BOLIVAR (SBU) – The Peer Assessment Committee at Southwest Baptist University chaired by Dr. David Dockery began its work during a Bolivar campus visit Feb. 28-March 1. The committee visited with trustees, administrators, academic leaders, faculty and staff, including extensive conversations with faculty in The Courts Redford College of Theology and Ministry.
“From our standpoint, the visit went extremely well,” Dockery said. “We had engaging conversations with individuals representing all aspects of the institution. We attempted to listen well and learned a lot about the history and heritage of SBU that will inform our recommendations for the future.”
The committee’s visit began with a forum for all employees, during which Dockery presented “A Theological Framework for Christian Higher Education.”
“At SBU there is a growing academic reputation with expanding academic offerings, something that we celebrate and something for which we are genuinely grateful,” Dockery said. “At SBU can be found markers of both piety and Christian activism. … A theology for Christian higher education will have scripture as its foundation, Christ as its center, the church as its focus and the influencing of society and culture as a key element of its vision.”
Dockery acknowledged the many challenges facing Christian higher education but also offered hope for the future.
“May God renew the work and mission of SBU as you seek to develop a theological framework for these shared efforts, even as we pray for all involved in this significant enterprise,” he said. “Doing so will not address all or even many of the manifold challenges currently facing Christian higher education, but we believe it will indeed help to restore and strengthen the soul of our colleges and universities.”
Dockery said the committee’s work will continue during the months ahead with another campus visit before May graduation. It is anticipated that an executive summary of the committee’s work will be released sometime this summer.
SBU President Dr. Eric A. Turner launched a strategic planning process during the Fall 2018 semester with plans to initiate conversations specifically about faith, learning and orthodoxy during the Fall 2019 semester. However, with approval of the University’s board of trustees duly elected by Missouri Baptists, the timeline was moved forward after determining that this particular conversation needed to happen sooner.
The Committee’s assessment is an integral process to better articulate the University’s mission and to effectively provide a Christian higher education while remaining loyal to the University’s Baptist heritage. The result will be an SBU that is even more firmly grounded in the core values that have defined the University since its inception in 1878.