North Greenville University Announces New Academic Appointments

(November 5, 2018) The North Greenville University (NGU) Office of Academic Affairs announced Monday that new administrative changes are coming.

Dr. Linwood Hagin, currently dean of the College of Communication, will be promoted to associate provost for undergraduate studies and academic administration. Dr. Larry McDonald, currently dean of the Graduate School of Christian Ministry, will be promoted to associate provost for graduate programs and dean of the T. Walter Brashier Graduate School. He will continue to serve as the director of the Doctor of Ministry program and as professor of Christian spirituality. Also, Dr. Jill Rayburn, currently the director of academic engagement and outreach, has been named the assistant provost for academic outreach and director of professional programs. All three appointments are effective January 1, 2019.

Hagin was most recently dean of the College of Communication at NGU. Since 2015, he has also been the associate vice president of academics. In addition to his duties in the Office of Academics, he will be interacting more with the undergraduate college deans for curriculum and budgetary matters. Hagin worked eight years in radio news and management before beginning his academic career. He has served on the faculty of six universities before coming to NGU in 1999.

He earned his doctorate from the University of Tennessee in communication, his master’s from the University of Minnesota in broadcast journalism, and his bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in speech communication and German, with a minor in journalism.

“I look forward to my continued involvement with the NGU academics office and with new Provost Dr. Nathan Finn. I will be able to provide daily, operational support to the provost’s and the president’s vision for academic alignment,” Hagin said.

McDonald has served NGU since 2008. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Reformed Theological Seminary. He formerly taught at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, GA and as visiting professor at the Uganda Baptist Seminary and the Tyndale Theological Seminary (Netherlands). Also, he served as senior pastor for almost 20 years and continues to serve as interim pastor in churches. He and his wife have led short-term mission trips for many years, including eight trips to Uganda, East Africa.

McDonald authored “The Merging of Theology and Spirituality,” co-edited and contributed to “A Passion for the Great Commission,” and wrote a chapter on the preaching of John Bunyan in the two-volume work, “A Legacy of Preaching: The Life, Theology, and Method of History’s Great Preachers.” In addition, he contributed articles to both “The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization” and “The Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States.”

"Keeping Christ at the center of all we do is the heartbeat of North Greenville University and must permeate every area of our lives including our academics. This vision drives NGU's graduate programs as we exist to glorify God by cultivating graduates who are equipped to serve as transformational leaders for church and society,” said McDonald. “I am honored to serve within an academic institution whose distinctive mission is to be Christ-centered, biblically faithful, academically excellent, and mission-focused."

Rayburn began teaching at NGU as an adjunct professor in the College of Business & Sport Professions in 2009. She was hired full-time in 2017 as the director of academic engagement and outreach where she worked on providing entrepreneurial leadership to develop and expand credit-bearing and non-credit bearing certificate programs and continuing education as well as pursuing corporate, denominational and non-profit partnerships in educational community engagement opportunities. In addition to teaching, she is a partner/owner of Richey Development, GP and Richey Farms, GP which are real estate development companies developing both commercial and residential properties.

As the assistant provost for academic outreach and director of professional programs, Rayburn will continue to be responsible for coordinating community outreach on behalf of NGU’s Office of Academics, as well as developing and implementing strategic academic initiatives with an emphasis on professional programs.

According to Rayburn, “We have such valuable resources at NGU in our faculty and staff, so the most exciting thing for me is the opportunity to make our community aware of the resources we have available. Through sharing these resources, we can impact God’s kingdom by bringing the integration of faith and learning into the business, professional, church, and non-profit world.”

Rayburn earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Memphis (U of M) School of Law where she was the recipient of the Cecil C. Laws Fellowship, President of the Christian Legal Society, articles editor for the U of M Law Review, and a member of the Council of Leaders. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science/history and a minor in business economics from King College.

NGU Provost and Dean of the University Faculty Dr. Nathan A. Finn is delighted Drs. Hagin, McDonald, and Rayburn are taking on these strategic roles in the Office of Academic Affairs.

“Each of them are seasoned leaders with vocational experience both in higher education and in their respective fields of expertise. They are each ‘all in’ with our mission to educate students to be transformational leaders for church and society. I’m excited for the opportunity to learn from their wisdom and labor alongside them more closely in overseeing our academic programming, resourcing our faculty, and serving our students.”