By Courtney Searcy
As students settle into the routine of classes this fall, several administrators at Union are functioning in new roles created by a restructuring announced this summer in a press release.
“The restructuring places a larger number of the university’s leaders in strategic positions — specifically in academics, in spiritual life and in university relations and operations,” said Dr. Carla Sanderson, provost.
Sanderson’s role was among those affected by the restructuring. In addition to her title as provost, she is also now the executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Dr. Gene Fant, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, is also vice president for academic administration and the university’s chief academic officer.
With these changes in the organizational structure, the provost position focuses on day-to-day operations, while Fant’s position focuses on academic administration.
“Certainly, academic administration is the heartbeat of the day-to-day, so I will continue to give leadership to all aspects of the university that support the classroom, while Dr. Fant is focused on what happens in the classroom, specifically faculty and curriculum,” Sanderson said.
Additionally, Tom Rosebrough is now the executive dean of the College of Education and Human Studies and head of the deans of all of Union’s six colleges and schools.
Concerning spiritual life, the School of Christian Studies’ new name is the School of Theology and Missions. The Campus Ministries Office is now included under the school.
These steps put “the classroom and the actual practice of ministry together in a new way at Union University,” said Dr. Greg Thornbury, dean of the School of Theology and Missions.
Thornbury also became Union’s vice president for spiritual life. Dr. Taylor Worley is the associate dean of spiritual life and directs campus ministries under Thornbury.
The integration of campus ministries and the School of Theology and Missions “simply reflects what has already been going on — the focus on the study of the Bible and the great theological traditions of the church, and also the churches’ heart to reach the world with the Gospel,” Thornbury said.
In external relations and operations, Jerry Tidwell, formerly the senior vice president for church relations, is now the senior vice president for university relations.
Richard Wells, formerly the dean of chapel, is now the vice president for church relations, under the Office of University Relations.
Among those seeing little change in their roles are Rich Grimm, senior vice president for enrollment services, and Gary Carter, senior vice president for business and financial services. They report along with Sanderson and Tidwell to Dr. David S. Dockery, university president.
Overall, the changes reflect Dockery’s commitment to developing good leaders, Sanderson said, noting the leaders he has brought to the staff over the years have greater responsibilities under the restructuring.
Sanderson emphasized the optimistic outlook resulting from the reorganization.
“We can see a new synergy and passion for ensuring that all we do is purposed to advance the mission of this place and to bring glory to God,” Sanderson said. “It’s going great. It’s like a new day for us. Union’s future has never been brighter.”