Trustees approve budget, distinguished status for 40-year professor

Tammi Reed Ledbetter — April 25, 2016
Trustees unanimously approved Dr. Roy Metts’ promotion to distinguished professor this month.

DALLAS—Criswell College trustees meeting on April 7 promoted H. Leroy Metts to distinguished professor status a week before the New Testament and Greek scholar was honored at a special chapel service recognizing his 40-year tenure at the school.

Metts joined the faculty in 1976, and has since taught 20 different courses. Twice named Professor of the Year, Metts received an honorary doctorate from Criswell College in 2009 and was the first recipient of the Metts Language Award that is presented annually.

Energized by a financially healthy forecast without any current debt, the board unanimously approved a $6.6 million budget representing an 8 percent increase over last year. Department initiatives in development, communications, and student services, along with security expenditures and employee benefits, account for the increase.

“We are not struggling to survive,” President Barry Creamer stated as he reflected on the school’s improved outlook. “We are focused on accomplishing our vision.”

Speaking to long-range goals, he told trustees, “The goal is 1,500 students in 25 years—so whatever it takes to build the infrastructure and the quality of program so that we are consistently growing, deliberately, to get there—that’s what we’re going to do year after year until we get there.”

After a period of discussion, trustees voted to raise tuition from $315 to $345 per credit hour for undergraduate courses and $415 to $455 for graduate courses. Among both peer institutions and those that serve as models for Criswell College’s future, the school remains in the top 10 percent in affordability, a status administration expects to retain in the years ahead.

Administrators also pledged to rely more heavily on endowing ministerial scholarships in the future.

“We’re going to be able to find donors who are more ready to jump in and fund ministry students than anybody else,” Creamer said.

School officials were given authorization to execute documents to amend the “separation and contribution agreement” entered into with First Baptist Church of Dallas, authorizing the sale of several stations through First Dallas Media. Sales will facilitate expanded coverage of KCBI-FM’s reach to the Denton and McKinney markets.

Trustee Curtis Baker of Lindale, Texas, sought assurances that the school’s interests were being protected. Stilley said there would be no compromise of the school’s position, and Creamer told board members he would pass the final agreement by them before it is ratified by the Criswell Foundation.

In other business, the board approved graduates for the May 14 commencement, updated policies on conflict of interest and presidential assessment, approved the first reading of policies related to acceptance of gifts and investments and endorsed the Long Range Planning Committee’s strategic plan of institutional goals and department outcomes.

The mission of Criswell College is to provide ministerial and professional higher education for men and women preparing to serve as Christian leaders throughout society, while maintaining an institutional commitment to biblical inerrancy.

With a current enrollment of 316 students, the board anticipates eventual development of a residential campus, remaining in the urban area of East Dallas. Plans call for a variety of academic programs with theological studies remaining as the core, equipping students “to influence culture through leadership in church, government, business, media, and education.”

Trustees have embraced Creamer’s commitment to building the school’s financial strength through “expanded endowments supplemented by student tuition, an active donor community, and growing capital assets.” During the president’s report, trustees learned of the ethnic diversity of the school with 54 percent Caucasian, 24 percent African American, 11 percent Hispanic and Latino; 4 percent Asian, 1 percent American Indian or Alaskan Native and 6 percent unreported.