Board meeting focuses on COVID-19 response, dorm construction, and approval of the strategic plan

Kendall Lyons | May 27, 2020

The April 2020 Board Meeting of the Criswell College Board of Trustees opened with Criswell College President Barry Creamer welcoming new members Joshua Crutchfield, Jim Henry, David Sherzer, Derek Stumfall, and Jared Wellman.

This year’s board of trustees meeting was held via Zoom video conferencing to maintain health and safety in response to the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“It was very encouraging to see trustees so actively engaged despite meeting remotely. Their questions and input were relevant and helpful, which is very important considering the paradigm-shifting commitments we have made this year,” Creamer said.

I believe our board members were encouraged to hear about our priorities and actions in light of the health and economic crises accompanying COVID-19. Colleges everywhere had to move quickly so students could finish courses for Spring 2020 off campus. We have been blessed to protect not only our students’ need to finish courses, but also to maintain academic quality by giving the faculty freedom to determine how students would finish their work, and to continue providing jobs for every single employee on campus, including students. The board’s priorities are reflected in our commitment to keep student welfare, the college’s mission, and our relationship with the community in sight at all times.”

Creamer continued the meeting with a discussion on what current and incoming students can expect during the summer and fall semester as it relates to the campus response to COVID-19. Creamer also addressed the board regarding the latest enrollment numbers and presented a sampling of digital ads that are currently running on Facebook and Google.

Board members were shown a live video walkthrough of the residence hall dorm construction led by Criswell Police Chief Brad Corder and Director of Communications Kendall Lyons.

“The board had taken dramatic steps to move the college forward long before we had any thoughts of a pandemic—not the least of which is constructing the college’s first residence hall. Although we would have loved walking them through the several floors already walled in, they responded enthusiastically to the virtual tour. They were able to see that construction—including the prospects associated with it—brings a lot of energy to campus,” Creamer said.

During the meeting, Creamer unveiled the proposed 2020-2025 Strategic Plan which included three goals that the faculty and staff will work to accomplish. The three goals in the strategic plan include providing a more engaging and supportive experience for students, growing enrollment while providing support and resources for sustainability, and developing and strengthening the college’s network of relationships. The first goal included five initiatives, goal two included four initiatives, and goal three included three initiatives. These initiatives cross all divisions and will allow the college, administrators, and departments to focus more intentionally on meeting the goals of the strategic plan. The proposed Strategic Plan was approved unanimously.

“After over a year of work reviewing our mission statement, vision, core values, and key goals with representatives of every constituency of the college, it was rewarding to receive insightful feedback and affirmation from trustees on those critical tools for orienting the college’s next five years,” Creamer added.

Also during the board meeting, trustees approved the 2021 budget as well as pay scale changes for faculty, and program changes that were necessary for alignment with the Common Student Experience, Criswell 360. Criswell 360 is the college’s newly developed student experience spanning four years that incorporates high-impact learning practices and personal guidance along the journey. This will translate into meaningful benefits and outcomes for traditional-age, college-bound students and their parents.

Board members approved the 2020 graduation candidates and received an inspirational testimony from a May graduate.