OUR PRESIDENT


WELCOME TO UNIVERSITY OF MOBILE!

We are grateful you would consider gaining your academic preparation at this highly-ranked Christian University that strives to integrate intellectual development and spiritual formation in preparing you for your professional calling. During the process, you will engage in conversations and critical thinking opportunities with faculty about the profession of your choosing while integrating a biblical worldview. The biblical worldview encourages you to understand your chosen profession within the context of a triune God, become an imago Dei or image bearer of Christ and allow Him to transform your mind in being prepared for your profession within a complex and challenging world.

As you engage the faculty and staff, you will be introduced to a unique educational process called “prac-ademics.” This involves the teaching of academic theory in the classroom while engaging in practice learning opportunities that may occur in science laboratories, human patient simulation laboratories, recording studios, businesses throughout the community or musical productions before thousands of people.

While engaging in intellectual and spiritual formation experiences, you will enjoy the opportunity to live on a beautiful award-winning 800-acre wooded campus complete with residential housing and amenities, delicious dining options, athletic facilities and most importantly, a place to call home with an engaging student body.

Welcome home,

Timothy L. Smith, PhD, PhD
President


Smith holds a Ph.D. in leadership and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, both from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; a PhD. in nursing (anesthesia) from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Graduate College; a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Nursing; a diploma in nurse anesthesia from the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine; a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Memphis State University, and a diploma in nursing from Baptist Memorial Hospital School of Nursing.

His dissertation for the Ph.D. in leadership was “A Study of Factors that Predict the Success of Christ-Centered Higher Educational Institutions: A Mixed Method Study.” His Ph.D. in nursing dissertation was on “The Evaluation of Auditory Evoked Potentials and Psychological Priming Techniques as Indicators of Implicit Memory Formation During General Anesthesia” with an emphasis in anesthesia with foci in neuroanatomy and physiology. His thesis for the M.S.N. was on “Effect of Propofol and Desflurane on Recall During Anesthesia.”

Smith has held a variety of academic positions, from assistant professor to provost. At the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, College of Nursing, from 1997-2004, he rose from assistant professor to associate professor and director of the nurse anesthesia program. At Union University from 2005-2014 he started as associate professor and dean of the School of Nursing, rising to professor and then executive director of the Center for Excellence in Health Care Practice.

He joined Anderson University in 2014 as vice president of strategic initiatives and special associate to the provost, becoming provost in 2015. Since 2014 he has served as adjunct professor in the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is the author of numerous scholarly articles as well as book reviews and research abstracts.

Smith has been licensed by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists as a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) since 1992. He is licensed by the South Carolina Board of Nursing as a registered nurse (RN) and an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) since 2014. Previously, he was licensed by the Tennessee Board of Nursing as an APRN and RN.

He worked as a cardiovascular intensive care registered nurse in Memphis, Tennessee, at Baptist Memorial Hospital Central and Methodist Hospitals Central. Later, he was a CRNA, RN and physician assistant with Medical Anesthesia Group and Cardiovascular Center, both in Memphis. He also served as a CRNA with Anesthesiologist Associates and also Anesthesia Consultants, both in Chattanooga.

Smith said he will focus on building upon the heritage of faith at the University of Mobile, while working toward even stronger academics with continued growth in the spiritual formation of students.

“When I looked at the University of Mobile, what I saw very quickly and what I heard very quickly is that it is an institution that it is rock-solid in its faith on God’s Word, in that we depend on Him and we are led by Him as we continue moving forward. My experience in academia is that there are a lot of changes you can make in an institution, but if an institution has wandered from its faith, it is very hard to bring the institution back to that.

“The University of Mobile has such a strength in the intentionality of its faith-based approach to Christian higher education. That’s the No. 1 thing that attracted me,” Smith said.

Both Anderson University and Union University are Southern Baptist-affiliated schools, like the University of Mobile. Smith said serving in Christian higher education “has been a calling on my professional life for several years. This is why I went back to seminary, to continue to strengthen my understanding of Christian world view.”

Trustee chair Wilson said prayer was at the heart of the presidential search.

