During their spring meeting on the Shawnee campus May 10, the Oklahoma Baptist University Board of Trustees approved faculty promotions, authorized sabbatical leave and heard updates from the presidential search committee.

Chair of the presidential search committee Ben Stewart reported on the status of the search process saying the committee selected the firm of CarterBaldwin to assist in the search for OBU’s next president. Representatives from the firm were on campus Thursday and Friday to collect information from various constituent groups and to meet with the committee.

“After our meeting today, CarterBaldwin will assist us in the development of a profile for the next president of OBU,” Stewart said. “The profile will be disseminated widely in the coming weeks. Recommendations for candidates should be submitted to CarterBaldwin at that time.”

The board of trustees took action to approve professor emeritus status for Dr. Robbie Mullins, former Peitz Professor of Business, who taught at OBU from 1984 to 2015; and Dr. Roger Hadley, former Frank W. and Pauline G. Patterson Professor of Journalism, professor of telecommunications, director of telecommunications and chair for the Division of Communication Studies, who taught at OBU from 1985 to 2012.

Trustees also approved faculty promotions for Dr. Canaan Crane, from associate professor to professor of psychology; Dr. Daryl Green, from assistant professor to associate professor of business; Dr. Randy Ridenour, from associate professor to professor of philosophy; Dr. Cherith Tucker, from assistant professor to associate professor of mathematics; and Dr. Jonathan Wilson, from assistant to associate professor of psychology.

In his report to the Board of Trustees, OBU Interim President, Dr. C. Pat Taylor, said, “I am proud of the accomplishments of our faculty. We are a teaching university and our faculty are committed first to teaching our students. However, many of our faculty are involved in significant research.”

Dr. John Powell, OBU professor of history, was approved for a one semester sabbatical to serve as academic advisory, provide research and collaborate with archivists at Gladstone’s Library, the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, the British Library in London, and the Bodleian Library in Oxford, among others. This sabbatical will enable Powell to provide OBU students in his Western Civilization, Modern Britain and Modern Europe courses with more in-depth knowledge and sophisticated analysis of the causes of important religious and cultural changes occurring during the 19th century.

Dr. Taylor noted that although this is a presidential transition year, OBU has had a very successful fundraising year.

“As of April 30, OBU has received $6.5 million in total gifts this fiscal year,” he said. “This represents an increase of more than $500,000 over the last year and $300,000 over two years ago.”

James Wilder, chair of the advancement and university relations committee, recommended approval of a resolution to initiate a mini-capital campaign to raise funds to resurface the track and provide lights for the track and football field. The current track is 12 years old and has exceeded the recommended life of 10 years.

“When maintenance is deferred, the repairs can become much more expensive,” Dr. Taylor said. “If we do not replace the surface on the track soon, the base will begin to erode and a $250,000 project today can soon triple in cost.”

Trustees approved the recommendation which will now go to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Board of Directors for approval. The goal for the campaign is set at $750,000 and with appropriate approval and gifts from donors, officials hope the lights will be installed this summer and the track will be installed shortly after.

Stephen Allen, chair of OBU’s Board of Trustees, moderated the board’s plenary session. Allen is senior vice president, general counsel and assistant secretary at ONEOK.

For more information about OBU, visit www.okbu.edu.

With its campus located in Shawnee, OBU offers 10 bachelor’s degrees with 88 fields of study and five master’s degree programs. The Christian liberal arts university has an overall enrollment of 2,011, with students from 37 states and 40 other countries. OBU has been rated as one of the top 10 regional colleges in the West by U.S. News and World Report for 27 consecutive years and has been Oklahoma’s highest rated regional college in the U.S. News rankings for 25 consecutive years. OBU is one of three universities in Oklahoma and the only private Oklahoma university listed on Great Value College’s rankings of 50 Great Affordable Colleges in the Midwest. The Wall Street Journal ranks OBU second in the nation for student engagement among all U.S. colleges and universities. Forbes.com consistently ranks OBU as a top university in Oklahoma and the Princeton Review has named OBU one of the best colleges and universities in the western United States for 14 consecutive years.