He has a laundry list of tasks that need to be completed so Shorter University can continue to grow. But one element of the University’s mission that Dowless believes he can contribute to the most is the spiritual growth of students.
Dowless told the Seven Hills Rotary Tuesday that this was one area where he’d be focusing his attention and said “I believe that God has given us an ability, ...and it is to be used for his glory.”
And for Dowless, the glory of God is his primary goal.
“I believe that academics and spiritual life work together,” said Dowless. “We believe that all truth is God’s truth. So a student who is looking at any academic discipline, any area, they’re discovering God’s truth as they go through their discipline. We want students on our campus to come to know Jesus Christ as their savior. We want students who are already saved to get stronger in their walk.”
The spiritual life of students isn’t the only issue that Dowless said he has been working on in the first few months on the job. He said the transition to university status will be ongoing, and the transition is made much more difficult by hard economic times.
“We have to measure up and we have to do it smarter and cheaper because we don’t have the resources that state schools have,” he said. “But we’re going to get out there and do it, and raise the money that we need.”
Dowless said Shorter is in need of additional dormitory space.
“We need to be able to put our students who want to live on campus on campus,” he said. “It enhances their social life, their spiritual life and it puts them right at the hub of activity.”
Dowless said he also wants to build more chapel space for students, since the current chapel is too small to accommodate the entire on-campus student body. He said a chapel space could also double as a fine arts and performing space as well, which he said would “benefit our community as well.”
Prior to becoming president of Shorter University in June, Dowless was involved in other university transition projects at Charleston Southern and North Greenville, both located in South Carolina. He said despite the academic challenges that go along with the transition, the work was worth doing even for a third time.
“It is good work, and it’s valuable work in the service of the Lord,” he said.