“So many prayers have been lifted for all of this process, both inside and outside the university. The committee prayed that each one of us would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and not our own, individual thoughts and perhaps desires. There were 10 committed, but independent, Christians chosen for the search, and if we worked at this task through our own human strengths and weaknesses, it would have been difficult to reach consensus. With all 10 dedicating themselves to follow God’s lead, He clearly directed us to Tim Smith as His candidate. Reaching Tim as the unanimous choice was the result,” Wilson said.

Search committee chair Harbin agreed.

“God did the whole thing. We just tried to listen. It’s just absolutely clear that Dr. Tim Smith is God’s man for this time. I could not be more thrilled,” Harbin said.

The Smiths are members at Taylors First Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina, where he serves as guest teacher in the Life Group while focusing on the development of care groups throughout the church. Previously, he has taught young married classes at church and led annual mission trips to the Dominican Republic.

Smith has a reputation as a visionary leader with business acumen, and as a developer of academic programs with an ability to enhance revenues while providing a strong educational process.

As dean and professor of the School of Nursing at Union University, he grew the program over nine years from approximately 400 pre-nursing and nursing students and 17 faculty/staff to 747 students and 55 faculty/staff, becoming the largest faith-based nursing school in the nation.

He was responsible for the day-to-day operations of Anderson University, which at 3,200 students is over twice the size of UMobile. While there, he led the effort to establish the university as a leader in the health sciences, and worked with administration and faculty to expand other educational programs to meet the needs of the region.

The 10-member Presidential Search Committee was assisted by the executive search firm JobfitMatters, a nationally recognized company specializing in higher education and the non-profit sector. Committee members included alumni, pastors, faculty and staff, and also represented the fields of higher education, business, real estate, banking, and law.

The search process included extensive interviews and surveys with students, faculty, staff, alumni, community leaders, denominational leaders and trustees to develop a list of key characteristics of the ideal president. Those four critical leadership benchmarks were:
A faithful servant-leader
Fundraising and growth strategist and spearhead
Executive leader, steward, wise decision-maker
Peacemaker, influencer, educator, community builder.

Search Committee chair Harbin said 38 candidates applied for the post, and the committee interviewed six. While any of the final six would be well qualified for the job, Smith was the unanimous choice to recommend to the Board.

“He is a collaborative team leader who knows how to give people the opportunity to succeed, and he is able to make the tough decisions. He uses team members to develop a vision, and he is able to cast a vision and get out there and make it happen. He has a demonstrated track record of successful leadership,” Harbin said.

Smith will build upon significant transformations that marked Foley’s administration. Among those are an intentional integration of a Christian world view into all aspects of academics, campus life and university operations.

During Foley’s tenure, the university invested $44.8 million in capital projects, started online academic programs, built residence halls and doubled the residential capacity to 734, created the Center for Performing Arts and the humanities Honors Program, and developed an active Campus Life program with extensive opportunities for mentoring, leadership development, service, missions and more.

Timothy L. Smith, PhD, PhD, became the fourth president of University of Mobile on April 11, 2016. Under his leadership, University of Mobile is focused on its mission as a Christ-centered academic community providing liberal arts and professional programs to renew minds through intellectual and spiritual development for the fulfilling of one’s professional calling. As a Great Commission university, the institution has adopted four core values that drive its growth and development: Christ-Centered, Academically-Focused, Student-Devoted, Distinctively-Driven. 

The university has launched innovative academic programs; added undergraduate and graduate degrees; announced its first doctoral programs; created high-tech laboratories such as the state-of-the-art Center for Excellence in Healthcare Practice; expanded community collaboration and partnerships; emphasized experiential learning and internships; and developed a unique four-day academic week with Focus Fridays student life events, community engagement, academic and service opportunities.

Dr. Smith holds two PhDs and two master’s degrees, is licensed by the South Carolina Board of Nursing and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, and is ordained as a Southern Baptist minister. Prior to joining UM, he has held a variety of academic positions, from assistant professor to provost, while serving at Anderson University, Union University and University of Tennessee. He is the author of numerous articles and publications on topics relating to Christian worldview, Christian higher education, adult and professional programs, and healthcare.

Dr. Smith is a member of Sunrise Rotary of Mobile, is an advisory member of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, and was selected for the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program. He and his wife, Penney, a healthcare administrator consultant, have two adult children and a son-in-law: daughter Ashley Wainscott and her husband, Alex; and son Blake Smith.