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Board of Regents Wrap-Up


Trinity International University regents unanimously approved an eight-year strategic plan, the appointments of two new academic deans, and a new operating budget during meetings Feb. 26-27 on the Deerfield campus.

 The strategic plan, titled “Heritage and Hope: Trinity 2023,” presents 12 institutional priorities and more than 120 initiatives that will guide the University as it approaches its 125th anniversary in the 2022-23 academic year.

“This plan was shaped not only by an appreciation for Trinity’s heritage, but also the Christ-centered hope with which we will proceed,” President David S. Dockery said. “The Trinity community will be prepared to address the challenges of delivering higher education in the 21st century.”

Dockery said the strategic plan could be updated during the eight-year cycle, and that some of the initiatives are already underway or completed.

He presented a draft of the strategic plan to faculty and staff during campus meetings on Feb. 16. Dockery told the board there is “buy-in and enthusiasm” about the plan throughout the Trinity community.

The board also unanimously approved the appointment of new academic deans for Trinity College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Thomas H. L. Cornman will assume the role of Trinity College dean in the summer.

He brings more than 30 years of experience in the field of higher education. He comes to Trinity from Cedarville University in Ohio, where he is vice president for academics and chief academic officer.

Among Cornman’s five academic degrees are a PhD in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s degree from Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, Calif.

“I see the role of the dean of the college as one that comes alongside the faculty,” Cornman said. “We will set aside time to have town hall meetings to consider things the faculty ultimately will vote on for our shared work.”

Cornman said he would meet individually with each Trinity faculty member to explore their hopes and aspirations. He praised the depth of academic administration experience within the Trinity board.

“With the wealth of experience here, I know I have a sounding board—a group that will be here to encourage me and advise me,” Cornman said.

Graham A. Cole returns to Trinity to serve as dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Cole was professor of biblical and systematic theology at TEDS from 2002 until 2011, when he left to serve on the faculty of Samford University’s Beeson School of Divinity.

Among Cole’s six academic degrees are a bachelor of divinity with honors from the University of London and a ThD from the Australian College of Theology.

Cole said the learning process always must involve face-to-face interaction, whether in a classroom or an online setting. He also stressed strong connections with churches and a commitment to biblical authority.

“When it comes to the theological side, we need to be faithful to scripture—evangelical to the core,” Cole said. “When it comes to the educational side, we need to help people learn not only things to think, but how to think and how to learn, so that process doesn’t terminate at the end of a course.”

The board honored outgoing Dean Tite Tiénou from TEDS and Jeanette Hsieh from Trinity College. In separate resolutions, Tiénou was named Dean Emeritus and Hsieh was named Provost Emeritus.

Among other board actions:

  • Regents adopted a Board Policy Manual that clarifies the role of the overall board, committees and the University administration. Steve Hawn, chair of the Board governance and development committee, described it as a hybrid governance model that reflects the values of Trinity.
  • Regents revised Trinity’s bylaws, including an extension of board terms from three years to four years. Members may serve up to three consecutive terms. The change aligns with the new biennial national conference schedule of the Evangelical Free Church of America. The EFCA appoints half of the Trinity board members. Another change revised the board’s committee structure.
  • Regents approved a new operating budget of nearly $34 million. The 2014-15 budget extends 10 months rather than 12 months in order to better align the fiscal year with academic calendars. The new fiscal year will run May 1- April 30. The new budget includes a two percent pay increase for faculty and staff.


Graham Cole Returns to TEDS as Dean

Graham A. Cole, a former professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, has been chosen as the school’s new academic dean, effective July 1.

Cole, a native of Australia, brings more than 30 years of experience in theological education, both as an administrator and as a faculty member.

In addition to his duties as dean, Cole also will serve as professor of biblical and systematic theology.

“Graham Cole is a well-respected theologian, prolific author, and experienced administrator,” President David S. Dockery said. “He will bring long-standing relationships with Trinity faculty, staff, and alumni to his new leadership role at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.”

A campus committee conducted a national search for the new dean, and affirmed Cole unanimously. The Trinity board of regents approved Cole’s hiring at a meeting this week.

