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OBU Trustees Approve Faculty Contracts and Senior Faculty Status

March 7, 2020

The Oklahoma Baptist University Board of Trustees gathered for the spring semester meeting Friday, March 6, on the OBU campus in Shawnee. Trustees approved recommendations for senior faculty status and faculty contracts for 2020-21.

In his first report to the board as the University’s 16th president, Dr. Heath Thomas explained the vital importance of a Christian liberal arts education.

“Distinctively Christian liberal arts universities, like OBU, are created to provide education with a soul,” he said. “OBU transforms lives by equipping students to live under the lordship of King Jesus, to discover what is of ultimate value – to know and love and serve Him. In relation to Him, the liberal arts helps us think and communicate as Christians with the skills and dispositions to engage our world well. We equip students with values and skills necessary to understand what is most important in life, to become excellent workers, companions, and friends. We equip students to think across disciplines, through problems, and engage their world for God and for good.”

The trustees heard committee reports from each board committee chair and acted on three recommendations.

Trustee meeting dates for 2021 were approved following a recommendation from the executive committee chaired by Dr. Jeff Moore, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Altus. They are March 4-5, 2021; May 6-7, 2021; and Nov. 4-5, 2021.

From the academic services committee chaired by Dr. Eric Costanzo, senior pastor, South Tulsa Baptist Church, the Board of Trustees approved the recommendation for senior faculty status for Dr. Matthew Arbo, Jewell and Joe L. Huitt Professor of Religious Education and assistant professor of biblical and theological studies; Dr. Alan Noble, assistant professor of English; Megan Smith, DNP, assistant professor of nursing-pediatrics; Dr. Lakshmi Viswanath, assistant professor of chemistry; and Dr. Kellie Young, assistant professor of education. Recommendations are based on a vote from the senior faculty advisory and evaluations of the faculty members by an academic unit advisory and the academic deans advisory in the areas of teaching effectiveness, professional development, service to the university, and Christian commitment and service as defined in the faculty handbook.

Full-time faculty contracts for 105 faculty members were approved for the 2020-21 academic year following a recommendation from the academic services committee.

Dr. Jeff Moore, chair of OBU’s board of trustees, moderated the board’s plenary session.

New Board of Trustee members completed orientation on campus the previous day. Trustees beginning new three-year terms were Nick Atyia, Seminole; Ryan Aldrich, Shawnee; Ron Davis, Muskogee; Michael Gabbert, Bixby; Corey Holland, Marlow; Caleb Scott, Pauls Valley; Ben Stewart, Newcastle; AJ Tiger, Henryetta; Craig Towery, Sentinel; and Will Wilson, Bethel. Les Miller, Oklahoma City, began a new two-year term.