Samford Publications  

Faculty Development, Sense of Mission Are High Priorities for New Provost Creed

by William A. Nunnelley

New 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 apart.

“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 this mission.”

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.


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Maintained by University Relations. Last updated: December 11, 2002

Summer 2002
Vol. 19, No. 2

Seasons Staff

William Nunnelley
Mary Wimberley
Associate Editor
Sean Flynt
Contributing Writer
Janica York
Publications Manager
Scott Camp
Graphic Designer
Donna Fitch
Web Designer & Editor
Caroline Baird Summers

Samford University Alumni Association Officers 2002-03

Bennie Bumpers '63
Sonya Bumpers '63

Tom Armstrong '73
Vice President

Brooke Dill Stewart '95

Seasons is published quarterly by Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, Alabama 35229, and is distributed free to all alumni of the University, as well as to other friends. Samford University is an Equal Opportunity Institution and welcomes applications for employment and educational programs from all individuals regardless of race, color, age, sex, disability or national or ethnic origin.