Wayland ready to start another year

PLAINVIEW – Wayland Baptist University faculty and staff gathered Wednesday for a day of professional development, leading into the new academic year. Students officially move in this weekend with new students taking part on Koinonia, Wayland’s orientation weekend. Final enrollment will be held next Tuesday with classes starting on Wednesday.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the new school year, Wayland President Bobby Hall took time to address the faculty and staff Wednesday afternoon. It was his first official addresses since being named president effective July 1. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr. Vernon Stokes introduced Dr. Hall by giving employees a glimpse into the selection process.

With the music blaring, lights dancing and a standing ovation, Dr. Hall took the microphone and outlined the state of the university. He encouraged employees to mark their calendars for three important dates.

  • Sept. 8 Wayland and the Plainview Chamber of Commerce will host Business After Hours from 5-6:30 p.m. in Pete’s Place, the student lounge located in the basement of the McClung University Center. The public is invited to attend, meet the faculty and staff, order some Starbucks coffee, sign up for door prizes and find out more about Wayland.
  • The Jimmy Dean Museum ribbon cutting and grand opening will be held on Sept. 28. Donna Dean Stevens will be recognized at chapel at 11 a.m. The official ribbon cutting will take place at 1:30 p.m. in front of the new museum.
  • Wayland’s presidential inauguration will take place on January 25, 2017. Plans are being made by the inauguration committee. More details will be released at a later date.

Dr. Hall also updated the group on some of the special projects that are taking place around campus.

  • Wayland is currently undergoing a website redesign, led by consultants Paskill, Stapleton and Lord. The initial design is complete and in the hands of the content management group that is creating templates. Once the templates are complete, the new content will be migrated to the new site. The project is scheduled for completion in February 2017, but the hopes are to have it done sooner.
  • Wayland has a new app function for use on mobile devices. Designed by Guidebook, the app allows the university to upload guides to help students and others navigate special events on campus. The app was completed in time for Koinonia. A special Koinonia guidebook is available in the app store and on Google Play.
  • Facilities maintenance is ongoing on the Plainview campus. The sewer replacement project has been completed and work is now focusing on roofs and air conditioning systems. Wayland is replacing 72 roofs that have been damaged both in Plainview and San Antonio. Later this fall, work will begin on renovation of the heating and air conditioning system in Gates Hall.
  • The annual independent audit has been completed and Wayland continues to operate from a strong financial standing.
  • Last year, Wayland athletics placed third overall in the NAIA national Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings that measures overall athletic success for a university. There are 250 schools competing in the NAIA.
  • Summer enrollment numbers are up for the Plainview campus, and Wayland is preparing for a large freshman class.

Dr. Hall also outlined some challenges facing the university, including competition for students and a national conversation that tries to diminish the importance of a college education. Dr. Hall outlined his immediate priorities in response to some of these issues.

  • Employee support is important for the Impact 2020 Campaign that will address many of the campus maintenance and upkeep issues.
  • The administration is enacting policy that will enable employees to be more involved in the community through campus programs and other avenues. The hope is for Wayland employees to make a difference in the various communities where campuses are located.
  • Continuing to focus on the spiritual health of employees and students remains a priority.
  • Employees are challenged to provide the best educational and service experience available for students, parents, alumni and other constituents.

“We are Pioneers!” Dr. Hall said. “We pray. We innovate. We inspire. We encourage. We succeed.”