A Georgia Baptist Institution
June 21, 2010 - On Monday, June 21, 2010, Shorter University President Dr. Harold E. Newman announced his plans to retire from the presidency on or before the end of his present contract, which continues through June 2012. The announcement was made at a joint meeting of the university’s faculty and staff. He planned the announcement to provide sufficient time to search for a new president and will continue as president until someone is selected and installed in that post.
A Presidential Search Committee will be appointed by Trustee Chairman Dr. Nelson Price as outlined in the university’s bylaws. That committee will include the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, the Chairman of the Board’s Finance and Investment Committee, the Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, four members of the Board of Trustees, two tenured faculty members, one staff member, two alumni and one student representative.
A veteran educator, Dr. Newman is now in his 25 th year at Shorter. He became Shorter College’s 18th president on Jan. 26, 2006. Dr. Newman brought extensive knowledge of and a deep love for Shorter to his presidency. He served the college as provost for 20 years under four presidents and had served as interim president since Jan. 1, 2005.
A classically trained musician, Dr. Newman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Furman University, a Master of Church Music in piano performance from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. There, he majored in curriculum and instruction with collaterals in higher education and educational administration and supervision.
Statement from President Newman
I have had the great privilege of serving Shorter College, now Shorter University, for 25 years. At the end of my present contract in June of 2012, my service time will exceed 27 years.
At that time, I will be 71 years old. While my health is excellent, my energy level remains high, and every day at Shorter is exciting and new, I realize that the Board of Trustees and the university must plan for the future. That planning involves one of the most important functions of the Board, selecting the president.
Recognizing that carefully choosing the next president of Shorter University may be a lengthy process, I have suggested that the Board of Trustees should begin that process. I have given notice of my intention to retire from the presidency at the time the Board has chosen and installed the next president for Shorter University.
This action is my initiative. I realized that it is time for me to notify the board and the Shorter community of my intentions.
It is with great pride and satisfaction that I look back over the past 25 years. During the first 20 years beginning in July of 1985, I served as chief academic officer of Shorter College. The job title was then vice president for academic affairs and the present title is provost. Serving as chief academic officer allowed me the opportunity of working with some of the brightest and most talented faculty and staff in higher education. They are a wonderful group of individuals who have a selfless commitment to students.
There are many success stories of achievement by Shorter graduates that go far beyond what one would expect from a small liberal arts college tucked away in Rome, Georgia. As provost, I was able to contribute to these academic successes by choosing faculty with a commitment to student success.
After 20 years in the provost role, it was time for a change, and fortunately for me, through the support of Dr. Nelson Price, our trustee chairman, and Dr. Robert White of the Georgia Baptist Convention, I have been given the greatest opportunity of my professional life, to serve as president of Shorter University. I will always remain grateful for this great experience. Moving from focusing totally on academic concerns to focusing on the total life of the institution gave me a renewed excitement about contributing to this fine school that had become such a part of me.
Working as a team, Dr. Price and I along with the Board of Trustees, the management team, and the faculty and staff, have accomplished significant goals over the last five years, not the least of which was moving Shorter from a financial low where we could not meet payroll to today’s University status. Along with those achievements one of our most significant accomplishments was the establishment of a School of Nursing with a curriculum which requires a medical missions experience for all students. One of the central areas of focus of our strategic planning was the move to university status, and we have accomplished that goal and look forward to a bright future. It is now time for that future to take center stage.
Shorter has been blessed with a Board of Trustees and with a faculty and staff who are committed to growing the school and committed to excellence in Christian education. Our growth has been steady, our enrollment has increased, and our commitment to Christian education as a Georgia Baptist school has been solidified. We now truly stand “At the Crossroads of Faith and Learning.”
I will continue to serve Shorter University to the best of my ability during the search process and as long as the Board needs me. I am committed to assisting the new president in any way that I can.
I take great personal satisfaction in having been able to serve as president during these most important years in the life of Shorter. My goal is to welcome a new president who will lead Shorter University into the next generation and who will accomplish even greater successes than ever before seen in the 137-year history of our beloved school.
