Tipton stepping aside as Dean, returning to the classroom

Release Date: June 25, 2009    

By Adam Henthorn, PR intern

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University will experience several changes in the upcoming semester, including a new individual in the dean’s office. Wayland’s Dean of Students Emmitt Tipton will be stepping down after 12 years in his position to return to a faculty position in the School of Business.

“I just felt it was time for me to head toward retirement,” said Tipton.

While in his position, Tipton has experienced the ups and downs of the campus and the student body, from seeing and having input in the construction and completion of Davis Hall and the Laney Center to student deaths.

“The most rewarding part is having students come back to visit that I have disciplined,” said Tipton. He explains that many former students have come to his office in the past and thanked him for his discipline and guidance, and they allude to the fact that his punishment helped them later on in life.

“This happens more than most people would think,” he said. He also valued the opportunities he received to pray with students.

Tipton says that he has learned many things from and about students over the years. “You learn students like to be disciplined. They like to know they have to follow certain guidelines.” He says that not all students he had to deal with were bad students; most just needed to be “pointed in the right direction.”

“You learn that students’ values are somewhat different,” Tipton added. “Things that worked for my generation will not particularly work with the current generation. We have to learn to work with pressures that students grow up with that we didn’t have to grow up with.”

Tipton took the step from professor to Dean of Students 12 years ago because he felt like God had called him.

“I felt this is where the Lord wanted me to be,” he said. “I saw an opportunity to help students. I’ll miss the interaction with students.”

However, Tipton, who is a familiar face to many on campus, will be around for a little while longer. Before assuming the role of dean in 1997, he taught business courses starting in 1983, and says he has plans to return to the classroom. “I love teaching. I always have,” said Tipton.

He explained that he had been considering a return to teaching for some time as a transition toward retirement.

“My wife and I were discussing it and praying. We were sitting at Furr’s when a former student came up to me and asked if he could sit down,” said Tipton, adding that the student recalled what Tipton had once said while teaching class about praying for students and said that was greatly needed today. “That was my confirmation. Within two weeks after that, I had two different people come up to me and say ‘You need to go back to the classroom.’”

Tipton definitely has some advice for the incoming dean, whoever that might be. The job has not yet filled.

“Number one: love students with all your heart. And understand the meaning of grace as you deal with students,” he said. “If you had any questions, you could ask him,” said junior Andrew Lancaster. “He always sent you in the right direction.”

 “I’m disappointed he’s leaving,” said junior Rachel Steed. “He really understood college kids.”

“He has always been student centered,” Dr. Claude Lusk, Wayland’s Vice President Enrollment Management, remarked. “He’s always done the job, caring for the students. He understands the school and what we are about and what we stand for and he never wavered from that.”