Dr. Michael Rosato, HBU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Please tell us about your personal, academic and professional background.
I got involved in track and cross country in high school. I ended up going to Carson-Newman University in East Tennessee on an athletic scholarship. Carson-Newman is a Christian college, similar in mission to HBU. I realized that, while I was a very moral person and was raised in church, I never gave serious consideration to the claims of Christ. In my junior year, I accepted Christ as my savior and began down a path of really trying to figure out what my faith in Christ meant. I graduated with a history degree and teacher certification, and ended up in Fort Worth after graduation with a graduate assistantship at Texas Wesleyan University. I earned a MEd in Teaching and Learning (pedagogy) and I met my wife, Kim, there. I then taught computer literacy classes in the Arlington public schools and helped coach track and cross country.
I really had a sense that God was calling me to work full-time in some setting in higher education. I really thought I was going to be working in student services. I pursued my doctorate at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. I realized I needed to get some more experience in higher education administration. I ended up getting a job at Butler University in Indianapolis. I worked in student services running a residence hall, and then a residential college. We moved back to Bloomington to finish school, and I graduated with my EdD in Higher Education Administration.
I was willing to go wherever God led. We moved to Dallas near Kim’s family. I worked in an adult degree completion program and as a faculty member and academic counselor at Dallas Baptist University. Later, I moved into the dean’s role of the college of education, and then into the vice president for academic affairs. After a few years, I took a dean’s position at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. From there, I was a dean for Howard Payne University in Brownwood for 10 years.
In 2015, I was invited by the former HBU provost to look into the associate provost for Academic Affairs position at HBU. I joined the University then.
Kim and I have five children and four grandchildren.
Please tell us about your roles at HBU.
The associate provost for Academic Affairs at HBU oversees the Registrar, Academic deans, curriculum matters, the scheduling of courses, helps with the hiring of new faculty, professional development, oversees the Moody Library, Academic Success Center, and Office of Career & Calling. I served as the interim and acting vice president for Academic Affairs, and the interim dean of the HBU College of Education and Behavioral Sciences before becoming the HBU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs in 2018.
I was honored that they asked me to consider the position of provost. I’m one of those people that really has to have a sense of calling. It’s very professionally rewarding and an appropriately challenging position – rarely are two days alike. It additionally encompasses Student Life and Residence Life. I like the opportunity to interact around the campus and with the areas represented by the other vice presidents. I try to make decisions while being cognizant of how the actions will impact the University at a wide level. I always think about, not just my own unit, but the broader scope of things.
What is unique about HBU compared to other colleges and universities?
One of the reasons I was attracted to come to HBU was the Ten Pillars Vision and what we’re doing in Christian higher ed. It’s unique – we have very few Protestant, Christian institutes of higher education in major metropolitan areas. At the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level, the curriculum is taught from a biblical worldview. You have faculty members who say, ‘Yes, I’m willing to integrate faith and learning.’
My perspective is that, when a person accepts Christ as savior, the Bible says the old person is no longer there: ‘the old has gone; the new has come.’ I’m growing in my faith, and, being a new creature in Christ, everything I do matters to God. Everything – how I prepare for my lesson, etc. I would expect my students to understand I said ‘yes’ to the claims of Christ, and it shows up in my life and it shows up in the classroom in overt and meaningful ways.
How is HBU fulfilling its mission?
There’s no way anyone could read our mission and vision statement and not understand that we are a Christian college – I feel a commitment and a sense of responsibility to that. The idea is that we really take seriously the notion that all things have been created by Christ and for Christ to influence the culture for Christ.
The goal is to graduate students who are the very best prepared academically, professionally and spiritually. I’ve been extremely pleased with the progress we’re making in pursuing fulfilling the vision of the institution. I’m pleased with the direction we’re headed with academics and student life.
We have faculty and staff who love the Lord Jesus and want to share that love with students. We’re focusing on the things that really matter – at the end of the day, week seek to do everything with excellence and to advance the Kingdom.