God has honored Shorter College throughout our years together. I am confident that He will continue to honor Shorter University in the future under new leadership.
Statement from Trustee Chairman Dr. Nelson Price
Dr. Harold Newman has peerlessly served Shorter through a new “Golden Age” of academic, spiritual, physical, and athletic advancement. He has done so while serving the total communities of Rome and Floyd County in many community enterprises.
When the need arose requiring new leadership for the school, he proved to be “God’s man in waiting.” He was prepared in large part by long years of admirable service as Provost. He brought many personal assets to the office. His epic era in office will stand the test of time and reveal his productive current accomplishments have provided a foundation for future advances by the school.
I am personally thankful for our professional compatibility but even more appreciative of our most enjoyable enduring friendship. Serving with him has been a blessing for which I am grateful. Bottom line: in the biblical sense, I love Dr. Newman.
The search for a new president may be a long process. The school and community can be assured a person of standing as an academician, leader, spiritual shepherd, and possessor of social grace will be sought. The Shorter that has progressed under the unique leadership of Dr. Newman will be perpetuated. He has seen the future and put the school on the path to achieve additional advances.
Until the coming of a new president the school will have the good fortune of Dr. Newman’s continuing leadership. This can be a long period. At that time, he will be appropriately retired with dignity, honor, and acclaim. Dr. Newman’s legacy will be a long lasting standard of excellence.
At the time of his eventual retirement, the community will be invited to share in a celebration of his achievements. In the immediate present, the community is encouraged to give encouragement and support to Dr. Newman by giving financial support to the major endeavors he desires to complete in the immediate future.
Overview of Key Accomplishments of the Newman Era
Dr. Newman’s tenure as president of Shorter College can be defined as an era of growth and positive momentum.
Enrollment Growth & New Programs: Traditional student enrollment has risen steadily from 896 in 2004 to 1,205 in the fall of 2009. The 2009 record-setting enrollment included record-breaking numbers of freshmen, transfers and total student population. The college’s 2010 spring enrollment of 1,141 was also a record-setting number for second-semester enrollment.
Such growth has been a priority under President Newman. During his five-year tenure at the college’s helm, Shorter has fueled growth through the addition of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program, new majors in sport management and instrumental music, online courses and degree programs, a marching band and several intercollegiate sports, including track and field, cross country, competitive cheerleading and the forthcoming wrestling and lacrosse programs.
As provost, Dr. Newman led in the establishment of Shorter’s Professional Studies programs in the early 1990s, making Shorter the first institution in the state to provide accelerated degree programs for working adults. During his presidency, the enrollment in those programs has grown from 1,651 students in 2004 to 2,170 in fall 2009. Professional Studies students study on four campuses in Gwinnett, North Atlanta, Riverdale and Rome through programs offered in Shorter’s College of Adult and Professional Programs and the university’s School of Education.
Strategic Plan: As president, Dr. Newman led the Shorter community in the development of a strategic plan, which has served as a roadmap for the institution’s planning. The plan has five centers of excellence: (1) a “Pre-eminent Teaching University,” (2) a “Christ-Centered Community,” (3) a “Center for Intellectual and Spiritual Growth within a Global Perspective,” (4) a “Technologically Innovative Campus with Improved Facilities,” and (5) a “Secure Financial Future.”
Pre-eminent Teaching University. A central focus of this part of the strategic plan was the transition to university status, which took place June 1, 2010. As a university, Shorter maintains a strong commitment to providing students with a personalized, high-quality educational experience within a caring, Christian environment. Under Dr. Newman’s leadership, Shorter initiated several programs designed to strengthen student success, including the annual Camp Hawk community-building retreat, the Learning Community Experience at Shorter, and the Center for Learning and Success at Shorter. These programs provide Shorter’s newest students with academic- and social-development assistance to aid in their transition to college.
A long-standing hallmark of the Shorter experience is the interaction of students with faculty members who are instructors, mentors and friends. The excellence in this area is illustrated by a number of national honors received during Dr. Newman’s tenure as president including the 2006 recognition of Scholar-in-Residence Dr. Carmen Acevedo Butcher as Georgia Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; the 2008 presentation of Grant Teaff National Coach of the Year Award to Head Football Coach Phil Jones by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes; and the 2010 naming of longtime music faculty members William and Mary Ann Knight as national Teachers of the Year by the Music Teachers National Association.
