SBU Trustees reconsider tenure and promotion, appoint Johnson as Interim President

BOLIVAR, MO – The Board of Trustees of Southwest Baptist University met Tuesday, Feb. 16, in a called meeting to reconsider matters related to promotion and tenure for eligible faculty members and to discuss the presidential search. The Board is releasing the following statement:

Given the concerns expressed by students, faculty, and alumni, we would like to address the process of tenure and promotion in 2021.

We, as the SBU Board of Trustees, care deeply about the concerns of students, faculty, staff, administration, and every Missouri Baptist who faithfully supports the mission of SBU.

As is the normal process of promotion and tenure for faculty at SBU, the Educational Policies and Personnel (EPP) Committee reviewed promotion and tenure candidates and made recommendations to the full Board. In this process, the committee gave thoughtful and prayerful consideration to the eight tenure and four promotion candidates presented at the meeting on Jan. 12.

During two meetings, Jan. 12 and Feb. 16, the committee interviewed several tenure candidates, deliberated on all candidates, and recommended the majority of faculty for promotion or tenure.

Today, the full Board met to reconsider the process and outcome of this year's tenure and promotion decisions. With recommendations from the Acting President and Provost, the full Board is ultimately pleased to award tenure to six faculty and promotions to three faculty. We are thankful for all of the work of the faculty and administration that went into this process. We are also grateful for the students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and friends who care deeply for Southwest Baptist University. The Board understands the weight of these decisions and wants to clarify that every employee is a valued person, and even those with whom there may be disagreement, we hold in high esteem.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees will be extending an invite to a Faculty Senate delegation to meet and discuss faculty concerns and work toward a sincere spirit of unity. We know in Christ that this is both a worthy goal and an attainable one. Let us all commit to pray for the success of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the valuable Kingdom work of Southwest Baptist University.

As a Board, we also voted to elect Dr. Brad Johnson as Interim President. We are thankful for his faithful service in the Acting President's role and look forward to his continued leadership as Interim President.

A Presidential Search Committee has been formed. Alumnus and trustee Rev. David Brown, Lead Pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Lebanon, MO, has been named chair of this committee. We will be seeking input in this process from faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members later this semester.

As the Board of Trustees for Southwest Baptist University, we are excited about the future course set before SBU; we believe that the University is poised to be a leader in higher education with a Biblical worldview. SBU is committed to providing every student who passes through her doors an exceptional education. In addition, SBU has the great privilege and honor to prepare every student for a life committed to the Kingdom of God and boldly proclaiming the truth of God's word.

*Published: 2-16-2021