Williams Baptist University has announced the addition of Dr. Stephen and Tracy Bell to its faculty.  The Bells will join WBU after 20-plus years of instruction at the College of Ozarks and work in the private sector.

Dr. Bell will serve as Director of Graduate and Professional Studies and as Professor of Family Studies and Social Work. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, having practiced in Missouri for over 10 years. Dr. Bell earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy from Harding University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

As Director of Graduate and Professional Studies, Dr. Bell will administrate and grow the graduate and professional studies as well as create new degree programs in leadership, ministry, business, and other areas of identified need and opportunity. Dr. Bell will also focus on creating a marriage and family therapy program to assist graduates to achieve professional licensure in marriage and family counseling. As a member of the faculty, Dr. Bell will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the current and future academic programs at WBU.

“Tracy and I have spent the past 20 years personally and professionally attempting to build stronger communities by focusing on strengthening marriages and families,” Dr. Bell said.  “On our first visit to Williams Baptist University, we felt right at home. We experienced a sense of community between the administration, faculty and students that was profound and everyone we encountered made us feel like we were already part of the Williams Baptist University family.”

Dr. Bell is a gifted classroom instructor. In 2014, he received the “Nerdscholar 40 under 40” award, a national recognition given to master teachers who inspire their students with a passion to be transformative leaders. Dr. Bell has also been recognized for teaching excellence by College of the Ozarks, receiving the Eugene Charles Wittick Teaching Excellence Award in 2012.

Tracy Bell will serve as Associate Professor of Family Studies and Social Work, providing instruction for courses in the Psychology department as well as instruction for courses within the social work minor tract. Bell has a Bachelor of Arts in Family Life Christian Counseling from Ouachita Baptist University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“My family and I are beyond excited for our new adventure at Williams Baptist University,” Bell said. “The University’s mission to move beyond the classroom and into a space for expressing God’s love for marriages and families tangibly is what is most exciting to me. God’s calling was beyond confirmed when we met with Dr. Norman, the administration, and the faculty. Their care, support and shared values are not mere words. We saw these values expressed with our visits to the campus and felt care and support every step of the way.”

Bell is a licensed master social worker. In addition, she has earned professional certifications in Neurosequential Models of Therapeutics from the Child Trauma Academy and as a Professional Life Coach with Focus on the Family. Bell has a special passion for intervention and treatment of traumatized children.

Among their many professional achievements, the Bells were instrumental in the creation and implementation of the Family Studies and Social Services Department at College of the Ozarks, an initiative designed to prepare students for marriage and family counseling and for social work. This innovative program focuses on teaching students to integrate the Christian faith throughout their courses of study as well as preparing students for graduate school with a high level of clinical knowledge.

The goal of this initiative is to send students with a well-grounded Christian faith into communities to work toward familial, communal, and societal restoration. Under the Bells’ direction, the department went from 20 majors to its current enrollment of 75 majors.  Over the past five academic years, the department graduated the fifth most students on the College of the Ozarks campus.

“What makes Christian institutions of higher education distinctive from their secular counterparts? We exist to shape men and women for Christ who display his excellency in every arena of life, even at home,” said Dr. Rhyne Putman, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and the Director of Worldview Formation. “Stephen and Tracy Bell are accomplished scholars and experienced clinicians who we believe can instill in our students a robustly Christian vision of what marriage should be and who we believe can train the next generation of Christian counselors.”

Stephen and Tracy also serve as lead therapists and speakers at the Focus on the Family’s Marriage Institute, helping couples find healing and redemption for troubled marriages. In 2011, the couple founded Family Fanatics, a ministry that conducts seminars focused upon God’s purposes for dating, marriage, and parenting.

“I am extremely excited to welcome Dr. Stephen and Tracy Bell to our WBU family,” said WBU president Dr. Stan Norman. “One of my goals upon coming to WBU was to create courses and degree programs that support what the Bible teaches about marriage and family. All our students need to know and embrace God’s purposes for marriage, parenting, family, and human sexuality. The Bells are eminently qualified to lead this type of initiative. I am deeply grateful that God called Stephen and Tracy to join us in our incredible mission of equipping transformative Christian leaders.”

The Bells have four children and are set to begin their tenure at WBU at the start of the fall 2022 semester.

WBU is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge.