by Jason Hall
WAKE FOREST, N.C. – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin announced Dec. 12 that Bruce R. Ashford will be the new dean of The College at Southeastern, the school’s undergraduate program.
Ashford will assume his new role on January 1, 2009.
“Bruce Ashford is a gifted theologian and apologist with the heart of a missionary and evangelist,” Akin said. “He will bring passion and excitement to his assignment as the dean of The College at Southeastern.”
Ashford is currently the holder of the Richard and Gina Headrick Chair of World Missions at Southeastern and director of the seminary’s Louis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He has been teaching philosophy and intercultural studies at Southeastern since 2003, when he graduated from Southeastern with a doctor of philosophy degree.
Ashford also spent several years on the mission field before coming to serve at Southeastern.
“I could not be happier about working with the faculty and students at The College at Southeastern,” Ashford said. “The college is, and will continue to be, a first-rate college providing students with training in theological studies and the liberal arts.”
Southeastern’s academic vice president and dean of the faculty David Nelson said, “Dr. Ashford is a brilliant scholar, and excellent classroom teacher, and he has a natural ability to communicate with students. I am delighted that he is willing to serve our college in this way.”
Ashford will be taking over the dean’s job from Peter Schemm, who has served as the school’s dean for the past three years. Schemm will be stepping over to a role he occupied before becoming dean, teaching theology at the graduate level for Southeastern.
Southeastern started its undergraduate school in 1994, and the college has grown to nearly 500 students. The school changed its name and curriculum last year, adding emphases in pastoral ministry and missions that reflect Southeastern’s overall commitment to Great Commission education.
“We are building a Great Commission college, one that recognizes that we are to live in an intentionally Christian manner in all of life’s various callings—not only in our families and churches, but also in the workplace and community,” Ashford said, describing his vision for the college. “The gospel’s relevance is not limited to the four walls of a church building, but extends to every intellectual and social endeavor of mankind, and it is for this reason that we educate our students not only in theology, but also in the arts, the sciences, and the public square.”
Akin also announced that Brent Aucoin will be stepping in as the college’s new associate dean. Aucoin, an associate professor of history, has been at Southeastern since 2004.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the associate dean for the College at Southeastern,” Aucoin said. “I see it as a chance to contribute even more to an institution that I love and firmly believe in. The college provides a much-needed approach to undergraduate education: one that it both academically rigorous and thoroughly Christian.”
Nelson said, “I am so pleased with our new administrative team in our college. We have had excellent leadership in the past, and I have great confidence in the leadership of Drs. Ashford and Aucoin for the future.”
The mission of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Southeastern is an institution of higher learning and a Cooperate Program ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention.