The Criswell College board of trustees gathered on campus for their biannual meeting April 25 to conduct college business and hear a report from president Barry Creamer on the status of the school.
Creamer updated the board regarding the college’s Home is Here 2020 initiative, an expansive plan to create a Distinctive Program Model that will utilize high-impact educational practices, along with a common student experience, to engage students in a unique learning community.
Along with the presentation of the Home is Here 2020 initiative, Creamer gave the trustees an expansive presentation regarding the college’s core values, academic preparations, and admissions strategy, as well as plans from the steering committee regarding distinctions of Criswell graduates.
“One of the first steps in the process for us was to refine our core values,” Creamer said. “What that means is, we want to be crystal clear when we’re speaking to ourselves and other people, about the things that make Criswell College what it is. They were true of us historically, and they are true of us today.”
As Creamer explained, the core values identified by the college are comprised of doctrinal integrity, service experience, academic engagement, and cultural influence.
Pursuit of the Distinctive Program Model has progressed alongside plans for the college’s first on-campus residence hall, scheduled to break ground this summer and open in time for students who will begin in the Fall of 2020.
During lunch the trustees were joined by the Criswell Ambassadors, a group of students with character and leadership qualities who are chosen to represent the college on behalf of the President’s Office and Advancement division.
Southern Baptists of Texas Executive Director Jim Richards addressed the trustees as a representative of the SBTC, one of Criswell’s two affiliate organization. Richards shared with the group the history of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Conservative Resurgence and mentioned the role played by both the college as well as its founder, W.A. Criswell, in helping to steer the convention toward a more conservative commitment to Scripture.
The trustees unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Christopher A. Graham as the college’s new Vice President of Academic Affairs, effective May 1.
Prior to accepting this position, Graham served at Criswell as Associate Professor of Theology and Program Director for both the Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies.
“Based on my discussions with Dr. Creamer and the thoughtful prayer and counsel with my wife and close advisors, I am happy to accept the position,” Graham said in an email.
“[My wife] Jill and I are looking forward to our continued service to the college’s community,” Graham continued. “I look forward to serving as the interface between the executive cabinet and the faculty and staff within Academic Affairs as we all strive to effectively and worthily fulfill our calling in the lives of individuals who God directs here.”
Graham brings an interesting and unique background to the role. He holds the Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy as well as the Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy from Dallas Theological Seminary.
“I could not be more excited at the trustees’ approval of Christopher Graham to lead our Academic Affairs division,” Creamer said. “We undertook an extensive search process and spoke to two dozen potential candidates. At the end of that lengthy endeavor, we are glad to announce that the candidate God had for us was already here and will take his knowledge of and love for Criswell College into this new role.”
Earlier this year, Creamer tapped Joseph D. Wooddell to fill the vacant Vice President of Advancement position. Wooddell, who had served as Vice President of Academic Affairs since 2014, has been in the new position since January.
In other board business, the trustees unanimously approved the promotion of Dr. Brandon Seitzler to Associate Professor of Politics and Economics and they also recognized and approved proposed graduates for commencement later this month.