Cost-cutting measures at Hardin-Simmons University—including personnel reductions and closing four Logsdon Theological Seminary extension campuses—are projected to enable the university to meet all the necessary financial goals set by the university’s board of trustees last September, President Eric Bruntmyer announced in a Feb. 8 email to HSU alumni and other supporters. By the fall 2019 semester, HSU anticipates HSU faculty will have been reduced by a total of 30 positions, including fulltime tenured faculty who accepted a buyout offer and some nontenured faculty with annual contracts that will not be renewed, Bruntmyer said. Some open faculty positions also will remain unfilled. “This has not been an easy process for anyone in our HSU family,” Bruntmyer said. However, the cutbacks have placed HSU on track to meet goals for financial stability, and students applications for the fall semester are more than 30 percent ahead of this time last year, he reported. “My prayer is that the financial health resulting from this process will allow us to continue working together in building a university that provides our students with an education enlightened by Christian faith and values far into the future,” Bruntmyer said.
Jamie Ivey of Austin was keynote speaker at the third annual Women’s Summit at East Texas Baptist University. She is host of the podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, and author of the bestseller, If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free. Teaching from Acts 7, Ivey told the women: “Your mistakes are a part of your story, but they do not define you. There is redemption for your mess. We can have confidence in the One who has done this good work in us, loves us despite our failures, and uses the weak. God is in the business of redeeming broken people to accomplish his work. We all have a story that matters and has purpose. The question becomes, what will you do with your story?”
Hillcrest Baptist Church in Austin will offer a session on “When #MeToo Comes to Church” at 11 a.m., Feb. 17, immediately following the morning worship service. Topics will include how parents can help keep their children safe from sexual abuse and how to respond in a helping way to an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. The even also will offer information about how Hillcrest Baptist Church is seeking to protect children and youth. Children’s Minister Karen Oden and Anna Westbook, a Hillcrest member who is an adult survivor of childhood sexual assault, will lead the session. Westbook is the creator of “Isabel and the Runaway Train,” a stage production that deals with the subject of childhood sexual abuse. For more information, call (512)345-3771 or click here.
Howard Payne University recognized four students as Currie-Strickland Scholars in Christian ethics and theology. They are Lillie McDonald, a junior from Tuscola; Rachel Carpenter, a junior from Rowlett; Cecily McIlwain, a senior from Dayton; and Eli Williams, a senior from May.
The National Institutes of Health awarded a $626,000 grant to Kelly R. Ylitalo, assistant professor in the department of public health at Baylor University to study the link between physical activity and healthy aging. The grant will span a five-year project period, allowing Ylitalo to work with local health care organizations to develop and test new methods for capturing and interpreting data about physical activity. Ylitalo is partnering with the Waco Family Health Center, as well as with the center’s network of 15 satellite health care clinics throughout McLennan County that provide care to vulnerable populations in the McLennan County area. She plans to develop her first pilot interventions to help people develop healthy habits by working in consultation with a cohort of 60 women who are patients of the clinics.
Buckner International named Dior Burns as director of the Buckner Family Hope Center at Reed Road in Houston, where she served as the adult empowerment coordinator. Burns fills the vacancy created by Shawna Roy, who was recently named senior executive director for Buckner Children and Family Services of Southeast Texas. Buckner Family Hope Center provides programs designed to engage, equip and elevate families through family coaching, high school diploma equivalency classes, English-as-a-Second-Language, computer literacy and job training. Prior to serving at the Family Hope Center, Burns served as the executive director of a nonprofit organization, Reach for Kids, and as the health care service coordinator for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She is a University of Houston graduate.
Old Testament scholar Daniel Block of Wheaton College will be the plenary speaker at a theology conference sponsored by Houston Baptist University’s seminary. “Why Does the Old Testament Matter: Dead Weight or an Anchor to Christian Faith?” is the theme of the conference, scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on March 1, and 9 a.m. to noon on March 2, at Second Baptist Church’s Woodway campus. Cost is $20 for general admission, $10 for students at other schools and free for HBU students and faculty/staff.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The item about the session at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Austin was added after this column originally was posted.