Members of the search committee said Cole already has many academic connections with the TEDS faculty.

“Graham Cole was well-known to the search committee,” said Research Professor of Systematic Theology Kevin Vanhoozer. “All of us on the committee quickly agreed that his wisdom and winsomeness made a winning combination.”

“Dr. Cole made invaluable contributions to TEDS as a theologian,” said Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology Peter Cha, also a search committee member. “We look forward to what lies ahead as he serves as the new dean.”

“During his time as a faculty member at TEDS, Dr. Cole was highly respected and deeply appreciated for his clear commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, his theological wisdom, and ability to interact meaningfully with very diverse groups,” said Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Intercultural Studies Harold Netland. “His classes were very popular with students, and faculty consistently looked to him for guidance. It is a real delight to welcome him back to the TEDS community!”

“We are delighted to welcome Graham and (his wife) Jules Cole back to the TEDS community,” said Associate Professor of New Testament Dana M. Harris. “We are thankful for their willingness to serve in this capacity and are looking forward to Graham’s capable and wise leadership.”

The many collaborations with members of the TEDS faculty include The God Who Became Human: A Biblical Theology of Incarnation and God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom, two books for the InterVarsity Press series “New Studies in Biblical Theology” that is edited by TEDS Research Professor of New Testament Don A. Carson.

Cole also has contributed to important works on the importance of historical biblical and theological interpretation with Jim Hoffmeier, professor of Old Testament and ancient near eastern history and archaeology, and Dennis Magary, chair of the Old Testament and Semitic languages department. Cole and Vanhoozer worked together on a project on the theological interpretation of the Bible.

Cole’s writings on the Holy Spirit were included in a series from Crossway Books and edited by John S. Feinberg, TEDS professor of biblical and systematic theology.

Among Cole’s six academic degrees are a bachelor of divinity with honors from the University of London and a ThD from the Australian College of Theology.

Current TEDS Dean Tite Tiénou will retire from the position this spring. Tiénou, who has served at TEDS since 1997, will continue at Trinity through the work of the Center for Global Theology and World Christianity.

In 2011, Cole’s previous tenure at TEDS ended when he accepted a position to teach theology at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala.

“Dr. Graham Cole is a wonderful scholar and friend and has done a great job at Beeson,” said Dean Timothy George. “We send him back to Trinity with our love and best wishes for his new work there.”

In addition to TEDS and Beeson, Cole has served at Moore College in Sydney, the University of Sydney, the Australian College of Theology and the University of Melbourne, where he served for a decade as principal of Ridley College.

“An outstanding scholar and dedicated churchman, Dr. Cole’s commitment to Christ, to the people of God, and to the best of serious theological education make him an ideal person to lead the Divinity School to new and hopeful days,” Dockery said.

Thomas Cornman Selected as New Dean of Trinity College

Thomas H.L. Cornman, a veteran of more than three decades of service in Christian higher education, has been appointed dean of Trinity International University’s undergraduate college.

Since 2009, Cornman has served as vice president for academics and chief academic officer at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. He supervised six deans and eight department chairs as well as the university registrar. In addition to these administrative duties, Cornman served as professor of history, teaching both traditional and online courses.

Prior to Cedarville, Cornman served from 2001–2009 at Moody Bible Institute as vice president and dean of the undergraduate school. Prior to that appointment, Cornman served Moody as a department chair and faculty member, beginning his work there in 1982.

“What a joy it will be to welcome Tom Cornman to Trinity,” President David S. Dockery said. “Dr. Cornman is a highly competent administrator, a solution-oriented manager, a highly-regarded ambassador for Christian higher education and the liberal arts, and a faithful churchman. Trinity will be blessed to be the beneficiary of his excellence-driven leadership in his new roles in Trinity’s academic administration.”

Among Cornman’s five academic degrees are a PhD in history from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s degree from Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, Calif.

Cornman served as an adjunct associate professor of church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2005 and 2009.

