Know and Be Known

Kathy Dean Learning, Spring 2018

“At University of Mobile, to ‘Know and Be Known’ is really a lifetime journey about the process of preparing intellectually and spiritually. In the journey of a life, it’s about bringing Christ to the forefront, so that He is the one to be known through your faith and your works.” – Dr. Timothy L. Smith, President 

“This is a university that is focused,that is Christ-centered. We know who we’re serving. We know our purpose.” – Dr. Timothy L. Smith

University of Mobile is on the move – energetic and eager for a new journey. “We’re on the move to serve Christ in a very distinctive way that allows us to be very intentional, very focused, and very aggressive to be a leader in Christian higher education. I’m excited about that opportunity,” said University of Mobile President Timothy L. Smith, PhD, PhD.

When Smith arrived in April 2016 as the fourth president of the university founded in 1961 by Alabama Baptists, he was impressed with the institution’s theological focus and strong Christian heritage, beautiful campus and sense of community.

It was a solid basis for an expanded mission and vision to bring more academic programs and opportunities for students to fulfill their professional calling for a Great Commission purpose. And so began “A New Day, A New Journey” that would jumpstart the next phase in the life of University of Mobile.

Four core values give structure to the journey. They are: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted and Distinctively-Driven. “This is a university that is focused, that is Christ-centered. We know who we’re serving. We know our purpose. Because we’re student-devoted, we are able to be future-directed,” Smith said.

The initial steps in the new journey “required building new programs; it’s required shifting responsibilities around. It’s required looking at facilities and figuring out how we maximize our facilities for the purpose of student growth and achieving our Great Commission calling. I think down the road we will continue that, because our work is never done,” he added.

A five-year strategic plan, titled “Many Partners, One Mission,” was approved by the UM Board of Trustees in mid- 2017. Among its 107 initiatives is the goal of increasing enrollment – a goal Smith said was very achievable with the growth in academic programs and workforce development partnerships.

Already, the university:
• Successfully rebranded
• Added 9 new degree programs
• Anticipate adding 11 new degree
programs in Fall 2018
• Required weekly chapel
• Returned graduation to campus
• Restructured and created new
academic areas
• Launched Focus Friday 4-day
academic week
• Created the Great Commission Tradition
• Started a concierge model of customer
service
• Increased enrollment by 124 students
• Raised the academic profile
• Earned its top U.S. News & World Report
rankings

Reflecting the university’s biblical worldview are the words imago Dei, seen on the back of the UM t-shirts students wear on campus and throughout the community, including at events like UM’s annual Project Serve.

Another is the phrase “Know and Be Known.”

“We want you to know your discipline. We want you to know Christ,” Smith said. “Then there’s the point where you leave this institution, and ‘Be Known’ is not simply being known for your achievements. It’s about being known for the purpose of Christ.”

About the Author
Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean

Kathy is an award-winning media relations director and former journalist whose expertise has enabled the University of Mobile to gain national and regional attention. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Auburn University and worked as a journalist for 12 years, including 10 years at the Mobile Press-Register, earning regional and national awards for coverage of education, deadline reporting and feature writing. She joined the University of Mobile staff in 1993, earning awards for writing and public relations including the Baptist Communicators Association grand prize for feature writing in 2015 and 2012. She is a charter member of Providence United Methodist Church, serves on the board of the John Will Scholarship Foundation, and is a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama, Baptist Communicators Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. Kathy lives in Daphne with her husband, Chuck, who earned his M.B.A. from the University of Mobile. They have two children and two grandchildren.