News & Events

Talbot Dean Dennis Dirks Steps Down After 20 Years

April 30, 2012


Following 20 years of faithful service, Dennis Dirks, academic dean of Talbot School of Theology, will step down from his position in June 2012, leaving a strong legacy as leader of Biola’s largest graduate school.

“These 20 years as dean have been vocationally the most fulfilling of my life,” Dirks said recently. “God in His grace brought together an amazingly gifted group of faculty and wonderfully skilled, committed staff. I am intellectually and, in particular, spiritually wealthy beyond measure for having served among these colleagues.”

Dirks was chosen to be the fifth dean of Talbot School of Theology on Nov. 25, 1992. Prior to his role as dean he spent nine years in other administrative roles within Talbot and seven years as a member of the faculty. He has been involved with the Biola community since 1970 and will remain involved with Talbot in various capacities after stepping down from his position.

As dean, Dirks has played a key role in the recruitment and development of Talbot’s faculty and curricular programs. He also planned and initiated two extension programs — the Charles L. Feinberg Center in Manhattan, New York, which offers a Master of Divinity in Messianic Jewish Studies, and the Kyiv Extension Program in Ukraine, offering a Master of Arts in Biblical & Theological Studies. He also greatly emphasized the priority of quality teaching and programming at Talbot, pushing the seminary forward with its mission.

“Our goal as a theological community was not to create a ‘great’ school. Rather, it was a time of intense effort to be diligent and obedient, faithful to the Master,” said Dirks. “In a robust academic setting, we desired to be a place where community would flourish and where giftedness had opportunity to thrive. We pursued becoming a place where self-denial is valued and academic arrogance and pride is rejected.”

Dirks has personally represented this goal to the many students, faculty and staff who have worked with him throughout the years. His own humility and obedience to the Lord shines through in meetings and the relationships he built as dean.

Dirks has also made significant contributions to the growth and international recognition of Talbot through his involvement in the Evangelical Theological Society, Evangelical Seminary Deans Council and the Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents, making an extraordinary impact for Christ at Talbot and around the world.

Dirks said he looks forward to continue serving alongside his community at Talbot.  

“It's a special delight to observe Biola University's remarkable and growing strength academically and spiritually,” he said. “In this vibrant setting, Talbot has uniquely strong years ahead.  Without question, Talbot's best years are yet to come."

Biola has recognized Dirks with numerous university awards for his leadership and commitment to Talbot’s mission. A university-wide reception will be held in his honor on May 9.

“There are not enough words to properly express how effective, skillful and insightful Dennis has been as dean,” said David Nystrom, Biola’s provost and senior vice president. “He will be deeply missed.”

After an extensive nationwide search, Nystrom announced in April that Clint Arnold has been selected as the final candidate to be Talbot’s next dean. Arnold currently serves as Professor of New Testament Language and Literature and Chair of the New Testament department. A formal announcement will come when the appointment is official.

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