WALNUT RIDGE – Williams Baptist University (WBU) Board of Trustees approved April 5 a $14.3 million budget for the 2019-20 school year, which reflects a 3 percent increase from last year’s spending plan.
Included in the new budget are new academic programs and authorization of a new fundraising foundation for the university, according to Brett Cooper, vice president for creative services and technology and special assistant to the president
The 2019-20 budget will take effect when the new fiscal year begins July 1.
“This budget provides careful stewardship of the university’s resources, and it is focused on our mission of providing an excellent, holistically Christian liberal arts education. More than dollars on a spreadsheet, this budget reflects our ongoing commitment to transform the lives of WBU students,” said Stan Norman, president.
New academic programs are approved by the board include Bachelor of Science in K-12 Instrumental Music Education, which will be launched for students who wish to become instrumental music teachers. The board also approved curriculum for the new Bachelor of Science in Health Studies - Gerontology, and curriculum was approved for a criminal justice concentration block within the liberal arts degree program.
The board also approved the establishment of the Williams Baptist University Foundations for the Future, as well as an executive committee for the group.
J.R. Cox of Walnut Ridge will serve as chairman of the Foundations for the Future executive committee, along with Jim Hayes of Franklin, Tenn., vice chairman and Joe Shell of Batesville, secretary. Jay Shell of Batesville, board chairman Dave Russell of Jonesboro, and trustee Jeff Dial of Little Rock also serve on the committee.
“The Foundations for the Future and the supporters who have agreed to help lead it will represent a major step forward for WBU. The executive committee will provide us with valuable guidance as we seek to provide Williams with the resources it needs to fully meet its mission,” said Doug Walker, vice president for institutional advancement and operations.
Seventy-five students are expected to graduate at commencement exercises May 4, including the first graduates from WBU’s master’s program. Five graduates will be conferred the Master of Arts in Teaching degree, making them the first to complete the university’s graduate program.