The Equation for Success
When he arrived on the WBU campus as a freshman, Scott Franklin had ministry on his mind.
Influenced by a pastor and youth minister in his hometown of Canadian, he learned
about Wayland from years at Panfork Baptist Camp, where WBU’s Rec Team worked the
camp and talked up the university. He decided to pursue life as a Pioneer and soon
enrolled. But like many students, his future was still a little fuzzy.
“I know that I needed to be involved in helping to further God’s kingdom, helping to work with His people, helping to guide and disciple them. At the time, I thought that meant I had to be a pastor,” recalls Franklin, noting that he declared a religion major early on and spent his first year in those classes primarily. But Franklin’s love for academics – namely mathematics classes where he had excelled in high school – kept nagging at him.
“By the end of that first year, I realized I missed the challenge and the attribute of mathematics being a puzzle to be solved. I liked debate and discussing, which was a lot of those religion classes, but I missed solving,” he said. “I decided to double-major, and when I told my advisor in religion they asked me what I was going to do with that, and I really didn’t know.”
Learning from examples
By watching his mentors in math, namely Dr. Phil Almes, who he had early on, Franklin soon figured out what ministry through math could look like. He had been intrigued by the sheer expertise of his Wayland professors in their subject matter. But their care and concern for his total well-being was what really made an impression.
“To see that someone could teach a professional-level course like calculus, differential equations and numerical analysis and at the same time help me figure out who I am and what it is God has called me to do, to pray with me and nurture me as I am figuring all those things out became the picture of what I wanted to do and what God had given me a skill and a set of talents to be able to do,” he said. The rest, as they say, is history.
Franklin completed his degree in 1998, convinced he wanted to teach at the college level and praying that one day in the distant future he might have the opportunity to return to his alma mater and influence students as Almes had. He immediately enrolled at Texas Tech for his master’s degree and was already planning to continue to the Ph.D. Wayland came calling.
Almes offered Franklin a teaching position in the math department, and for the next five years he taught full-time in Plainview, and commuted to Lubbock for coursework several days a week. During this time, he and wife Lori – whom he met in that first WBU math class and who was herself a math major – were also growing their family.
Coming full circle
Franklin is still part of the math faculty, but now he also serves as the Dean of
the School of Mathematics and Sciences, the youngest at the university to do so. And
that ministry role he dreamed of? It’s very much a part of his job too.
“Helping a student get from brand new, starting their adult life to where they can get plugged into where God can use them is an enormous responsibility of the university. And it’s a ministry to help students learn the balance between faith and profession and that no matter where they are, God has a place and a job and work to do for them and they need that personal relationship with Jesus Christ first and foremost as a foundation for their lives,” he says.
“Our students become part of our families whenever we are here at Wayland. We make those kinds of personal connections with students because we are invested in more than just their head knowledge or their skill set; we are invested in them becoming successful.