A Christ-Centered Community. Dr. Newman has led Shorter in a period of renewal of its relationship with the Georgia Baptist Convention. The institution has actively sought to integrate Christian faith into the learning experience offered to students. Examples include (1) the addition of the Hopkins Institute for Business Ethics and its emphasis on Christian ethical behavior to our School of Business and (2) the requirement of an international medical missions experience in the nursing curriculum. The university has a commitment to including service learning experiences in the curriculum, providing extracurricular spiritual-growth opportunities, and offering missions opportunities to reach others for Christ locally, nationally and globally.
During his tenure, Shorter was accepted for membership in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, an international association of intentionally Christian higher education institutions. In addition, Shorter personnel are members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the Baptist Communicators Association, and the National Association of Christian College Admissions Personnel.
A Center for Intellectual and Spiritual Growth within a Global Perspective. During the Newman years, Shorter recorded a dramatic increase in the number of students who took part in study-abroad opportunities. This spring, more than 20 percent of those graduating from the traditional degree programs had studied abroad during their time at Shorter. The institution also has recorded a significant increase in the number of international programs offered and the number of affiliates with which it partners in international study. Shorter now offers study-abroad opportunities on six continents.
A Technologically Innovative Campus with Improved Facilities. Shorter has experienced dramatic improvements to the campus’ technological capabilities during Dr. Newman’s tenure as president. Among those improvements are significant increases in Shorter’s fiber optic capabilities, the creation of a wireless campus, the development of “smart classrooms” and the implementation of technology-based solutions to improve efficiency in staff and faculty responsibilities.
The facilities at Shorter have experienced dramatic renewal during Dr. Newman’s tenure as president. Among the most visible changes are the new sign and fountain at the main entrance to the Rome campus and the renovation of the Front Circle into a pedestrian-friendly plaza. In 2007, Shorter built a new student apartment building, which the trustees named Newman Hall in honor of Dr. Newman’s contributions to life at Shorter. In addition to numerous renovations of on-campus facilities, Shorter expanded its campus by purchasing the property at 408 Shorter Avenue, which will soon house its Development and Alumni staff. A facility for the new School of Nursing was developed at the Riverbend Center, and the university is preparing to move its Robert H. Ledbetter College of Business into a new facility in the MidTown Crossing Shopping Center. Shorter also built an on-campus field named Ben Brady Field, which is now equipped with an artificial turf playing surface. To address the safety of the campus community, Dr. Newman also led in the installation of an on-campus emergency warning siren and the implementation of a text message-based emergency alert system.
A Secure Financial Future. Though not made public at the time, Shorter was in severe financial hardship when Dr. Newman became interim president in 2005. In the ensuing six years, he has led the Shorter community to balance budgets, control expenses, increase revenue through growth and share financial responsibility across the institution. The institution now annually achieves 100 percent giving by members of the Board of Trustees as well as members of the faculty and staff.
Both enrollment and retention are at record high levels, and the university’s reputation for excellence in the liberal arts, fine and performing arts, the sciences, education, and business continues to grow. Shorter also has a growing reputation for excellence in intercollegiate athletics. Since 2008 when high jumper Montagious Brown earned Shorter’s first-ever national championship, Shorter athletes have claimed five individual and two team national championships. Four of those individual titles belong to runner Justyna Mudy, and the team national titles were won in competitive cheerleading in that team’s first and second years of existence.
Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christian university committed to excellence in education. Since 2003, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Shorter among the South’s best baccalaureate colleges, and The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its lists of best value and best Southeastern colleges. The university offers traditional bachelor’s degree programs in 48 major areas as well as undergraduate degree programs for working adults, the Master of Business Administration, the Master of Education and the Master of Arts in Leadership. General education and calculus courses are offered in an online format, and this fall, Shorter will launch online programs that lead toward the Associate of Science, the Bachelor of Business Administration, and the Master of Accountancy degrees. For additional information, visit www.shorter.edu.
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