BOLIVAR (SBU) — After presenting Peer Assessment Committee findings to Southwest Baptist University’s full Board of Trustees on Oct. 22, the Executive Committee released its Executive Summary.
The Peer Assessment Committee, chaired by Dr. David Dockery, chancellor of Trinity International University, conducted an external review of SBU’s integration of faith, learning and orthodoxy. In particular, the committee evaluated the key elements of Baptist distinctiveness that inform SBU’s identity as a Missouri Baptist institution.
“This is a long-awaited report, and the executive summary is very clear,” Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Director John Yeats told The Pathway. “I am proud of the SBU board and administration for taking the beginning steps to implement the findings of this report. Let us remember that a long-term actualization is required to implement this peer review assessment by David Dockery and his commission.”
Since receiving the report in July, progress has been made toward implementing the recommendations presented in the report. Progress that already has been made includes:
- Statement of Faith work group — Mark Rains, SBU trustee chairman, appointed a work group to examine and revise SBU’s Statement of Faith to reflect 21st-Century evangelicals and also protect the University’s Baptist identity. Work group members are Ryan Palmer, Board of Trustees vice chairman; Dr. Bing Bayer, professor of Biblical studies and Hebrew; Dr. Todd Decker, trustee; Donna Neil, trustee; Dr. Eddie Bumpers, trustee; a representative from Faculty Senate; and Dr. Eric Turner, SBU president, as ex-officio. The committee is planning to present an update at the board’s April meeting.
- Redford dean search — After Dr. Rodney Reeves, former dean of the Redford College, submitted his resignation in early August, SBU began a nationwide search to fill the vacant position.
- Filling vacant faculty position — SBU has hired Dr. Matt Kimbrough, a 2008 SBU graduate, as an Assistant Professor of Theology, filling a vacancy in the Redford College faculty. Kimbrough is a 2008 SBU graduate with a degree in Biblical Studies with a concentration in New Testament and previously has served as an adjunct professor for SBU.
- Curriculum updates — Curriculum review and changes are in progress for degrees offered within The Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry.
- New employee interviews — President Turner has implemented a new policy to require his interviewing of every prospective employee. This policy change ensures all new employees align with the University’s Christ-centered mission.
“This work is just the beginning,” said SBU President Dr. Eric A. Turner. “We have additional initiatives related to the report that are still pending. You will continue to see evidence in the months ahead of how this external review is guiding us to build a stronger foundation for SBU.”
The report’s conclusion includes, “The challenges facing SBU in recent months are best viewed as an opportunity from the Lord to clarify and solidify the theological identity and denominational commitments of the school. The committee encourages the SBU community to take the next steps to strengthen the university’s mission, Baptist identity, and doctrinal commitments in order to enhance distinctive Christian higher education at SBU in the years ahead.”
A complete copy of the Executive Summary is available for download at https://www.SBUniv.edu/_resources/documents/pac-executive-summary.pdf.