WBU Board Approves Budget, 2023 Graduates

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – Trustees at Williams Baptist University approved the budget for the 2023-24 school year Tuesday, April 18. The Board of Trustees, meeting in regular session on the WBU campus, also gave its approval to a large slate of graduates for the upcoming commencement exercises, as well as a new policy for faculty sabbaticals.

The board approved a budget of $19.1 million for the upcoming year, reflecting a 4.5 percent increase from the current year. WBU’s fiscal year begins on July 1.

“We endeavored to present a conservative budget that addresses the realities of inflation while also staying within our means as a university,” said Williams President Dr. Stan Norman. “This budget allows WBU to provide the academically outstanding, Christ-centered education it is known for, and it does so in a fiscally responsible manner.”

The WBU Class of 2023 received the board’s stamp of approval. Trustees voted to approve a slate of 135 graduates, which will be one of the largest in the university’s history. Commencement exercises are set for May 6 on the Williams campus.

Trustees also gave their approval to a new policy on sabbatical leave for WBU faculty members. Sabbaticals provide a period of time away from the classroom to help faculty achieve professional and intellectual development through study, research, writing, creative activities and scholarly engagement. Faculty members can apply for sabbatical leave in their sixth year of full-time employment.

Applications are considered by the academic dean and a faculty committee. The policy was developed by an ad hoc committee of WBU faculty.

“We are very pleased to have this formalized procedure for sabbatical leave approved for our faculty,” Norman said. “I congratulate the ad hoc committee on formulating a policy that is fair to our faculty and achievable for the institution. The board’s approval of this measure is an important step for Williams as a university, and it will be valuable in both retaining and recruiting quality faculty members.”

And the board congratulated two WBU employees for their achievements. Dr. Ruth Provost, chair of the WBU psychology department, was thanked for heading the university’s efforts in its recent accreditation visit. Williams was given a full, 10-year extension and one of its best accreditation reviews ever by the Higher Learning Commission.

And Josh Austin was recognized for notching the most wins of any coach in WBU men’s basketball history. Austin, who recently completed twelfth season with the Eagles, has amassed 166 wins in that time.

“Dr. Provost and Coach Austin have both earned our congratulations for the work they do at WBU,” the president commented. “Beyond the achievements we recognized today, both of these individuals are of the highest Christian character, and they pour themselves into the lives of Williams students. We salute them for being used of the Lord in such a wonderful way.”

WBU trustees are appointed by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. The board meets three times yearly.

Williams is a private, Christian university in Walnut Ridge.

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