Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Expands Women’s Support Initiatives

SWBTS photo

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has launched multiple initiatives to further its equipping and empowering of women to answer the call to serve the Lord, President Adam W. Greenway announced today (June 6).

The initiatives include the establishment of the Southwestern Women’s Center, new faculty titles and roles and an update and revision of the women’s studies and women’s ministry curricula.

“Our seminary has been at the forefront of Southern Baptist efforts to provide the highest quality ministry training for God-called women since our earliest days, led by such trailblazers as Neppie Scarborough and Floy Barnard,” Greenway stated.

“The personnel and programmatic changes our administration is making across the institution,” he said, “are designed with an overarching purpose in mind: making sure Southwestern Seminary is maximizing the gifts and talents of all members of our seminary family, especially our female faculty, staff and students.

“While programs have their place, our seminary is first and foremost about people, and I am thankful for what our Lord is doing on Seminary Hill to expand opportunities for women to flourish on our campus and in their callings,” Greenway said.

Southwestern Women’s Center

The Southwestern Women’s Center, to housed in the Horner House, will provide a central location for any female member of the Southwestern family to seek resources, connection, practical training and mentoring as a catalyst for professional, academic and leadership development.

The Women’s Center also will host events to promote a robust and positive climate for women on campus through discussion groups, mentoring, networking and advising.

Randy L. Stinson, provost and vice president for academic administration, said the Horner House, in expanding its role in serving and creating community among women at Southwestern, will be “the hub for academic and social opportunities specifically for women.”

To lead the initiative, Terri Stovall, formerly dean of women’s programs, has been named dean of women.

Her office — along with that of Katie McCoy, assistant professor of theology in women’s studies — will be located in the Women’s Center, providing a designated, confidential place where women can express needs or concerns.

Stovall’s new title reflects a wider scope of her responsibilities.

The previous title was an academic dean who had oversight over the seminary’s varied women-focused programs, Stovall said. “I still will be responsible for those programs, but beyond the academics, I am also here to serve all Southwestern women, be they students, spouses, faculty or staff. Particularly, this change indicates the administration’s desire to have a woman, who has some authority, to be a safe person for a woman to come should she need to express a concern or need. This was one of Dr. Greenway’s first priorities and changes he made for women at Southwestern.

“As a woman who has been in ministry in the local church and academia now for 35 years, I know that being a woman in ministry is not always easy,” Stovall said. “And sometimes, you just need someone to be your advocate in difficult, often painful times. I am grateful that Dr. Greenway, Dr. Stinson and the administration recognize the value of having a woman who can be that advocate.”

Stinson said Stovall is “the ideal woman to give additional strategic care to all of the women on the Southwestern Seminary campus. She is already a respected colleague, and her new role as dean of women will expand her influence to the entire student body.”

Though the title “dean of women” is new for Stovall, Greenway noted that it “connects well with our heritage,” as the title was inaugurated by Floy Barnard in 1933, who served in the role for 27 years and for whom Barnard Hall is named.

“We already do a lot for women at Southwestern but wanted to be more intentional, more available and more focused to serve women and to influence the culture here at Southwestern,” Stovall said. “In addition to our regular open hours, we will be planning specific opportunities for professional and ministry development, hands-on leadership skills enhancement, colloquiums for our female doctoral students and other activities that will serve the Southwestern woman as she prepares for the next ministry the Lord has for her.”

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Source: Baptist Press