Guest Blog by Dr. Ryan Tipton, Acting Provost
With Dr. Elyn Palmer transitioning to a new position as Dean of the College of Education, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Danny Kirkpatrick as Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Effective immediately, Dr. Kirkpatrick will join with Dr. Palmer and me as a member of the Academic Affairs leadership team and the Dean’s Council to implement new initiatives for the 2019-2020 academic year. Dr. Kirkpatrick’s notable success in grant writing and building external partnerships and academic programs makes him a particularly valuable addition to the College of Arts and Sciences and the University.
A native of Pampa (TX), Danny, Michelle, and their three children moved to Lovington in 2011 when he was called to serve as Pastor of the First Baptist Church. Soon thereafter Danny began doctoral studies at the University of Wales at Spurgeon College in the United Kingdom. Danny eventually was recruited by USW President Dr. Gary Dill to serve USW as campus chaplain and Assistant Professor of Christian Studies once he entered the dissertation phase of his doctoral studies. Since defending his dissertation, Danny has been engaged in several innovative programs.
Danny has served as USW’s liaison to NetVUE (Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education) that resulted from a $50,000 grant proposal that he wrote to win support from the Lily Endowment to pave the way for USW’s CASTLE Center. A second successful grant proposal provided $10,000 from external sources to develop vocational resources and discernment practices for young adults to explore interests in Christian ministry. As important as these grants have been to the College of Arts and Sciences, perhaps his most important endeavor has involved establishing a partnership with the New Mexico Department of Corrections and the Lea County Correctional Facility to deliver undergraduate curriculum to inmates.
Danny is the founding program coordinator for the first privately-funded educational outreach program in New Mexico aimed at helping inmates earn baccalaureate degrees while incarcerated. Known affectionately as the “Seminary Program” by participants, Danny has overseen the development of three cohorts of student-inmates from start to finish and been instrumental in administering all phases of this highly innovative program, from design through graduation. Danny’s personal statement reveals his passion for servant leadership and higher education:
“I have a passion for working with the disadvantaged. I worked for years with the homeless, working directly in providing them housing, employment, and recovery services. My wife and I have done foster care in three states (taking some 20 children into our home – not all at the same time of course!). We had the joy of adopting our two daughters. I have also gone to Africa to provide education, housing, food, and clean water. There, I spent time with the deaf, those suffering from AIDS, and inmates in a maximum security prison. In Hobbs, I remain active in prison ministry.
I am truly honored to serve as Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. With the university’s excellent administration matched with the diligent leadership of our former Dean, I know exciting days are ahead. I am delighted to have such a strong and dedicated faculty dedicated to serving our students. Together, we will exhibit the best of USW.”