Sadler named interim division chair

PLAINVIEW – Dr. Paul Sadler, professor of religion at Wayland Baptist University, has been named Chairman of the Division of Religion and Philosophy on an interim basis due to the retirement of Dr. Fred Meeks.

Meeks, who has chaired the division since 1992, is retiring, effective Aug. 31. Sadler, who joined the Wayland faculty in 1990, will assume the duties on July 1, allowing for two months of overlap as Dr. Meeks assists in the change.

“Being able to work with him will be very important to me,” Sadler said. “He is already starting to help me understand the demands of the position and some of the duties I will assume.

“It will be a challenge for me because I have not been involved in a lot of the administrative work in the division.”

Sadler holds a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. from Baylor University and master’s of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as pastor of Park Lake Drive Baptist Church, Bosqueville Baptist Church and Meadowbrook Baptist Church, all in Waco, from 1970-90 before joining the Wayland faculty. He has held interim pastorates at several churches in the West Texas area and has supplied at more than 60 churches in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Sadler is currently the faculty athletic representative to the NAIA for Wayland, in charge of certifying eligibility for all student athletes. He serves on the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas as will be installed as president of the local Rotary Club on July 1.

Wayland will not immediately seek to replace Dr. Meeks.

“We are going to take this year that I am in the interim position and we are going to assess what the needs of the division are in terms of new faculty,” Sadler said. “Then we will probably initiate a search for a new faculty member for the 2007-08 school year.”

Sadler said the division is wanted to address some of the “new directions that ministerial students want to go.”

“A lot of things are changing in ministry,” he said. “Our students don’t think in traditional terms in relation to ministry. We are thinking about how we can respond to that to meet the needs of our students who are going to be in ministry for the next 20-to-30 years.”

Wayland Provost Dr. Bobby Hall said it was the division faculty’s recommendation to use the next year to evaluate how best to serve its students.

“We will use these months to evaluate the needs and future direction before naming a permanent division chair and recruiting for the open faculty position,” Hall said.

Sadler said one strong possibility is that the division will increase its study of missions.

“That is a great area of interest to a lot of our students,” Sadler said.

In the interim, the division will use adjunct professors to cover the course load vacated by Dr. Meeks.

“We have experienced adjuncts who will be able to teach those courses and do very well,” Sadler said.

Sadler also wants to evaluate his own performance as division chair before pursuing the position on a full-time basis.

“This could become permanent, or it might not, depending on the needs of the division,” Sadler said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to serve. This is an opportunity to have an influence both in the classroom and as an administrator, and affect some of our programs and directions.”