Southeastern academic dean resigns
January 19, 2017
by Jason Hall
David Nelson, dean of the faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, announced his resignation Feb. 3, citing health reasons as his primary concern.
Nelson, who also held the title of senior vice president of academic administration, has served on the faculty at Southeastern for more than a decade. He had served in the dean’s role for the past four years.
“Dr. Nelson’s resignation is a great loss to me personally,” said Southeastern president Daniel Akin. “His contributions to Southeastern on so many levels are immeasurable. We share a close and blessed friendship and a like-mindedness that is truly a gift from the Lord.”
In explaining his resignation in an e-mail to the Southeastern family, Nelson said health concerns have cropped up in the past 18 months that have caused him to consider the move. Nelson did not discuss specifics of those concerns.
“None of these are life-threatening in any way, but they do cause me to consider quality of life, and the relationship of my job to my health,” Nelson said. “So, I have concluded that relief from responsibilities at Southeastern will help me to address these issues directly.”
Nelson also noted that he would love to pursue academic ministry in a multi-disciplinary setting, such as a university. But he said he does not have any specific plans at this point.
Nelson’s tenure at Southeastern was marked by an emphasis on teaching that flowed into obedience to the Great Commission, as he coined the phrase, “every classroom a Great Commission classroom.” Under his leadership Southeastern developed close working relationships with Southern Baptist mission agencies and launched the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture.
Nelson will take a spring sabbatical to complete several book projects he has been working on. Ken Keathley, dean of graduate studies, will serve as interim senior vice president and dean of the faculty until Akin has completed a search for a new dean.
“I am confident God will continue to use David greatly for His glory and the good of the nations,” Akin said. “He will have my prayers and support in whatever he does in service to our Lord.”