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Joseph D. Wooddell Elected as Criswell College’s Vice President of Academic Affairs

Brandon Smith

DALLAS - At the October meeting of the Board of Trustees, the board of Criswell College elected Dr. Joseph D. Wooddell as Vice President for Academic Affairs. He was appointed by President Barry Creamer on July 16, 2014 after serving as a professor at the college since 2004.

Dr. Wooddell was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Three days after graduating high school he began active duty in the U.S. Army, serving as a Chinook helicopter hydraulics mechanic at Ft. Carson, Colorado Springs. While he was raised in a Christian home, he received Christ as his personal Lord and Savior at Heart of the Springs Church during his military service, at which time God also called him to vocational ministry. At this Southern Baptist church he also subsequently was licensed and ordained to the gospel ministry.

After three years in the Army he attended Liberty University, completing a B.S. in Music, then moving on to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he completed the Master of Divinity degree. During seminary he met his future wife, Julie, while serving as minister of music at a Southern Baptist church now known as Lakeview Fellowship. Julie had grown up in Texas, attended Texas Tech University on a track scholarship, and earned a B.A. in Political Science. Upon graduating from Southwestern, Joe moved back to Colorado to serve as minister of discipleship and Julie moved to Regent University in Virginia to pursue an M.A. in Public Policy. While separated by distance, they corresponded, visited, and got engaged, finally moving back to Fort Worth, Texas so Joe could begin Ph.D. work in Philosophy of Religion at Southwestern Seminary.

In 1998, Joe and Julie were married and he began his doctoral studies, while serving as resident director at Texas Wesleyan University. A year later he began serving as Student Minister back at Lakeview Fellowship, and God blessed them with two sons, Samuel and Micah. After three years as student minister, God began opening doors in academia. In 2002 Joe resigned his church position, subsequently teaching adjunct at Southwestern, Weatherford College, Tarleton State University, Tarrant County College, and Criswell College. In 2004, he was elected to the Criswell College faculty to teach philosophy full time. In 2007, Joe and Julie were blessed with their third child, Abigail, via adoption from China.

While at Criswell in addition to teaching Joe has published books, journal articles, and book reviews, and has presented papers at scholarly meetings nearly every year. He is sole author of The Beauty of the Faith: Using Aesthetics for Christian Apologetics and is coeditor of and contributor to The Baptist Faith and Message 2000: Critical Issues in America’s Largest Protestant Denomination. On sabbatical during the 2011-2012 academic year he began work on an M.A. in Political Science at the University of Texas at Arlington, and completed the degree in 2013.

As a faculty member, prior to becoming Vice President for Academic Affairs, he served the college in various capacities, including academic cabinet, curriculum revision and expansion committees, student life committee, helping to edit the college catalog and faculty handbook, and contributing to the college blog and radio show “For Christ and Culture.” He was also the founding director of the Criswell Institute for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and the Criswell College PPE degree program.

He has led four student trips to China, and two domestic travel courses. He has served as interim/transitional pastor at four Texas churches, and has filled the pulpit at many others around the state. When he is not serving as interim, he is an active member of First Baptist Church, Keller, Texas, where he has helped teach adult Sunday school, served as invitation counselor, assisted with the student ministry, and taught at the church’s annual conference.

In addition to spending time with family and friends, Joe enjoys reading, running, biking, hiking, and especially traveling to new and beautiful places with Julie or the entire family.

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Brandon Smith is Director of Communications at Criswell College

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