Among his many publications are an edited volume Proclaiming Jesus: Essays on the Centrality of Christ in the Church in Honor of Joseph Stowell, published by Moody Publishers in 2007, and a single-authored work titled Caterpillars and Newfangled Religion: The Struggle for the Soul of Colonial American Presbyterianism, published by University Press of America in 2003.

His positions in Christian higher education have made Cornman well-known throughout the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, an organization of which Trinity is a member.

“Tom Cornman is widely respected as a leader among academic leaders — a strategic thinker who knows what it means to be intentional about loving God with one’s mind,” said Gene Fant, provost and professor of English at Palm Beach Atlantic University, a CCCU-member institution. “I congratulate Trinity College on their choice, which enriches an already strong reputation as an institution that values the Christian intellectual tradition.”

Cornman was selected after a national search. The committee that reviewed candidates recommended him unanimously to the Trinity board of regents, who approved the appointment at their February meeting.

“Our committee was praying we could nominate a dean who had experience with demonstrated leadership, ability to recruit, support and retain excellent faculty, work collaboratively and successfully with faculty and upper level administration and prompt an environment for enrollment growth,” said Professor of Christian Ministries Gregory Carlson, who served on the search committee. “I believe we have found such a person in Dr. Cornman.”

“Dr. Tom Cornman brings a wealth of higher education experience reflecting the perspectives of both an academic administrator and a faculty member,” said Professor of Biology Joyce Shelton, another member of the search committee. “He has an innate understanding of the value of a Christian liberal arts education in the creation of interdisciplinary critical thinkers who will be both excellent professionals and long-term learners. He will resonate with and lead our community at Trinity College and Graduate School very well.”

Current Trinity College Dean Jeanette Hsieh will retire from the position this spring. Hsieh also served as provost, interim president and as a faculty member in her 18 years at Trinity. She will continue in an advisory capacity in the months following her retirement.

Cornman will assume his duties as dean in the summer of 2015.

Trinity Unveils “Heritage and Hope: Trinity 2023 Strategic Plan”

Trinity International University regents unanimously approved a new strategic plan that will guide the institution during the next eight years.

“Heritage and Hope: Trinity 2023” proposes about 125 initiatives that fall under 12 overarching priorities. It emerges in a time of change for higher education, with large and ongoing shifts in philosophies, methodologies and delivery systems.

“While it is impossible to keep up with these never-ending changes, this plan seeks to provide a hopeful path toward Christ-centered, church-connected and culturally engaged education,” President David S. Dockery said. “This path will be faithful to Trinity’s institutional and evangelical heritage.”

The first five priorities call on Trinity to celebrate its institutional heritage as a hopeful resource for advancing its mission, ensure Christ-centered faithfulness, refine the work of institutional oversight, develop a coherent, synergistic and strategic approach to leadership, management and administration, and strengthen the commitment to intellectual seriousness and academic rigor while exploring new academic programs, offerings and services.

The next four priorities will create a context for continuous quality improvement, prioritize student recruitment and service to students, enrich the student learning experience, and improve support for Trinity faculty and staff.

The final three priorities call for continued stewardship of the financial and facility resources, expansion of the strategic work of the University, constituent relations and enhanced technological support.

Larry Collett, a leading business leader and member of the Trinity board of regents observed in voicing his support for the plan that it “is certainly comprehensive in its scope and its attention to all aspects of the University.”

Bill Jones, another board of regents member who is a pastor in the St. Louis area, praised the plan as “impressive and comprehensive.”

Judy Bradish, a board of regents member, observed that “the plan addresses Trinity’s immediate concerns such as enrollment, the need for a comprehensive campaign, and many other far-reaching yet realistic goals.”

Melody McSparran, also a member of the board of regents, called the plan “bold and ambitious,” while celebrating “the Christ-centered wisdom that permeates the plan.”

Research Professor of Church History John Woodbridge described the plan as “a masterpiece of strategic planning, which captures so well the implications of the themes of heritage and hope.”

