For the past year, I have had the great honor as serving as the Campbellsville Univ. Faculty Forum Chair. With only 5 years of faculty experience, I was completely shocked to be asked to serve on this role. There are many qualified, experienced, and much more adept faculty members at Campbellsville Univ., but I was asked nevertheless.
I’ve learned when an opportunity is presented, you can either accept the task and try to rise to the occasion or run from it. In this instance, I chose to walk through the door and allow God to grow me through the experience. And God certainly had some leadership tests along the way.
We began the school year in difficult days. Prior to the start of classes, the university family lost two dear members of the staff. While a new school year should feel hopeful and full of anticipation, there was a shadow of darkness and grief over us all. When two employees pass in the prime of their lives, it is hard to understand. One of those beloved saints was my next door office buddy, Mr. Paul Dameron, a Druien Hall brother. I still miss hearing his booming voice coming through our paper-thin walls.
The fall semester progressed with both ups and downs. Great enrollment on the main campus, yet some programs (including several that I oversee) took a dip. But we pressed on and tried to rely on God’s grace, good decision making, wise counsel, and see every challenge as opportunity for improvement.
The December Faculty Forum meeting included the announcement that Dr. Frank Cheatham, who has served at CU for 41 years, would be retiring at the end of 2014. If you want a picture of faithful, steady, integrity-filled leadership over the long haul, Dr. Cheatham would be that picture. I love being able to say Dr. Cheatham has been my professor, my boss boss, and now a friend and mentor.
The spring semester culminated in our SACSCOC 10 year accreditation visit. This evaluation process for academic institutions is rigorous and extensive. We were thrilled to hear we came through in very good shape.
The year ended in the commencement services over the weekend. As faculty chair, I was invited to offer the benediction prayer. It occurred to me on Saturday during the undergraduate ceremony that it has been 15 years (almost to the day) since I walked across that grey, noisy stage in J.K. Powell Athletic Center.
In 15 years, I went from being a student in the seats anxious to receive my diploma, to the CU Faculty Chair seated on the platform watching my students receive theirs. This included one of my Ed. Min. students doing a standing back-flip on the stage and nearly causing me to have a heart attack. (Thanks Rico!)
Fifteen years from one seat to the another. This, to me, is absolutely unbelievable. I am so thankful and humbled. Never in my wildest dreams would I have pictured what God might do. To serve my school, my alma mater, my fellow colleagues, and my God in this role of leadership has been such a blessing.
Thank you Lord for opening doors for the most unqualified, undeserving, ill-equipped academic leader in training.