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New seminary deansees first day of work

Feb. 27, 2001

First task is to define Truett's goals, vision to Baptist community

By STEPHEN DOVE

Reporter

Dr. Paul W. Powell began his tenure as the third dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary Monday.

Powell, who was appointed to the position by President Robert B. Sloan Jr. on Jan. 17, spent his first day as dean meeting with the administrative staff of the seminary. Powell used the meetings to discuss the roles he and associate deans Dr. Michael Morgan and Dr. David Garland will serve in leading the seminary.

Powell said many of his new duties will be outside the office. He said these responsibilities will primarily focus on defining the vision and goals of Truett Seminary to Baptist leaders around Texas.

'The seminary, from the inside, has been going quite well,' Powell said. 'The teaching, curriculum and students have been very strong and have done very well. I think the greatest weakness we have at Truett is a failure to define ourselves to our constituency.'

Powell said he will seek to communicate Truett Seminary's identity to its Texas Baptist constituency by being personally involved in Texas Baptist life, writing a monthly letter to Texas pastors, and publishing a book each year to be given away at the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Powell's book for the 2001 meeting will be titled The Old Time Religion.

'The message we need to get out to people is that we are what Baptists have always been,' Powell said. 'We are Bible-believing and evangelical.'

Powell said defining the seminary is important because other groups have already tried to define it in negative ways.

Dr. Donald Schmeltekopf, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in addition to strengthening relationships between Truett Seminary and Texas Baptists, the administration is relying on Powell to build the seminary's financial base.

'We need to enhance our financial base for the seminary so we can grow,' Schmeltekopf said. 'We cannot grow beyond where we are now without additional support for the students to keep the level of tuition where it is now.'

Powell said raising money to fund student scholarships and to repay loans used to construct the new seminary building are priorities in his first year as dean. Powell said he has already raised about a quarter of a million dollars in new scholarship funds since being appointed dean.

Garland, a professor of Christian scriptures at Truett Seminary, also took office today as Truett's first associate dean for academic affairs.

Powell said he would rely on Garland heavily for leadership in the academic area of the seminary, including making decisions about faculty hires and tenure reviews.

Garland said one of his first tasks is to fill three new faculty positions at the seminary. Garland and Powell both said they hope to hire new professors in missions and theology as well as a director of the doctor of ministry program by the beginning of the fall 2001 semester.

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