Faculty celebrates successes, prepares for fall semester

While Southeastern’s methods may have changed, the mission has not. In the midst of unanticipated challenges due to the coronavirus, Southeastern faculty gathered together to celebrate how the Lord is continuing to work through the institution.

During this year’s Aug. 13 workshop, President Danny Akin encouraged the faculty to stay committed to Christ and Southeastern’s mission to equip students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission. He also thanked them for their flexibility and Christlike spirit over the spring and summer months. 

“Let Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern model well for our churches, our students and our convention, how a disciple of Jesus Christ walks in a time of chaos. Remind them that our God is in control. Remind them that we will be just fine.” 

President Akin along with acting provost Keith Whitfield, presided over the the signing ceremonies for Kristen Kellen, assistant professor of biblical counseling. Kellen signed the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, following her election to the faculty in the spring, and further symbolizing her agreement to Southeastern’s convictional statements. 

“We believe that God, in his perfect timing, has sent [Dr. Kellen] to us, uniquely equipped to meet a need in the life of this institution,” said Whitfield. 

Whitfield also took time to recognize four faculty members who received promotions in the spring: Dwayne Milioni, who was promoted to associate professor of preaching; Matt Mullins, who was promoted to associate professor of English and History of Ideas; Stephen Eccher, who was promoted to associate professor of church history and studies; and Steven Wade, who was promoted to professor of pastoral theology. 

Karen Swallow Prior shared with faculty members how the Lord wedded her love for literature and the Christian faith. Early in life, Prior didn’t see herself teaching nor could she see how faith and fiction were intertwined, that is, until she was in her Ph.D. program at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her unbelieving professor encouraged her to defend her faith and through that experience, she gained insight into her Christian heritage, helping her see how her mind and soul could be connected. 

As Prior entered into Southern Baptist life, she encountered people who were “learned but lighthearted, who were convicted but kind.” More often than not, she recalled, those same people were graduates of Southeastern. This fall, Prior will join Southeastern’s faculty as research professor of English and Christianity & culture. 

Ryan Hutchinson, executive vice president of operations, informed faculty on the effects COVID-19 has had to institutional operations in the spring and how it will affect the school moving into the fall.  

“We’re not looking to just survive the fall; we’re looking to move forward,” said Hutchinson, who noted that Southeastern finished the year at 5,292 students and is doing financially well going into the fall semester. As students come back to campus, socially distancing and masks will be required in the classroom, classrooms will be regularly sanitized and professors will be expected to record their lectures for students who cannot attend an in-person class throughout the semester. 

As a new school year begins, Southeastern faculty and staff are committed to making sure that every classroom remains a Great Commission while keeping students safe. Click here for more information regarding Southeastern’s response to COVID-19 this fall.


Faculty Workshop - Fall 2020

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