“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8
Dr. Thomas Sanders is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and has been employed by East Texas Baptist University since 2013. As the chief academic officer, his leadership responsibilities include eight academic schools and thirteen departments. He supervises the enrollment management of the dual enrollment program, the international program, the graduate education program, the Center for Academic Excellence including student success and support programs and initiatives, the Learning and Leading program which is a freshmen first year experience, the Global Education program, the Institutional Research and Accreditation department, our university community service and service learning program, the Institute for Economic Education, the Jarrett Library, and the Institutional Technology department.
Dr. Sanders is also involved in teaching undergraduate courses in Christian Education, Learning and Leading courses for freshmen, and weekly academic accountability with at-risk undergraduate students. Currently, he is chairing the University strategic planning process and also participates in many aspects of the University including student engagement, development, and athletics.
Dr. Sanders' calling and commitment to Christian education came early in his life when he began serving as minister to children, youth, and families in local churches. Two of these churches are considered in the top ten percent of churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. He also was a member of the executive management group at LifeWay Christian Resources, previously the Baptist Sunday School Board, serving as Director of Childhood Ministry Publishing with responsibilities for all dated and undated books, curricula, and leadership resources for children and families with responsibilities for nearly $50,000,000 of sales and operating budget with nearly 100 full time editors, consultants, and graphic designers in addition to nearly 200 part-time writers and graphic artists. These resources were used in churches and institutions of higher education as texts teaching and learning for a variety of target groups.
Christian education has been a part of Dr. Sanders calling and career since his sophomore year in college, when he began to learn and practice the principles of integration of faith and learning. This commitment has demonstrated itself in service on and off campus since that time through volunteering in local public elementary schools, Bible studies for children with special needs, training teachers and pastors in starting schools, and Bible study programs for children in Nigeria. Dr. Sanders has served on the Discipleship and Formation as well as the Theological Education Commission for the Baptist World Alliance and presented papers before the commission in Prague, Czech Republic and Quala Lampur, Malaysia. Sanders also has spent a significant investment in training church leaders through speaking at conferences across the United States for state conventions as well as writing and developing video series. Each Sunday night for the last four years, Dr. Sanders has spent several hours serving as an academic mentor to 10-12 students who are at-risk academically. This time is focused on the development of planning, self-discipline, resourcing, and encouragement toward the goal of graduation, career, and calling.
Dr. Sanders received his doctorate of Philosophy in Leadership Studies from Dallas Baptist University with an emphasis on spiritual formation in children in 2009, a Masters of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1990, and a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Baylor University in 1987. Dr. Sanders was a member of 2017 cohort in the Executive Leadership Academy sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges.