Longtime C-N Religion Professor Named VP for Student Affairs
Carson-Newman President Randall O’Brien has appointed Dr. Ross Brummett to be the College’s vice president for Student Affairs. The announcement was made following a meeting of the executive committee of the institution’s Board of Trustees. Brummett succeeds Rodney Dyer, who is leaving C-N in order to join the executive staff of Piedmont College.
“The decision to ask Ross Brummett to fulfill this crucial role for Carson-Newman was the best way I know to convey how very important students are,” said O’Brien, who has known the religion professor for almost 30 years. “He may be the best academic advisor on the planet, he has long been Carson-Newman’s faculty point person for athletics and he is gifted in terms of institutional memory.”
Brummett was honored in April as the College’s Distinguished Faculty Member, which is C-N’s highest professorial award. He has previously won the institution’s Creativity in Teaching Award, the Outstanding Academic Advisor Award, the Outstanding Teacher of Freshmen Award, and the Outstanding Mentor Award.
The president said Brummett’s transition will be of “great benefit” to the entire campus.
“Between teaching and his work with athletics, Ross has influenced about 500 students per year,” he assessed. “This role means that his realm of influence has more than quadrupled. I couldn’t be more pleased that Ross is willing to use his gifts of advocacy, administration and approachability to serve our students on the macro level.”
Brummett will begin his Student Affairs duties on Monday, August 1. He will oversee the offices of the Dean of Students, Residence Life, Recreation Services, Safety & Security, Student Services, First Year Services, Camps and Conferences, Campus Ministries, Campus Post Office, Health Services and Appalachian Outreach.
Given his love for the work, his colleagues and students, which he says is “woven into the very fibers of my inner being,” the decision to make the change was initially “a very, very difficult one.”
Ultimately, he said, “Three things made it easy… my unswerving belief in and commitment to Dr. O’Brien’s presidency at this point in Carson-Newman’s history, the extreme high quality of the staff folk within Student Affairs, and my sense that this job is a place where God has called me to at this point in time.”
An Arkansas native and Jefferson City resident, Brummett joined C-N’s faculty in 1987 as an assistant professor and director of the Norton Institute of Christian Ministries. Tasked with the implementation of an associate degree program, he recruited students, enlisted faculty support, devised a course schedule and developed a budget. One function, advising students, became central to his work and would earn him the high regard of both students and colleagues. Over the last two decades, he led academic advising workshops and co-wrote the corresponding handbook.
Beyond teaching introductory courses in both biblical Testaments, Brummett has specialized in theology courses and spiritual growth and development. While rising from the teaching ranks, from assistant to associate to full professor, he has served on a number of diverse committees, including Academic Programs and Standards, Admissions, Multicultural Awareness, the Ernest L. Boyer Laboratory for Learning, and Adult Education. Other campus roles have included task forces, ad hoc groups and a number of boards, councils and teams.
As C-N’s faculty athletics representative since 1995, Brummett has worked on scores of College, regional and national committees. At the national level, he has served as a member of the NCAA Division II Management Council, the Division II Legislation Committee, and the Faculty Athletics Representatives Association Executive Council. He authored the College’s compliance manuals relating to both the South Atlantic Conference and the NCAA.
He earned the BA from Ouachita Baptist University and both the MDiv and PhD from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. An ordained minister, he has served in numerous ministerial roles, including summer camp staffer, summer missionary, youth minister and pastor. During his C-N tenure, he has served as interim pastor of six area churches.
Brummett’s wife, Lea Ann, works in administrative support at Jefferson Elementary School. They are active members of Jefferson City’s First Baptist Church and have two children. Molly is a 2010 C-N graduate and a current student at Wake Forest Divinity School. Will is a junior at Elon University.
O’Brien noted his gratitude for Brummett’s predecessor, saying, “Rodney Dyer has been an incredible leader for Carson-Newman. He was an important part of developing our Life Directions Center and took with him to Student Affairs a commitment to student-centric excellence. We will miss him and Sandy, and we pray for God’s blessings on them.”