The 125 initiatives will touch all phases of the University’s operation. Among those initiatives:

  • Develop new strategies to strengthen enrollment and student services
  • Beautify and maximize the use of existing facilities
  • Open new extension sites in the U.S. and Asia
  • Increase healthcare education options
  • Expansion of both traditional and online initiatives for both undergraduate and graduate programs
  • Strengthen retention rates
  • Enhance relationships with the EFCA and other churches, networks and denominations across the evangelical world
  • Enlarge Trinity’s intercultural and international commitments
  • Expand community outreach programs

The time frame for the plan coincides with Trinity’s forthcoming 125th anniversary in the 2022–23 academic year.

“This plan is not merely a response to the latest trends or most urgent challenges,” Dockery said. “It is an attempt to create a shared vision, mission and identity that will take precedence in all things on our campus and ground our efforts in the gospel message with which we have been entrusted.”

Dr. Washington leaving Trinity for a new opportunity of service

Dear Trinity Students,

I wanted to let you know that following more than 25 years of service to the Trinity community, Dr. William Washington, senior vice president for student life, has informed us that he has been led to leave Trinity for a new opportunity of service at Bethel University in Minnesota. I know you will join with me in expressing deep gratitude to Dr. Washington for his faithful service to Trinity through the years. We certainly want to wish the best for Dr. Washington and his family, as well as for our friends at Bethel, as all of them begin this new chapter together. We will look for a time in the near future to gather together to thank Dr. Washington for his years of service for and investment in hundreds and hundreds of Trinity students.

In the short term we will be inviting Dean Felix Theonugraha to provide interim leadership for our student life work during the forthcoming time of transition. Vice President Rich Grimm will provide oversight for the work of athletics, working closely with Dr. Tony Ladd and the coaches. We will immediately begin to think about new opportunities of structure and service in the area of student life, seeking to determine the best timing for the forthcoming changes. In the meantime, I know you will join me in praying for and providing hopeful encouragement to our outstanding student life staff as we all seek to move forward to advance the Trinity mission.

Please encourage one another as we look forward together toward new opportunities for Trinity, even as we offer thanks to God for Dr. Washington and his years of service at Trinity. May the Lord be with you!


President Dockery

EFCA Theology Conference—2nd Largest on Record


The EFCA Theology Conference was held on the Trinity International University campus the end of January. The Preconference topic addressed the important theme of “Soteriological Essentials and the Significance of Silence: Arminianism/Wesleyanism, Calvinism/Reformed (baptist) and Lutheranism and the EFCA.” The Conference theme was “The Doctrine of the Scriptures.”

There were over 400 in attendance, which is the second largest Theology Conference on record. The Scriptures and soteriology (and doctrine/theology more broadly) matter to the EFCA, its pastors and churches. These topics provided an excellent opportunity for the EFCA and TEDS to partner as most of the plenary speakers are or had been associated with TEDS.

Here is what one stated regarding the Preconference: “The pre-conference was exceptionally valuable. The people with whom I attended were blessed to see the spirited defense of the various soteriological positions combined with the deep love and respect that the presenters had for one another. I think they learned more from the example of the presenters than they did from their presentations and they learned a lot from the presentations.”

Another writes of the significance of the Conference: “The conference theme was fantastic. In every area of ministry, I find people questioning the authenticity, authority, value, and application of Scripture. This was a great idea for a theme.” And “conference subject matter provided lots of action-items for my return to ministry; likewise, it provided much encouragement for keeping the Word of God central in our work. Great choice of material!”

All of the recordings (audio and video) along with notes will be posted on the EFCA website.

Wayne Kijanowski Funeral Service

A funeral service for Wayne Kijanowski will be conducted Saturday, February 14, at 9:45 a.m. in the Arnold T. Olson Chapel chapel on the Trinity campus. It will also be live-streamed at

A viewing will begin at 8:30 a.m. Interment will follow the funeral service at an off-campus location and will be attended only by family members.

We ask staff, faculty, and students who attend the funeral service to park in the commuter lot or Meyer Sports Complex lot, leaving the Mansion circle and Rodine lots open for Wayne’s family and off-campus guests.

Remember, if you are desirous to meet individually with a counselor, contact Counseling Services by phone at (847) 317-4067 or by email at Counselors are also available to meet and provide services on location for any group on campus. Referrals for off-campus services are also available, if needed.