NGU employee since:
June 1, 2018
My job at NGU is?
I serve as Provost and Dean of the University Faculty. This
means I am the university’s chief academic officer. I have oversight over all
of our academic programs and supervise our faculty and other academic staff.
Currently I’m working on
refining our academic policies and procedures in light of the reorganization we undertook over the past several months. I’m also working on a number of projects related to our reaffirmation efforts with SACSCOC. I live a charmed life.
I'm currently reading two books:
Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction and Nicholas Wolsterstorff, Educating for Shalom: Essays on Christian Higher Education. I’m also reading through Proverbs right now during my morning devotionals.
I get most excited about my work when
I’m able to equip and empower faculty members to better do their job. I love it when I get to say “yes” to a great idea by a dean or professor and provide them with resources to move forward.
When I tell people I work for NGU
they often say that they have heard of the school, but don’t know much about us. This gives me the opportunity to tell the NGU story to someone new.
What makes what I do at NGU the greatest job in the world is
working with faculty and staff who love the Lord, love students, and are committed to meaningfully investing in students both inside and outside the classroom. The new Chick-fil-A is a close second.
I always smile when
faculty or students notice for the first time that I have lots of Star Wars stuff in my office, including a LEGO TIE fighter and X-wing fighter. I give you permission to be envious.
The best advice I’ve ever received about teaching is
to be honest with students when I don’t know the answer to a question they are asking. I need to be humble enough to admit I don’t know everything, and that we are on this intellectual journey together.
My advice to incoming freshman is
to become meaningfully involved in a healthy local church before the end of your first semester. (Or remain meaningfully involved if you are from this area.) Attend worship every Sunday you are in town, seek out a mentor, give generously to the church (even if you don’t have much disposable income), and seek out ways to serve the body.
My advice to parents is
give your student some space so he or she can grow into a mature adult. Keep them accountable, but don’t hover. Tell them to text a couple of times a week, call every couple of weeks to check in, and don’t come home for a visit until Thanksgiving. Pray without ceasing for your student . . . but give them room to grow up. We’ll do our best to help them with that process.
My advice to graduating seniors is
to make an intentionally counter-cultural decision by choosing a job or graduate program based upon how best you can use your gifts and talents to glorify God and serve others, not based upon how you can make the most money. God forbid that the end result of a Christ-centered university education be merely a good job—whatever that means. Dream bigger.
The best-kept NGU secret is
the setting. Walking around campus and seeing the foothills all around us make it feel as much like a retreat as a university. The setting will lift your spirits as it testifies to the beauty of God’s creation.
My favorite NGU tradition is
the link ceremony for incoming students. What a meaningful way to begin your college education.
My favorite Crusader athlete is
Utah Jones. Baseball is my favorite sport, and every time I hear Utah announced over the loudspeaker, I smile because he has such a great name. Plus, he is a great player.
My most cherished memory at NGU
dates to twenty-one years before I came here to work. In June 1997, I repented of my sins and trusted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior while I was attending a Centrifuge camp at NGU. It was a few weeks after I had graduated from high school. I had no idea I’d work here one day.
On Saturday mornings you’ll find me
snuggling with my kids in bed for a few minutes right after they wake up. Bonus points if there is the opportunity to linger over breakfast and drink an extra cup of coffee that has been brewed with my French Press.
You'll never find me without
a fidget spinner in my pocket. In fact, if you watch me while I am speaking in public, I will sometimes put my right hand in my pocket to play with the fidget spinner. I also rock back and forth all the time and bounce my leg constantly while sitting. Don’t judge me.
The title of my autobiography would be
Who’d Have Thunk It? How a Recovering Youth Minister with Mediocre Grades became a Professional Academic
I’m most looking forward to
a vacation with my family at St. Simons Island in Georgia a couple of weeks after graduation. There will be a beach, books, and barbecue restaurants—all the essentials.
I'm secretly good at
reading academic papers at theology conferences. It’s a refined gift, only appreciated by a small number of doctrinally persnickety nerds.
I dream about one day
writing a book about what it means to be a distinctively Baptist university. I jot down ideas related to this theme all the time, and speak on the topic from time to time in various venues.
I wanted to be a
youth minister when I grew up. Then I served as a youth minister. Thank God for great youth ministers. Thank God I’m not a youth minister.
My favorite sayings are:
“We only ever drift in one direction: away from faithfulness” and “To quote my favorite theologian, Johnny Cash, sometimes you have to put on your cleanest dirty shirt.”
If they made a movie about my life, I’d be played by
Chris Hemsworth. I mean, we could practically be twins, right?