By Amy Robertson
r. David Cole, Briercrest College and Seminary’s newly-appointed vice-president of student development, can’t wait to get out from behind the desk and start spending time with students again.
Cole and has family have spent 17 “wonderful” years at Eugene Bible College (now New Hope Christian College) in Eugene, Ore. Cole served in the student development department for five years, first as director and then VP, and then served as president for 12 years.
While president, he missed the interaction with students, which is part of why he’s switched to a VP position.
The prospect of living and serving in a larger community and institution like Briercrest’s is exciting for him—while Eugene has 150 students, between its high school, college, and seminary, Briercrest has more than 800.
The prospect of living and working in a country other than the United States was another draw for his family. Between missions trips, vacations, and other opportunities, Cole has visited 20 countries.
It’s also a position that fits his gifts exactly. With six years of experience as a residence director and 26 years of credentialed pastoral and youth pastoral ministry with Open Bible Churches under his belt, Cole sees himself as another campus pastor.
As VP of student development, he’ll supplement the work that the current college chaplain, Dr. Cal MacFarlane, does by “showing Christ’s love to students on a daily basis.”
He sees his role as one that concerns everything “outside the classroom.” He’ll carry responsibility for students’ quality of life, safety, and sense of community, and work with student-leaders, providing a “safe place to take first steps in leadership.”
For Cole, character development is integral to his new role. Under his leadership, the student development department will help provide “experiential learning” for students, complimenting the work of the academic departments as they work together to fulfill Briercrest’s mission.
Dwayne Uglem, Briercrest’s president, was thrilled that someone with Cole’s qualifications and passion for the church wanted to join the team at Briercrest, and he looks forward to Cole’s contributions.
“He comes with this passion for discipleship,” Uglem said. “At the end of the day, he wants to raise up leaders—he wants to call that out of students and invest in this generation.
“(We are) thrilled that this is the season in his life where this is the kind of work that he feels really called to do.”
Cole holds an M.A. from Oral Roberts University (Oklahoma), and an M.Div. and Ph.D. from Fuller Theological Seminary (California). He has taught theology and church history at several Christian institutions.
Cole, his wife, Julie, and two of their children plan to be on campus by August 2. Until then, he says, they’re “sitting on pins and needles” as they anticipate this new “adventure.”
“The work is waiting,” Cole said. “I need to be here.”