Wayland faculty, staff kick-off new year with spirit

PLAINVIEW - Faculty and staff at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview kicked off the start of the 2003-04 academic year with words of inspiration from administrators and guests.

Dr. Paul Armes, president of the university, opened the two-day employee development event with encouragement from Philippians 2:1-11, in which the apostle Paul exhorted the church to "Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose" (v. 2).

"Look for new ways of becoming effective team members," Armes encouraged the gathering of nearly 200 faculty and staff members from Plainview and some of Wayland's external campuses.

Using points from Patrick Lencioni's book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Armes urged employees to avoid the common themes that break down teams - lack of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results - and cling to the family atmosphere that has made the university a special place for its students and employees.

Dr. Bob Agee, executive director of the Association of Southern Baptist Colleges and Schools and former president at Oklahoma Baptist University, addressed the gathering as the keynote speaker, sharing encouragement and a challenge in two sessions. He began by adding his encouragement to the staff at the start of the school year.

"I consider one of the privileges of my life as being involved in Baptist education," he said. "You are making a difference. We impact the world one by one through our students."

Agee outlined the characteristics of religious-based institutions, breaking them into three groups: the formerly Christian universities, the formally Christian universities and the intentionally Christian universities. Placing Wayland in the last category, Agee encouraged schools that set out to challenge students but adhere to the core beliefs of their founding and maintain the Christian atmosphere that sets such schools apart.

He also touched on the importance of faith and learning and faith and disciplines as a core of what makes a Christian university distinctive and encouraged faculty to let those discussions happen regularly among themselves and administrators.

Besides informational sessions and updates from administrators, employees were also treated to goodies featuring the Wayland logo and were introduced to new faculty and staff. Sodexho food services hosted a Texas barbecue picnic on the lawn outside Harral Auditorium on Thursday night for employees and their families, with entertainment by Texas in the Swing. A "Wayland family picnic" was held on Friday on the campus as freshmen were moving into the dormitories.