In September, over 50 SOS supporters met in Atlanta and Rome with Libby Nelson, a reporter for Inside Higher Ed, the number one online  magazine for educators. In an article out today, she recounts Shorter’s last turbulent year. You may read the article by clicking here.

Our thanks to Ms. Nelson and to Inside Higher Ed for its interest in documenting our story.

Yesterday, November 13, the Georgia Baptist Convention held its 191st Annual Meeting. Contrary to what may be believed, a number of our SOS members are Baptist and have a rightful voice at the gathering, so we thought it fitting for SOS to have its name represented at the meeting.


Over 200 of these fans were passed out to meeting messengers. Many asked what we wanted to “save Shorter from”. If you are here because you “followed the fan”, welcome! On these pages, you’ll learn exactly why we want to save Shorter.

Dr. Don Dowless said was proud to represent Shorter to the gathered attendees. Unfortunately, his audience was not as large as he might have liked. In the years before the Fundamentalist takeover of the GBC,  large arenas were rented to accommodate the crowd. As we reported yesterday, the GBC membership has fallen severely. Our messenger reports that there were only around 500 in attendance at any given time yesterday. The video linked here of Dowless’ comments was provided to SOS for our readers.

There are a number of issues that should be of concern to our readers and to Georgia Baptists especially.

  • Dowless begins his report by saying “Is there anybody here that doesn’t know where Shorter University stands?”  We suppose that Dowless was expecting a standing ovation or at least a loud cheer.  He didn’t get either.
  • He reports that “we are thriving – doing the best we’ve ever done.”  The loss to date of 90 employees, with more to come, calls that statement into question. When 4 deans, several vice-presidents, a number of department heads and your recently hired human resources director walk out, something is wrong.
  • Dowless reports an enrollment at Shorter of 2,972 students. According to the Shorter Fact Book 2011-12, last year, Shorter’s enrollment was 3, 702.


  • Total loss – 730 students.  And yet, Dowless reported to the Board of Trustees that enrollment was only down “a bit”.  The number he gave to Libby Nelson, in the article linked above, was 115 students. Readers, statistics don’t lie.
  • Dowless reports that the administration has stood firm and done it “in a loving, good spirit”.  Michael Wilson would differ with that. Scores of alumni who tried to talk with Dowless would differ with that. Former students who sought an audience with Dowless would differ with that. Community leaders and donors who talked to Dowless would differ with that.
  • He mentions the School of Nursing. He doesn’t bother to say that they lost the Dean of the School of Nursing to Berry College. He doesn’t mention the fact that his new dean had only 2 semesters of teaching and had just received her doctorate. He says nothing of the fact that students are desperate because they are being taught faulty science and because they’re having to teach the teachers. He doesn’t have a clue how many are planning to leave. What he DOES know, however, is that the students will be sent on mission trips.

The remainder of his message- part report, part sermon – is about mission trips and athletics. Only once, in the entire presentation, does he mention academic excellence and that as a passing reference to the softball team. Not once does he point to academic achievement in the business, education, science, communication arts or fine arts schools (Perhaps that’s because the fine arts school is nearly non-existent). In fact, the word “academic” is heard only once.

The one thing that Dowless does mention, however, and mentions often, is the word “proud”.  “We’re proud to be a Georgia Baptist University  . . .We stood on our values and we’re proud of it. . . We’re proud to say we’re a Georgia Baptist school . . . you ought to be proud of us too. . . (named in the Princeton Review) we’re proud of that. We’re proud that our nursing school has 83 students in it. . . I want you to be proud of Shorter University. I want Christ to be more proud of us.

There is a lot of “I” and “we” have done, but little that shows any humility for what has happened at Shorter. Dowless never gives credit to God for what has occurred at Shorter. Perhaps that is because what has happened is not of God, but of man. His thanks to the Georgia Baptists is cursory at best. He thanks his Board of Trustees not at all. Perhaps that is because the board has become filled with figureheads at best. His report is all about what he has done.

When ego supplants Divine authority, it does not bode well for Shorter.

Don Dowless, you should remember Proverbs 16:18 -“Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty attitude before a fall.”

4 responses to “A YEAR IN REVIEW

  1. Impressive numbers for the new regime.

    Student enrollment is 80.18 % of last year enrollment. It is only down by 19.72%.

    Returning full time faculty on the Hill is 62.77 %. It was only down by 37.23%. But it has been said that turnover happens every year.

    The Hill only lost 4 deans and 1 vice president.

    How can 730 equal 115?
    New math, I reckon

    Enrollment is down a little bit.
    To quote Wilford Brimley in the movie Absence of Malice about a little leak,
    “The last time someone had a leak like this, Noah built himself an ark.”

  2. Thank you SOS for continually prodding for the truth. for alumni and friends who view this and other posts and feel powerless, or feel that all is lost, consider this – SOS has an email. Send a willingness to get involved. I did, and I am getting some assignments to contact and organize others who are disgusted with the regime YET WHO ARE WILLING TO JOIN TOGETHER TO WORK TOWARD CHANGE. It can happen if we multiply in numbers enough. GBC is not the Vatican. The ones who want to “cleanse” Shorter have NO CLUE how to run a school, much yet a Christian one. They will not be there very long, it can happen much sooner, the quicker we all join in.

  3. A thought to ponder:

    It has been said that approximately 500 students graduated in May 2012, that only leaves 230 students who did not return. Of course that accepts the notion that there were no new enrollments of any kind this fall.

    If one divide 230 by 3202 that will comes out to 7.18 %. Now I know where Josh came up with his magical number of less than 8 %. (Dr. Danny Davis should be proud, I remember this from his Algebra class I took in the fall of 1982.)

    However, if one takes the new first time student at Shorter enrollment number and add it to the 230, then one would get a larger sum.

    For example, if the number of new students equal:

    100 then 330 divided by 3202=10.3 %
    200 then 430 divided by 3202=13.4%
    300 then 530 divided by 3202=16.6%
    400 then 630 divided by 3202=19.7%
    450 then 680 divided by 3202=21.2%
    500 then 730 divided by 3202=22.8%

    Each hundred increase equals about 2.1%.

    So if the new enrollment number is the determining factor; either way it does not look good. If the new enrollment is as high as it ever has been, then about 25% of the returning students left. If the new enrollment number is less than the number that graduated in May, then the desire to attend Shorter has diminished.

    Only time will tell.

    To my fellow students of Dr. Wingard’s advance grammer class, be kind I am an old man now.

  4. More numbers

    3702 enrolled fall 2011
    978 graduated
    possible returning students=2724

    2932 fall enrollment 2012
    525 graduates this fall
    2407 students possible returning for spring
    3329 enrolled Spring of 2012
    2407 is 72.3% of spring 2012 enrollment

    New enrollment for fall 2012 was at least 208 new students.

    And enrollment is only down a little bit.
    You decide

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