Faculty Development, Sense of Mission Are High Priorities for
New Provost Creed
by William A. Nunnelley
provost Brad Creed aims to be "a good sleuth who detects"
all the possibilities for building on Samford's strengths.
Dr. J. Bradley Creed grew up in east Texas and went to school
at Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Seminary in
Forth Worth. Apart from five years in northwestern Louisiana,
he has spent most of his life in the Lone Star state.
Creed joined Samford as associate provost during the summer of
2001, and the only thing that surprised him was “how quickly
I felt at home here.”
On June 1, Creed became Samford’s provost, or chief academic
officer, succeeding Dr. Joe O. Lewis, who retired in May.
“My nine months of hands-on training minimized the surprises,”
he said. “Coming here, I knew there were good students, and
that meant there had to be good teachers. But I have been impressed
with the faculty and how well they work together.”
The Jacksonville, Texas, native—known as Brad—brought
a good impression of Samford with him. He has an appreciation for
its distinctiveness, which he says “flows out of its mission
as a Christian university.”
Creed believes this mission sets Samford and other Christian schools
“Some view a college education as a transactional enterprise,”
he said. “This is the attitude that education can be defined
largely by majoring in a particular subject and completing a certain
number of specified credit hours. But a Samford education is more
transformational in its intention and essence. If the students so
desire, their education at Samford can become a life- changing experience.”
Beyond using his role to strengthen the academic quality of the
university, Creed has no initial, preconceived agenda in his role
as provost. In working with the administration, the deans and the
faculty, he hopes to build on the strengths of Samford and to take
advantage of opportunities for growth and development.
“I aim to be a good sleuth who detects possibilities that
are always waiting to be discovered,” he said.
Two particular areas of interest for Creed are faculty development
and the mission of Samford as a Christian university. Samford has
a good system in place for faculty development, he says, with its
sabbatical program, faculty development grants and occasional seminars,
such as one on scholarly publishing scheduled in August for the
back-to-school faculty workshop.
Church-related schools have the dual responsibility of providing
rigorous academics while remaining true to their mission, Creed
notes. “This does not happen automatically or by chance,”
he said, “but I believe our faculty are committed to enhancing
Creed came to Samford from Baylor, where he served eight years
as associate dean, dean and professor of Christian history at George
W. Truett Theological Seminary. During his tenure as associate dean
(1993–96) and dean (1996–2000), enrollment increased
at the newly opened seminary from 48 to 247.
He is an honor graduate of Baylor with M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees
from Southwestern Seminary. He also studied in Harvard University’s
Management Development Program and in language studies at Academia
Hispano Americano in Mexico.
Creed was pastor of First Baptist Church of Natchitoches, La.,
during 1988–93, also serving as an adjunct professor at Northwestern
(La.) State University.
The new provost believes “loving to learn is basic to good
teaching.” He has a wide range of interests including reading,
music, art, hiking, running and nature study. The latest book he
read was David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography,
John Adams. He is also a frequent speaker in churches and
before other groups.
Creed also stays busy with his family. He and his wife, Kathy,
have three children: Caitlin, 14, Charlie, 12, and Carrie Grace,
six. Kathy, who has a master’s in public school administration,
has also been a teacher and principal.
Creed plans to teach one course a year. This fall, it will be
Cultural Perspectives, the first half of an intellectual history
course that freshmen take.
Toward that end, he has been reading the classics and just completed
Antigone by Sophocles.