Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Chair

Thomas V. O'Brien

Committee Chair Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 2

John R. Rachal

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Lilian Hill

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

R. Eric Platt

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

This study examines a period in the history of Louisiana College in which the college’s sponsoring organization, the Louisiana Baptist Convention, a Southern Baptist affiliate, began to insist that professors at the college teach only in accordance with the official views of the Southern Baptist Convention. The literature is replete with studies on the movement affecting the Southern Baptist seminaries, but little has been written about the impact of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Conservative Resurgence on the colleges.

As such, this study explores the changes that were made to the academic freedom and governance policies as the trustees sought to return the college to what it was perceived to have been: a holy hill where the Bible was touted as inerrant and traditional values were prescribed.

Robert Lynn, who served as president from 1975-1996, led the college to adopt modern concepts of academic governance, and the college had a chapter of the American Association of University Professors. As his tenure was coming to an end, pressures from a conservative faction of the Louisiana Baptist Convention intensified. This led to the filing of a lawsuit by four faculty members for character defamation.

Lynn’s successor, William Rory Lee, a Mississippi Baptist clergyman and experienced higher education administrator, arrived in 1997. Shortly afterward, the lawsuit was settled and a quiet period of five years ensued.

In 2002, the figures who pressured President Lynn during his waning years returned with similar demands. When President Lee and his vice-president for academic affairs resigned in early 2004, a divisive search for a new president commenced. In early 2005, chair of the teacher education department and inerrantist Joe Aguillard was narrowly selected as president. Over the next few years, academic freedom was redefined and faculty governance essentially eradicated.