Trustees of Southern Baptists’ six theological seminaries, in their fall 2020 meetings, conducted business, celebrated victories, and focused on the future, amid current ongoing challenges in the nation and world.
New Orleans Seminary
In their fall 2020 meeting, trustees of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary approved three initiatives, elected a faculty member, affirmed changes to the seminary’s doctor of ministry program and approved a partnership agreement with the North American Mission Board.
The board approved three initiatives – a revised five-year BA+MDiv program, dual enrollment and credit by examination – designed to enhance Leavell College’s efforts to serve traditional college-aged students and potential students. The board also elected scholar and theologian Tyler R. Wittman to the seminary’s faculty as assistant professor of theology. Trustees approved revisions to the doctor of ministry program to align with new standards released by the school’s accrediting body.
In the seminary’s partnership agreement with NAMB, a church planting center will be established on the NOBTS campus, boosting church planting and mission efforts not only in New Orleans but throughout North America.
Gateway Seminary’s board of trustees approved a revised budget of $12 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year during its fall 2020 meeting. This approved budget is a return to the original proposed budget developed before COVID-19. “The seminary is healthy despite all of the external circumstances we are encountering – a global pandemic, social unrest, and economic challenges,” said Gateway President Jeff Iorg.
In other business, trustees approved a bylaw revision to create an investment subcommittee to oversee the seminary’s expanding portfolio. Additionally, trustees approved revisions to standard faculty contracts and arbitration agreements to bring them into accordance with current California law. They also adopted the financial audit report prepared by CapinCrouse.
Iorg announced that Don Dent has agreed to serve as interim director of the Kim School of Global Missions. Dent will temporarily assume leadership of the Kim School because of the sudden death of previous director Lisa Hoff on Sept. 21.
The board of trustees of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary unanimously voted in its fall 2020 meeting not to remove the names of the school’s founders, many of them slaveholders, from several campus buildings, while at the same vacating an endowed chair named after an especially controversial 19th-century benefactor and providing up to $5 million in scholarships for African American students over the next few years.
Trustees also received reports from the seminary’s audit committee and financial board, approved several faculty sabbaticals and approved the direction of the school’s upcoming quality enhancement plan.
The board of trustees of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary elected Keith Whitfield as provost, approved three endowment accounts, and elected two interim board members in its fall 2020 meeting.
The board also approved the engagement of architects to update the campus facilities master plan, to be presented in spring 2021, and approved a few academic revisions/refinements.
SEBTS President Daniel Akin reported record enrollment numbers for both the 2019-20 academic year and the current fall semester. He also reported that SEBTS has reached 59.2% of its $20.5 million “For the Mission” financial goal.
The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary board of trustees heard strong enrollment and financial reports, elected two scholars to the institution’s faculty, approved a new degree program, and affirmed recent legal steps of the school during its fall 2020 meeting.
Trustees learned that 594 new students enrolled for the fall 2020 semester, an increase of 29% over the fall of 2019, and that revenue increased 14.9% during the 2019-20 fiscal year.
The board affirmed recommendations from its Committee for Academic Administration in electing two faculty members, approving a new master of divinity in worship leadership degree, and renewing presidential appointments for two other faculty members.
Additionally, trustees voted without opposition to affirm the September action of its officers in joining with Baylor University to file a lawsuit against the Harold E. Riley Foundation, which was originally established to benefit the schools.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s fall 2020 trustee meeting focused on gratitude for enrollment gains amid difficult circumstances as well as celebration of faculty elections and reelections.
MBTS President Jason Allen reported that over the past academic year, the seminary enrolled 4,374 students, compared to 4,000 for the 2018-19 academic year.
Trustee business included a review of the seminary’s financial position, endowment performance and organizational structure as well as the election of four professors to the faculty, the re-election of two professors and approval of an updated conflict of interest policy.
Share with others: