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New Provost, Ancient Proverbs and a Practical Routine

Ever the educator, Dr. Chelly Templeton wouldn’t let us sit back and allow our minds to wander when she spoke in a recent PBA chapel service.Instead, she taught us memorably from the Book of Proverbs, using long-practiced tools: audience involvement, humor, and heart. What she shared says much about the person who became Palm Beach Atlantic University’s provost on July 1.

Chelly had us laughing from the start, declaring in her native Kentucky drawl, “I’m from Boston.” Next, she showed us photos of church signs that offered pithy, proverb-like sayings, including:

“Adam and Eve: the first people to not read the Apple terms and conditions.”

“Tweet others as you would like to be tweeted.”

We could use that last one for our Wordship initiative, as we practice the art of edifying conversation, including social media.

Next in her chapel remarks, Chelly arranged us into discussion pairs to test our knowledge about Old Testament heroes Solomon and David. Finally, she elaborated on several verses, exploring how they apply to academics.

For example, consider Proverbs 9:10, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. “We may be teaching content knowledge,” Chelly said, “but unless we can get to a place in relationships with our students where we can teach them about the fear of the Lord, they’re not going to leave here as wise.”

I love it! To Chelly, the goal for PBA faculty is not just teaching content; it’s developing relationships with students; it’s making disciples who are excellent at what they do. That concept was vital in her previous PBA role as dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Studies. She served superbly as dean, looking for these three attributes when she recruited faculty members: “that they love the Lord; they love their content area; and they love people.”

How appropriate that she now brings that mindset to her new task, because the provost oversees the overall development of all  the university’s educational programs. Of course, Chelly becoming provost means leaving big shoes to fill in her previous deanship, but she’s got that covered. Our new dean of the School of Education and Behavioral Studies is Dr. Marcia Bedasse, a veteran educator Chelly hired as a faculty member four years ago.


In Marcia she saw those same three passions: love for the Lord, love for her content area and love for people. And as Chelly observed Marcia’s teaching, she soon concluded, “She’s going to be the next dean.”

On top of her dean duties, Chelly has made a powerful contribution leading PBA’s task force overseeing the “God-Sized Dreams” strategic plan, which came together after extensive listening to the PBA community. As a result, Chelly said, “We have new vision at PBA, a vision made in prayer, made in Scripture, and bathed in consultation with godly men and women.” For that, I am truly thankful. 

randy richards

As I thank God for Chelly, Marcia and others now leading us into that bright new vision, I’m also offering a heart-felt shout-out to Dr. Randy Richards, who has just stepped down from the provost role. He has served with such dedication! And he’ll continue to serve, transitioning now to teach online ministry courses.

You can read here about Randy, Chelly and Marcia’s extensive experience and stellar credentials. 

Such credentials are important, and I’m overwhelmingly grateful for the highly qualified, hardworking people serving throughout Palm Beach Atlantic. But Chelly, in her chapel remarks, reminded that none of us can rest upon our laurels, just as Solomon could not. The author of those many inciteful proverbs fell away from God’s path, ultimately teaching us by his negative example. (See 1 Kings, chapter 11.)

As we all go about our various responsibilities, at PBA, at home and elsewhere, may we DAILY seek the Giver of all that is good and wise. Stepping into her challenging position, our new provost suggests a practical routine to follow: “When I get up in the morning, I say, ‘Lord, what would you have me do?’ and then, ‘Just give me the wisdom to do it.’”