Trustees approve administrative restructure, campus police department

PLAINVIEW – Trustees for Wayland Baptist University on Thursday approved a new organizational structure that re-creates the position of executive vice president and established a Wayland Police Department for the purpose of security and law enforcement in its regular fall board meeting.

University president Dr. Paul Armes proposed the structure change. Dr. Bobby Hall, who now serves as provost and vice president for academic and graduate services, will move into the position of executive vice president. That position was dissolved following the death of Dr. Bill Hardage, who held the executive VP position for several years, while the university reorganized to realign duties and responsibilities.

In his new position, Hall will report directly to the president and will oversee the vice president for enrollment management – a position held by Dr. Claude Lusk – and Chief Financial Officer Jim Smith as far as day-to-day operations issues. Two other current positions, Associate Vice President for External Campuses Dr. Elane Seebo and Assistant Academic Vice President Stan DeMerritt, already report to Hall. The institutional advancement, church services and communications departments will continue to report directly to the president.

“This move will provide a stronger link between the operations areas of the life of the university and free me up from some of those responsibilities, which will enable me to focus more on advancement and telling the Wayland story in as many venues as possible,” Armes said of the reorganization. “The Cabinet members are enthusiastic about this change.”

Board members also approved a recommendation to create the Wayland Police Department as allowed by the Texas Education Code. The official move allows Wayland to build a police and security force as it deems necessary and to have control and jurisdiction over the campus and properties. Lonnie Burton, a retired Plainview police officer, was hired in September to head the force. Wayland maintains a partnership with the City of Plainview Police Department, which still patrols the campus neighborhood regularly as part of its city patrol, but does not fall under its jurisdiction as an independent law enforcement agency.

“The reality of having someone on campus walking the halls has been received very favorably by our students,” said Dr. Claude Lusk of Burton’s role to this point. He added that future plans do call for expanding the force to add officers as the enrollment and campus needs warrant.

In other business, the board recommended a new appraisal of the university’s mineral, energy and property assets and the 2007-08 financial audit, which presented an unqualified opinion regarding responsible financial management. They also approved the financing of $1.1 million through Wells Fargo Bank to cover repairs to the roof at both Lubbock Campus facilities.

The group re-elected its current slate of officers to another term, giving the nod to Gen. Edgar Murphy of Lubbock as board chair for a second year. The board also approved the re-election of two board members whose three-year term expires this year, Dr. Gary Dyer of Midland and Dr. Tim Powers of Wichita Falls. Dr. Vernon Stokes of Midland, a previous board member, was elected to replace Jack Witten, a longtime trustee who elected not to serve another term.

Armes recognized Dr. Travis Hart of Plainview during the trustee luncheon for completing his ninth year on the board as well as Witten and Dr. Steve Vernon of Levelland, who resigned his position after one year due to a new job in Dallas with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Vernon previously served a nine-year term on the WBU board in the early 1990s.

Armes also recognized donors Robert and Mary Lockhart of Bastrop, who recently funded an inspirational plaque in the Pete and Nelda Laney Student Activities Center, reading “May God watch as you climb the ladder of your choice.” The plaque is also in honor of Mary’s grandfather, Charles Vance Bryson, who served on the Wayland board from 1913-1922 with Dr. James H. Wayland, university founder.