Skaug, Adams elected to new roles during Southwestern Seminary special board meeting

James A. Smith Sr.


Benjamin M. Skaug and Colby T. Adams were elected to new roles in the senior leadership of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary during a special meeting of the Board of Trustees, Feb. 15. 

Meeting via video conference, trustees unanimously elected Skaug as provost and vice president for academic administration and Adams as vice president for institutional administration. Skaug previously served as dean of Texas Baptist College (TBC), while Adams was vice president for strategic initiatives and chief of staff. 

Following the trustee meeting, President Adam W. Greenway appointed M. Todd Bates, dean, and Micah D. Carter, associate dean, of TBC, filling vacancies created by Skaug’s election.

Both elections and appointments are effective immediately.

“I’m delighted to have Dr. Skaug and Mr. Adams in these critically important senior leadership roles for our institution,” said Greenway. Together with Skaug and Adams, the President’s Cabinet also includes F. Edward Upton, vice president for institutional advancement. 

Concerning Skaug’s election, Greenway said, “After many months of prayer and seeking counsel from both inside and outside our seminary, I became convinced that the person God had prepared for the role of chief academic officer of this institution was already in our midst. In more than a year as dean of Texas Baptist College, Dr. Skaug has proven himself to be a highly effective academic administrator. As a pastor, theologian, and leader he is the right person to take on the immense responsibility of leading our institution’s academic administration. He has my utmost confidence, and I’m grateful for the affirmation of our Board of Trustees.”

Skaug said he was “honored” to be given the opportunity to assume the new role at the seminary.

“I’m grateful for the confidence Dr. Greenway and the Board of Trustees have placed in me,” he said. “It is an incredible blessing from God to be called to this position, although I feel the weight of both the responsibility and the opportunity that accompanies this office. I’m committed to leading the Academic Administration Division to fulfill Dr. Greenway’s ‘big-tent’ vision for this institution of a high view of Scripture, confessional fidelity, Great Commission priority, and denominational cooperation. I’m honored to serve our exemplary faculty, and I will do everything I can to make it even better.”

Skaug succeeds David S. Dockery, who was named interim provost and vice president for academic administration by Greenway in December 2020 after having served as distinguished professor of theology, theologian-in-residence for the B.H. Carroll Center for Baptist Heritage and Mission, and special consultant to the president since August 2019. Later, Dockery was named editor of Southwestern Journal of Theology, the seminary’s academic journal. Dockery, a 1981 Master of Divinity graduate of Southwestern Seminary, formerly served as president of Union University and Trinity International University, as well as other leadership roles in Christian higher education.

Dockery, who will continue to serve in the roles he held prior to becoming interim provost, offered his congratulations to Skaug and said as a “gifted preacher and communicator” he will “draw on his years of pastoral experience to help strengthen the efforts of the Southwestern community to serve both Baptist and evangelical congregations in a faithful manner in the years ahead. I know the Southwestern faculty and staff will join me in praying for Dr. Skaug as he assumes these new responsibilities.”

Greenway praised Dockery’s service as the seminary’s interim chief academic officer.

“David Dockery has been an immeasurable blessing to Southwestern Seminary as interim provost over the last 14 months,” Greenway said. “As a statesman in Christian higher education, Dr. Dockery’s service as our interim chief academic officer was enthusiastically received by our faculty and advanced our institution in significant ways. Taking on such a key role while continuing his significant portfolio of consequential duties for our institution has even further deepened my already tremendous respect for him. Dr. Skaug has a unique privilege to follow and to continue to learn from Dr. Dockery.”

As provost, Skaug will oversee the academic division, including four graduate schools and the undergraduate college, enrollment management and student life, and institutional effectiveness. 

Skaug, who came to Southwestern Seminary in 2021, previously served as vice president for institutional advancement at Gateway Seminary and director of development at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 2004 by Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho, and has pastored churches in California, Colorado, and South Carolina.

He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Gateway Seminary, holds the Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees from Southern Seminary, and earned an undergraduate degree from the College of Idaho. He is the author of Why Would a Loving God Send Anyone to Hell.

Concerning the election of Adams, Greenway said, “When I came to Southwestern Seminary nearly three years ago, Colby Adams was the first person I appointed to serve on my senior leadership team. Since that time, his extraordinary leadership has demonstrated he is ready for this expanded role. The institution is blessed to have Mr. Adams guiding the Institutional Administration Division.”

“I am grateful for the affirmation by the board of trustees,” said Adams. “I desire to lead the new Institutional Administration Division to do everything we can to deliver the best support to our students, faculty, and staff in order to advance the mission of this seminary to provide the very best theological education.”

Adams was elected in April of 2019 as vice president for strategic initiatives and chief of staff. In his new role he will continue to oversee communications, campus technology, and events management while assuming oversight of finance and human resources to create the new Institutional Administration Division. Responsibilities that were previously assigned to the vice president for business administration have been divided between the vice president for institutional advancement and the vice president for institutional administration. 

Adams came to Seminary Hill after five years of service at Southern Seminary where he was responsible for overseeing various aspects of digital communications, media relations, and marketing strategies. He has also served as the college pastor at Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. Before his service in Southern Baptist life, Adams spent several years working on political campaigns at both the state and federal level in Kentucky and Colorado.

A Lexington, Kentucky, native, Adams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky. He is currently completing a Master of Arts degree at Southwestern Seminary.

Greenway’s appointment of Bates as new TBC dean fills the vacancy created by Skaug’s election as provost, and his appointment of Carter as TBC associate dean, fills the role previously held by Bates. 

“Todd Bates and Micah Carter are the right leaders to take Texas Baptist College to the next level of academic excellence with Christian conviction,” Greenway said. “They are both tremendous scholars and committed churchmen, combining the traits we desire our faculty to model to our students. The future is bright for undergraduate education on Seminary Hill.”

Bates, who has served as professor of philosophy since 2021, earned his Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Arlington, Master of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, and Bachelor of Arts at the University of Central Florida. He has pastored churches in Alabama, Florida, and Texas, and his academic experience includes roles at Criswell College, Patrick Henry College, California Baptist University, and Houston Baptist University, where he served as dean of the School of Christian Thought. 

Bates has published journal articles in the Journal of Psychology and Christianity and Spirituality in Clinical Practice. He has published articles and chapters in the Evangelical Dictionary of World ReligionsThe Psychology of World Religions and Spiritualties, and Christian Psychotherapy in Context.

Carter, who also serves as assistant professor of theology, earned his Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Divinity from Southern Seminary and Bachelor of Arts from Blue Mountain College.

Prior to his TBC faculty service, which began this year, Carter served as a pastor in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. He also served at Lifeway Christian Resources, including as spokesperson for the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation and Christian Standard Bible translation coordinator. He has previously taught as adjunct faculty at the Southern Seminary, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Union University, and Campbellsville University.