LA MIRADA, CALIF. — After 20 years of transforming the Biola University community, Dennis Dirks has decided to step down from his position as the academic dean of Talbot School of Theology in June 2012.
“These 20 years as dean have been vocationally the most fulfilling of my life,” said Dirks. He leaves a strong legacy as leader of Biola’s largest graduate school.
Dirks has played an integral role in the Talbot community since 1970. The theologian took the position of dean in 1992 as the fifth dean of Talbot School of Theology. Prior to that, he spent nine years in other administrative roles within Talbot and seven years as a member of the faculty. After June, he will continue to be involved with Talbot in some capacity despite his decision to step down.
Over the years Dirks has significantly impacted Talbot. He planned and initiated two extension programs — the Charles L. Feinberg Center in Manhattan, New York, which offers a Master of Divinity in Messianic Jewish Studies, and the Kyiv Extension Program in Ukraine, which offers a Master of Arts in Biblical & Theological Studies.
Dirks continually worked to embody Biola’s mission and be an example of what the university stands for.
“In a robust academic setting, we desired to be a place where community would flourish and where giftedness had opportunity to thrive,” said Dirks. “We pursued becoming a place where self-denial is valued and academic arrogance and pride is rejected.”
Through his involvement in the Evangelical Theological Society, Evangelical Seminary Deans Council and the Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents, Dirks brought Talbot international recognition.
Recognized with numerous university awards for his leadership and commitment over the years, Dirks legacy will continue long after he leaves. Dirks looks forward to watch Talbot continue to grow even if from a distance.
“In this vibrant setting, Talbot has uniquely strong years ahead,” he said. “Without question, Talbot's best years are yet to come."
After an extensive nationwide search, Biola vice provost David Nystrom announced in April that Clint Arnold has been selected as the final candidate for Talbot’s next dean. Arnold currently serves as professor of New Testament language and literature and chair of the New Testament department.
Biola University, named one of 17 “up and coming” national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2011, is a private Christian university located in Southern California. For more than 100 years, Biola has remained committed to its mission of biblically centered education, integrating biblical principles with every academic program. With a current record-high enrollment of 6,250 students, the university’s six schools offer 145 academic programs, ranging from the B.A. to the Ph.D. For more information, visit www.biola.edu.