.

Every student graduating from Southwestern, Hemphill said, will be expected to be competent in five areas: worship, proclamation and witness, discipleship and ministry.

Trustees approved a record $28.6 million budget — a 4 percent increase over the 1999-2000 budget — which includes the equivalent of a 3 percent average raise for faculty and staff with the possibility of an additional 3.5 to 5-percent mid-year salary increase for faculty.

Hubert Martin, vice president for business affairs, reported that Southwestern is experiencing another strong year financially. Martin and Hemphill expressed appreciation to Southern Baptists because, for the first time, Cooperative Program gifts to the seminary’s educational and general budget will exceed $10 million.

In addition, Jack Terry, vice president for institutional advancement, reported that gifts to the seminary remain near record levels. Total gifts to the seminary increased more than 10 percent from $6,112,812 in 1998 to $6,760,854 in 1999. Approximately $29.3 million has been raised in the first phase of the seminary’s $100 million capital campaign.

Nearly 20 percent of that amount is going to the new Ralph M. Smith Leadership Development Complex. Trustees toured the nearly completed first phase of the continuing education building. Terry invited trustees to come back to campus May 12 for dedication ceremonies.

Trustees heard reports on the seminary’s efforts to prepare for its upcoming 10-year reaccreditation site visit. Daryl Eldridge, dean of the school of educational ministries, reported that students have been brought up to speed through a series of town hall meetings on next fall’s change to a three-hour curriculum from the long-standing two-hour curriculum.

To prepare for the seminary’s reaccreditation, trustees approved a recommendation from the faculty-trustee liaison committee establishing a formal procedure to handle appeals from students. An ad hoc committee for appeals was created to be composed of faculty, staff, students and trustees.

Trustees also approved three recommendations from an ad hoc committee on policy and bylaws. The policies, which do not become a part of the trustee bylaws:

— established procedures regarding the nominating process of trustee officers.

— authorized the chairman to appoint members from each committee to draft procedures and responsibilities for conducting the work of their committee.

— authorized the trustee executive committee to meet in each six-month period between the biannual trustee meetings and the chairman to meet “periodically” with the president’s council.

Trustees learned that Hemphill has created an ethnic leadership education task force to identify ways of enhancing educational opportunities for ethnic leaders.

In other business, trustees:

— promoted Ian Jones from associate professor to professor of psychology and counseling and Dennis Parrish from assistant professor to associate professor of communication arts.

— granted tenure to Gerald Aultman, professor of music theory.

— re-elected officers Miles Seaborn, chairman; Michael Dean, vice chairman; and Matthew McKellar, secretary.

— approved the continued use of Grant Thornton Certified Public Accountants as the seminary’s auditors.

— voted to give next year’s L. R. Scarborough award to former Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board missionary Charles Bryan and his wife, Patricia.

— elected trustees Steve Cloud, Michael Marshall, Ted Russell and Daniel Schrider and Fort Worth businessmen Tom Coston, Fieldon Williams and Jerry Yowell to serve as directors of the seminary’s development foundation.

— approved a preliminary strategic plan, which will be finalized and presented to the board for adoption at its fall meeting.

— approved a slight change in the spending plan of the seminary’s endowment policy.

    About the Author

  • David Porter