Several faculty and staff members of the university announced their retirement or resignation from Union to take effect at the conclusion of this semester.
Tim Smith, dean of the School of Nursing, announced April 17 that he will resign from Union and accept a position at Anderson University in Anderson, S.C.
Smith, who has been dean since 2005, will become Anderson’s vice president of strategic initiatives and special associate to the provost beginning July 7.
Carla Sanderson, Union’s provost and executive vice president for strategic initiatives, announced April 7 that she will retire from Union and become the vice president for accreditation and professional regulation of Chamberlain College of Nursing in Chicago, Ill.
Sanderson, who has worked at Union for 32 years, will begin her new job June 2 but stay with her family in Jackson, where she will work and commute occasionally to Chicago.
“I can honestly say there has never been a season when I wished I was somewhere else,” Sanderson said about her time at Union. “My spirit has soared all these years. It is hard to leave daily interactions with people I respect and admire. I am asking God to let me soar on eagle’s wings again. I believe he will.”
Rich Grimm, chief enrollment officer, also announced April 7 that he will begin as senior vice president July 1 at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill.
Grimm’s responsibilities at Trinity will include giving university-wide leadership to enrollment, university services and strategic initiatives.
“We are honored by the invitation to join Dr. Dockery as he begins his tenure and look forward expectantly to what the Lord will do in the years to come at Trinity,” Grimm said. “It is with mixed emotions that we say goodbye to the Union community. The many wonderful relationships with students, faculty and staff are what we will miss the most.”
David Dockery, university president, said Union’s reputation as one of the leaders in Christian higher education has made it a place where other universities look for leaders.
“That has been happening a great deal over the past 30 months or so and will continue to happen,” he said. “I think everyone should expect two, three or more additional departures from key leaders in the 2014 year.”
In addition, Ashley Jackson, resident director of the women’s quads, is moving with her family to Brownsville, where her husband Ernie has worked as head football coach at Haywood High School since July 2013.
“After juggling what seem like two differently worlds, I feel it is my calling to move into ministry with my husband and join him in caring [for] and loving at-risk high school boys,” Jackson said. “While leaving Union will be extremely difficult, I know that the Lord is calling my family away from residential living with college students.”
Finally, Carson Hawkins resigned from his position as director of Safety and Security March 31. Bryan Carrier, acting dean of students, assumed the director’s responsibilities until the position is filled.
Dockery said the combination of Union’s leadership role among other similar institutions and the transition related to a lengthy presidency are the two reasons that will help people understand what seems like a large number of recent retirements and resignations.
“The good news for Dr. Oliver and the new administration is that they will have an opportunity to shape a new administration for Union in a fresh way over a rather short period of time as they fill multiple key positions in the days ahead,” Dockery said. “In that regard, we will all join together in asking the Lord to grant much wisdom for Dr. Oliver as he seeks the right people to serve with him in this important roles for the days, months and years to come.”