T. Patrick Hudson/MBTS
KANSAS CITY – Faculty elections and re-elections, the announcement of new library leadership, and SBC referral responses highlighted Midwestern Seminary’s Board of Trustees fall meeting on Oct. 20.
During their day-long meeting, trustees received reports from President Jason Allen and acted on committee recommendations.
In his President’s report, Allen informed the board that the school’s enrollment for Fall Semester was at an all-time high.
“In today’s challenging environment for higher education, it is not lost on me that a seminary president rarely has the opportunity to announce an increase in enrollment, much less such a significant influx of new students,” Allen said. “In reflecting on the way God has moved so mightily over this past year, it brings great encouragement to me and to the Midwestern Seminary community to announce an enrollment surge of 19-percent for the Fall 2014 Semester.”
Allen added that year-to-date hours-sold (as of Oct. 16) is up nearly 16-percent, and the total fall enrollment number is 1,427 against 1,197 in fall of 2013.
The president, who celebrated his second anniversary at Midwestern Seminary on Oct. 15, also expressed to the board that, “The most important thing a Board of Trustees can undertake, short of electing a president, is to hire faculty members.”
Following interviews with and recommendations from the Academic Development Committee, the full board unanimously voted to elect five new faculty members and to re-elect two existing faculty members to three-year contracts.
Newly elected faculty members include Jason Duesing as provost and associate professor of Historical Theology; Christian George, curator of the Spurgeon Library and assistant professor of Historical Theology; Matthew Swain as assistant professor of Church Music; David Sundeen as director of Online Education and assistant professor of Ministry and Evangelism; and Sung Jin Park as dean of Korean Studies and assistant professor of Biblical Studies.
David McAlpin, associate professor of Biblical Interpretation, and Radu Gheorghita, director of the Romanian Doctoral Program and associate professor of Biblical Studies, were both unanimously re-elected. McAlpin has served at Midwestern Seminary in administration and teaching roles since 2008, and Gheorghita has been on the faculty since 2001.
“It brings me great joy that each of these men have been elected and re-elected to the faculty by our trustees,” Allen said. “The Lord has led each of them to Midwestern Seminary ‘for such a time as this,’ and they bring a wealth of scholarship and ministry experience that not only supplements our strong faculty but will benefit the learning experience for the next generation of pastors and ministry leaders for the church.
“I am particularly proud to introduce Dr. Jason Duesing as our provost,” Allen continued. “He is well known throughout Southern Baptist life – and the broader evangelical world – as a man with sterling character, as an accomplished theologian and church historian, and as one deeply committed to the local church and the Great Commission. Moreover, he rightly understands the role of theological education is to serve to the local church.” Allen added that this move solidifies the oversight of the academic division and positions the seminary well for the future.
In other Academic Division announcements, Allen noted that Mrs. Kennette Harder had been appointed by Midwestern Seminary to serve as director of Library Services and associate professor of Library and Information Sciences. Harder will transition to Midwestern Seminary from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, where she has served as Acquisitions/Collection Development Librarian since 2009.
Additionally, Dr. Matthew Millsap was appointed assistant director of Library Services and assistant professor of Christian Studies. Millsap is a recent Ph.D. in Systematic Theology graduate from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His thesis centered on the intersection of popular culture, technology, and theology, and where he taught adjunctively in the College at Southwestern.
Both Harder and Millsap are due to assume their duties and join the Midwestern Seminary community on Jan. 1, 2015.
On the topic of institutional gifts, Allen reported that in the fiscal year of Aug. 1, 2013, to July 31, 2014, the seminary totaled more money raised in that year than in all other years–1957 to 2012–combined.
In additional business, the trustee body unanimously approved the seminary’s response to two referrals from the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting on June 10-11 in Baltimore. The first referral requested “SBC Seminaries to Study Biblical Tithing.” The board approved the seminary’s response, which included that Midwestern Seminary’s professors teach in accordance to the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. As such, since biblical stewardship is a recurring theme throughout one’s seminary experience, students are encouraged to practice, model, and teach on biblical stewardship in their respective ministries.
The second referral requested “Reduced Fees for Online Seminary Courses.” The board approved the response, which included that, with full awareness of the many financial challenges our students and our churches face, Midwestern Seminary seeks to provide theological education as inexpensively as feasible. While this institution is already one of the least expensive of the SBC seminaries, the administration will continue to monitor all pricing structures, including online courses, and seek ways to make first-class theological education as affordable as possible.
Midwestern Seminary’s Board of Trustees consists of 34 members and meets biannually in October and April.