The Board, the President & Their Roles

Q&A with Dr. Doug Jackson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Dr. Doug JacksonQ: Do you believe the installation of a new president will result in any major changes to Maranatha’s direction or convictions?
A: We have found a president in Dr. Marty Marriott who is committed to Maranatha’s historic philosophy and convictions and whose life and ministry demonstrate his dedication to our founding mission of preparing leaders for local church ministry and the world. Maranatha must never change its historic commitment to biblical authority, Baptist polity, evangelism, dispensational hermeneutics, personal holiness, doctrinal purity, and world missions. Maranatha must also be aggressive in pursuing new opportunities and responding to dramatic changes in culture and technology, and the Lord has blessed us with the resources and capabilities to stay current in those areas. Maranatha is unique in Christian higher education, providing academic excellence, intercollegiate athletics, and practical Christian service while maintaining the emphases on a strong Bible core and preparation for ministry that are central to our mission. That is all possible because the Lord has given us outstanding administrators, faculty, and staff who are second to none. Students receive more than an exceptional education because Maranatha prepares them for a mission, not just a profession; for a calling, not just a job. We are confident Dr. Marriott will exercise his own vision and creativity in leading Maranatha and the people who make it possible, and will also maintain the college’s historic mission and the sense of commitment and purpose that distinguishes Maranatha graduates.

Q: What was included in the Presidential Profile?
A: The Presidential Profile is a document the Board developed during this search process to describe the character, education, experience, and calling to ministry sought in a president. The primary requirements are that he meets the qualifications for the pastoral office provided in I Timothy 3; has a heart for Maranatha and its heritage; is an accomplished preacher with proven leadership and administrative capabilities; is committed to Maranatha’s historic mission and Baptist heritage; has an exemplary family and personal testimony; is a life-long student of Scripture; evidences strong character and biblical convictions balanced by a judicious spirit and calm temperament; and is known and respected by our alumni and constituent churches.

Q: What do you see as the president’s primary role?
A: The president has a number of important roles. He serves as its spiritual leader through a godly, humble life; by building positive personal relationships with students and staff; by maintaining a strong chapel ministry with passionate preaching; and by preserving the college’s historic mission, convictions, and values. The college is also a corporation, and the president serves the Board of Trustees as its chief executive officer, dealing with business, management, personnel, and legal concerns characteristic of a large organization. Like the president of any educational institution, he must attract exceptional, dedicated faculty and lead development of a dynamic, exemplary academic program. The president also represents the college to our constituency, building relationships with pastors, parents, prospective students, alumni, and donors. Among his most important responsibilities is to oversee a strategic process in consultation with the administration and the board that provides vision and direction for the future and identifies the strategies, projects, and programs designed to achieve specific objectives while preserving our mission and heritage.

Q: What is the Board’s role?
A: The Board’s most critical function is guarding and advancing the college mission. It accomplishes that responsibility through selecting a capable president who wholeheartedly supports that mission and by reviewing programs to ensure they are in alignment with it. The college is a corporation. So, under state law, the Board is vested with final authority and control. It determines basic policies, gives general direction in carrying them out, and may also decide specific questions and issues identified by the president, administration, and individual board members. The Board interacts with administration, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders through its committees and individual members, but is not involved in specific day-to-day decisions. Instead, it exercises control through the president, who is the corporation’s chief executive officer responsible for most management decisions. For example, the Board approves department heads and deans, but the president appoints faculty. Other board responsibilities include conserving and developing financial resources; deciding major changes to the grounds and facilities; setting fees for room, board, and tuition; and authorizing academic programs in cooperation with administration and faculty.

Q: How are members of the Board selected? How many Board members are there?
A: The Articles of Incorporation filed by Dr. Cedarholm in 1968 established a self-perpetuating board and named the original board members. The Board’s executive committee receives suggestions for new members, and the full board votes on those nominated by the committee. The Board currently has 16 members. It is, by design, divided between lay members and those in full-time ministry and includes individuals with diverse backgrounds and gifts. The board anticipates expanding membership in the near future. It seeks candidates who have demonstrated support of the college and spiritual qualifications for leadership and also possess qualities, experience, background, education, and records of achievement that will enhance the Board’s expertise and capabilities.

Q: Do you foresee the Board having more communication with students, faculty, and staff?
A: The Board certainly hopes to have more interaction with administration, faculty and students. However, devoting significant time to interaction is often difficult. Most members have extensive responsibilities for their own ministries and businesses, are heavily involved in their home churches and other volunteer ministries, serve without pay at Maranatha, and cover their own expenses to attend meetings. We are trying to address those challenges, and will work with Dr. Marriott to develop ways for the Board to be more connected with administration, faculty, staff and students. Ideas include an annual retreat with administration members, meetings with departments and faculty during board meetings, being invited by administration and faculty to participate in classes while on campus, and utilizing videoconferencing technology.