John Wesley Taylor V, an associate director of education at the General Conference, has been chosen as the next president of Andrews University.
According to a statement published on the university's website, the Andrews University Board of Trustees elected Taylor in an executive session on March 7. Andrea Luxton, who has served as the university president for the past seven years, is retiring on July 1.
Taylor completed his undergraduate education at Weimar College, earning religion and health science degrees. He completed master’s degrees in educational administration and instructional technology, along with a doctor of education degree from the University of Virginia and a PhD in curriculum and instruction from Andrews University.
Since 2010, Taylor has been an associate director of the Department of Education for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. During that time, he has also served as an executive secretary for the Adventist Accrediting Association, the denominational accrediting authority.
Previously, Taylor was a professor and dean in the School of Education and Psychology at Southern Adventist University, a professor and associate dean at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in the Philippines, and a professor and founding dean for graduate studies at Montemorelos University in Mexico.
According to the statement from Andrews University, the search committee began the selection process in September 2022. “This committee has been very careful and conscientious in evaluating almost 150 different well-qualified candidates from around the world—which included a number of minorities, women and men,” said committee chair Artur Stele, who is a vice president for the General Conference.
Taylor’s selection stands in contrast with the past two presidents of the university, who both had served in executive roles at higher education institutions—Niels-Erik Andreasen as the president of Walla Walla College and Andrea Luxton as a vice president for academic affairs and the president of two higher educational institutions. Before becoming president, Luxton also served as the provost of Andrews University.
As previously reported by Spectrum, current university provost Christon Arthur was the other finalist going into the March 7 selection. While Arthur’s experience mirrored that of Andrea Luxton, he had recently become the target of an email and online attack stemming from a departmental dispute.
Sources close to the university interviewed by Spectrum expressed concerns about Taylor’s qualifications for the executive role. Andrews University is also home to the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, which educates male and female ministers from North America and around the world on its main campus, along with operating extension sites on four continents.
According to the university’s statement, Taylor will be formally confirmed as president by the board of trustees on June 1, 2023.
Alex Aamodt is the managing digital editor of Spectrum.
Image credit: General Conferece of Seventh-day Adventists Education Department / Andrews University.
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