Academics, Campus wide

New provost chosen for CSU

By Jenna Johnson | March 24, 2023

Charleston Southern University has selected Dr. Michael Wilder as its new provost and vice president for academic affairs after an extensive nationwide search. 

Dr. Michael Wilder will begin his role as provost and VP of academic affairs on July 1. Photo provided

Having spent the last four years in Fort Worth, Texas, Wilder currently serves as the interim vice president for strategic and academic initiatives and chief catalyst officer at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He will begin his new role at Charleston Southern on July 1, 2023. 

Wilder and his wife, Ginger, felt the Lord moving them in a new direction toward a Christian university setting. “This was reinforced through continued prayer and conversations with trusted colleagues and friends,” he said. “CSU’s mission is at the heart of my own commitments concerning investing in men and women who will serve Christ and His church in both the marketplace and in ministry contexts.” 

In addition to his current administrative roles at Southwestern, Wilder serves as professor of educational ministries in the Jack D. Terry School of Educational Ministries. Most recently, he managed oversight of nontraditional programming including synchronous and asynchronous online programs as associate provost for innovative learning. Wilder also served as dean of the Terry School, where he most notably redesigned seminar delivery structure, increased faculty size, and added multiple degree programs resulting in strong enrollment growth. Prior to Southwestern, he served 18 years in various roles in teaching and administration in Christian higher education, including but not limited to associate vice president for doctoral studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary as well as various professorship levels at Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He also brings more than 30 years of pastoral ministry and church leadership experience. 

Excited about CSU’s core commitment to faith integration and its distinctly Christian environment, Wilder said, “I am thankful for President Costin’s leadership, and I look forward to co-laboring with faculty and academic leaders as we seek to think creatively about the future of CSU and how to best serve our students and the broader community well. Perhaps more than anything, I want to reinforce an institutional environment that promotes mission success and genuine human flourishing among students, faculty, and CSU team members. Beyond this daily endeavor, I want to be a part of helping CSU imagine and embrace an innovative and academically excellent future marked by the integration of faith in learning, leading, and serving.” 

Wilder earned his PhD in Christian education and leadership studies from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, an MDiv in pastoral ministries from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and both a BBA in management with a minor in finance and an AA in mathematics from Clayton State University.  

“Replacing a provost as competent, capable, and committed as Dr. Jackie Fish was always going to be an uphill climb, but God has led us to the perfect successor in Dr. Michael Wilder,” President Dr. Dondi Costin said. “Dr. Wilder is a humble, hard-charging servant leader who understands the power of Christian higher education to transform every sphere of influence for the good of others and the glory of God. He’s a natural faith integrator whose passion for innovation is precisely what Charleston Southern needs for this season. I can’t wait for Michael and Ginger to join the team!” 

Dr. David S. Dockery, president of the International Alliance for Christian Education and interim president and distinguished professor of theology at Southwestern, said, “The Southwestern Seminary community joins me in congratulating President Costin and the Charleston Southern community on the appointment of Dr. Michael Wilder as the new CSU provost. Dr. Wilder is a thoughtful educator, an innovative leader, a devoted follower of Christ, and a faithful churchman. I am confident that his investment in students and faculty, as well as other CSU colleagues, will be a blessing to the CSU community for months and years to come.” 

Wilder is the co-author of The God Who Goes Before You: Pastoral Leadership as Christ-Centered Fellowship and TransforMission: The Making of Disciples through Short-term Missions. He has contributed to numerous edited works and is an active member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Professors in Christian Education. 

He and his wife of 28 years have three adult daughters. 

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