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TRUSTEES: SEBTS approves budget, faculty, curriculum changes

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) trustees approved the 2021-2022 budget to include a 2.36 percent increase from the previous year, approved faculty elections and promotions as well as several new curriculum additions and took other important measures at their April 12-13 meeting.

“I stand in amazement at God’s grace and kindness to our school,” President Danny Akin said. Akin told trustees that the number of SEBTS students has reached more than 5,600, making this the 13th consecutive year of record enrollment. Likewise, Southeastern’s four-year “For the Mission” campaign reached 65 percent of its goal with giving increasing this year.

In their April 13 plenary meeting, trustees unanimously elected Karen Swallow Prior and Julia Higgins to the faculty. Prior serves as research professor of English and Christianity and culture. Higgins serves as assistant professor of ministry to women as well as associate dean of graduate program administration to the faculty.

In addition, trustees approved several curriculum changes, including a new teacher education licensure track at The College at Southeastern, a graduate certificate in biblical counseling and a PhD in pastoral theology.

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Some of the most notable approved curriculum revisions included:

SEBTS trustees also voted to approve five new endowment funds. SEBTS received its largest single gift of $5 million to its endowment through the Charles B. Keesee Educational Fund. Two student aid funds were created through the Keesee fund – the Vernie W. Lewis Student Aid Fund and the Binkley-Keesee Student Aid Fund. The former fund will provide up to $5,000 in student aid annually to three female students with a GPA above 3.0. The latter will provide student aid to full-time students with a 2.5 GPA or higher.

Three other student aid funds were approved, including:

The following faculty sabbaticals were approved by trustees:

Board members promoted seven other faculty members:

Trustees also approved the Campus Facilities Master Plan. This plan includes several renovations and new building projects, including renovations to Bostwick Hall and the construction of a dining hall, campus center and landmark tower. SEBTS staff are currently engaging architects to complete construction drawings for Bostwick Hall to expand dorm space by 96 beds to support the growth of the college.

In addition, trustees voted on the construction a new pavilion in between Stealey Hall and the Library at Southeastern to provide a covered outdoor seating area. The pavilion will be dedicated to the memory of Ty Williams, who unexpectedly passed away on Nov. 12, 2020. Ty is the son of SEBTS Facilities Director Travis Williams, who has served at the school for more than two decades.

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Trustees also approved the nominations of new officers: Tim Dal, chairman; Brett Golson, vice chairman; Charles Cranford, treasurer; and Beth Wooten, secretary. Six members of the board of trustees will be rotating off, including Jason Allen, Richard Baker, Jeremy Freeman, Becky Gardner, Laura Small and Jerry Smith.

The next trustee meeting will be held on campus on Oct. 11-12.