Midwestern Seminary announces organizational structure changes

Posted January 30, 2020 by T. Patrick Hudson

Noting the growing administrative needs in Academic Services and overall growth at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College, President Jason Allen announced changes in the school’s organizational structure that will provide “greater administrative effectiveness, overall balance, and continued organizational health.”

In doing so, Allen named Thor Madsen as dean of doctoral studies and academic initiatives, Rodney Harrison to the position of dean, academic strategy and institutional effectiveness, and John Mark Yeats’ title changed to dean of students and student success.

“At Midwestern Seminary, we are continuously evaluating our organizational structure, particularly as it relates to maximizing the skills and talents of the immensely gifted individuals that God has providentially sent our way,” Allen said. “Our ongoing conversations have been both thorough and healthy, clarifying the seminary’s current needs and opportunities, and how best to support those.”

As such, Madsen, who has served at Midwestern Seminary for more than two decades in various professorial and administrative capacities, will transition from the role of dean of graduate studies to dean of doctoral studies and academic initiatives.

The change, Allen explained, enables Madsen to give primary attention to all Doctoral Studies programs due to the size and growth of these programs. Further, he will continue to assist the provost in various academic initiative projects related to curriculum development and related tasks.

“Dr. Madsen’s service to Midwestern Seminary over the past 20-plus years has been invaluable to this institution,” Allen said. “He possesses incredible intellect and yet has a heart for preparing students to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. These traits, in addition to his oversight of multiple academic departments within our seminary and college over the years, will serve him well in leading our doctoral program to even greater success in the future.”

Harrison, who has administrated and taught courses at Midwestern Seminary for more than 16 years, will transition to the role of dean of academic strategy and institutional effectiveness.

While maintaining his supervisory responsibility over the dean of Asian Studies, the dean of Online Studies, and now the new dean of doctoral studies, and the continued supervision of all non-English language programs, Allen said this new role would allow Harrison to give more focus in aiding the provost with academic strategy and innovation initiatives as well as providing increased oversight to all areas of institutional effectiveness.

“Dr. Harrison has already been leading the areas of academic strategy and institutional effectiveness with excellence for a number of years,” Allen said. “He is a creative, outside-the-box thinker, and this move will enable him to devote more time to thinking through strategies that will continue to move Midwestern Seminary forward as a leader in theological education for the Southern Baptist Convention and greater evangelicalism.”

Yeats, who has served at Midwestern Seminary for six years and in his current role as dean of students for two years, adds the component of student success and retention to his responsibilities.

Allen noted that this change reflects Yeats’ acquiring the supervisory responsibility of the institution’s library to complement his current oversight of the Registrar’s Office, as both are academic support programs that aid in student success.

Further, this change acknowledges Dr. Yeats’s current role of coordinating student success and retention initiatives in conjunction with other deans and departments at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College. He will also continue to assist the provost in specific academic support projects.

Allen praised Yeats’ abilities to adapt new roles saying, “Dr. Yeats continues to demonstrate an ability to wear many different institutional hats, all with excellence. The departments he oversees flourish, as does our institution as a whole. We’re grateful to him for his fine efforts as dean of students, which he handles adeptly with grace and wisdom. By adding the library and student success elements under his purview, I am confident these moves will greatly benefit our faculty, staff, and students.”

Midwestern Seminary Provost, Jason Duesing, who will directly supervise each of these men, said, “I am grateful for these men and the way God has uniquely crafted their skills to aid in the work of Midwestern for the church. It is a sign of institutional health to make these kinds of moves internally and to have a net result of the overall strengthening of our programs. That, and the fact that they all first love students and love to serve students, makes working with them in these new roles an even greater joy.”

With Madsen’s transition, Midwestern Seminary will now start a search for the dean of graduate studies position. The person filling this position will assist the president and provost in the innovation and promotion of all graduate programs and will work with the Admissions Office and Institutional Relations for the enrollment management strategy and goal achievement of all graduate programs. Until the position is filled, Madsen will continue to serve as acting dean of graduate studies.

More information about the search for this position can be found by clicking on  https://www.mbts.edu/about/employment/.


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