By Lauren Pratt
WAKE FOREST — When Christy Thornton became a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) student in 2012, she never would have imagined that she would play an integral role in the theological academy. Through her recent promotion to associate director of Ph.D. Studies and director of the Th.M. program at SEBTS, she is the first woman to hold a leadership position in a Ph.D. Office in Southeastern’s history.
“Christy Thornton is a gifted scholar and administrator,” said SEBTS President Danny Akin. “She is the ideal person to supervise our
First woman to hold a leadership
Th.M. Program and serve as an associate director of the Ph.D. Program. She is a wonderful gift and blessing to the Southeastern family.”
As part of her new role as associate director, Thornton is responsible for student progress, advisement and recruitment strategy. Thornton herself is in the dissertation stage of her Ph.D. at SEBTS, having entered the program in 2016. Her personal journey into the Ph.D. program makes her the perfect candidate to help students understand and process the challenges of deciding to enter into advanced degree work.
Even before Thornton helped in recruitment and development for the Ph.D. Office, she saw an opportunity to enter into a space in theological education where not many women existed.
“One of the reasons I love Southeastern is because I feel like I can walk to the table and be all that I am,” said Thornton.
Room for growth
She believes that the theological academy is an avenue by which men and women can exemplify what it means to partner together in fulfilling the Great Commission. As Southern Baptists, there is room for growth when it comes to gender diversity in the academy. Thornton sees no reason why this cannot be complementarian and biblical in its approach.
“What if we could serve the church even better if we had a little more gender diversity in the theological academy?” she said. “I thought, I might be able to help with that. If these are my gifts and this is my context, I’d love to be able to serve in a way that allows theological education to serve the church even better than it already is.”