The Board of Trustees at Williams Baptist University welcomed seven new members at its meeting Friday, Dec. 7. The board, which met on the WBU campus in Walnut Ridge, Ark., also approved a new minor in political science and heard an upbeat report on student recruitment.
It was the first meeting for seven trustees who were appointed this fall to the 24-member board. The new trustees include: Jamar Andrews, pastor of Word Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ark.; Cliff Cabaness II, a businessman from Ft. Smith, Ark.; Dr. Jeff Crawford, lead pastor of ministries at Cross Church in Springdale, Ark.; Dr. James Nichols, pastor of First Baptist Church in Marion, Ark.; Zac Reno, lead pastor at Summit Church in Benton, Ark.; Dr. Jim Shaw, pastor of discipleship at First Baptist Church in Rogers, Ark.; and Dr. Jody Smotherman, vice president at White River Medical Center in Batesville, Ark.
“This is a great new group of trustees that has quickly embraced the mission of Williams Baptist University. They are enthusiastic about serving on our board, and we are very excited to have them join us as we continue to expand the influence of WBU across the state of Arkansas and beyond,” said Dr. Stan Norman, president of Williams.
In academics, the board approved a new minor in political science, and also voted to change the name of the history department to the Department of History & Political Science. The new minor will be available to WBU students starting next fall.
The board got good news on student recruitment for next year. Angela Flippo, vice president for enrollment management, reported that applications from prospective new students are up 47 percent compared to the same period last year, and inquiries from interested students have doubled. WBU has also seen a 58 percent increase in the number of interested students making campus visits this fall.
The Williams board had voted at its last meeting, in September, to enter into an agreement with Ruffalo Noel Levitz, a prominent national firm that specializes in student recruitment and financial aid. Flippo credited the firm with helping WBU boost its recruitment numbers so far this year.
WBU trustees are appointed by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, and they serve three-year terms.
Williams is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge.