Jacksonville College Names New Academic Dean
Jacksonville College is pleased to announce that Marolyn Talley Welch has joined the College leadership team as Academic Dean. An instructor for almost nine years at the College, Marolyn brings to her new role a passion for teaching, a love for students, and a desire to help the College grow. As part of the JC faculty, she has also served as President of the Faculty Association and has worked closely with JC President Dr. Mike Smith to address faculty concerns and issues.
Marolyn is well loved by the students and was voted Favorite Instructor of the year for two consecutive years. As an instructor, she is thankful that she has been able to express her faith in the classroom. She understands the importance of academic excellence as well as sound biblical doctrine, and she loves to see students grow academically and spiritually. Marolyn explains, “I say with all humility that God brings glory to Himself when I teach. Even when I taught in the public school system, the secular content would lend itself to spiritual conclusions. The freedom afforded me at Jacksonville College to express my faith overwhelms me. I have been able to begin each class with a devotional thought that most often ties into the lesson for the day or some current event and follow this with a prayer for those students specific to the devotional theme of the day. In turn, students have frequently come by my office to chat and often for more personal prayer.”
Outside the classroom, Marolyn has also hosted a College Women’s Bible Study in her home one evening weekly. The girls who attend enjoy eating snacks, visiting with each other, and praying for each other. She says, “I’m sometimes exhausted before we start, but as I watch them crowd together in the den with coffee and crème soda and smiles and Bibles, refreshing comes.” The Bible study has recently moved on campus to the Newburn-Rawlins House to accommodate the growing group.
God began preparing Marolyn for the person she is today when she was just a child. She explains, “I have been on an amazing spiritual journey since the age of nine years old, when my mother helped me to place my name in John 3:16: ‘For God so loved [Marolyn] that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ My child heart eagerly loved God in return.”
Marolyn attended the same BMA church in New Mexico from the age of six until she married. She remembers, “My dad was a deacon, and my brother, Ben A. Talley, graduated with his master’s degree from our BMA Theological Seminary and pastored Enterprise Baptist Church in Jacksonville while a student at the seminary. I remember JC Music Department Chair Gerald Orr bringing the choir to sing at my church, and I thought how nice it would be to attend Jacksonville College and be in the choir.
However, Marolyn married a young preacher named Lee Welch shortly after high school, and her teaching experience began in the church her husband pastored. First she taught the youth at the church, and by the time she was 19 years old, she was teaching the adults.
Marolyn graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communications with a minor in English, and a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on Speech from the University of Texas at Tyler. She became a high school teacher and taught in public schools for many years before joining the Jacksonville College faculty in 2007.
In addition to teaching English and speech classes at the College, Marolyn has also taught Capstone courses for sophomores to help them build a personal portfolio and to prepare for the transition to a four-year university.
When asked about Marolyn’s new position at Jacksonville College, JC Director of Admissions Sandra Clay answered, “God has prepared Marolyn for this new avenue of ministry through experience as pastor's wife, mother, public school teacher, and college instructor. Her gentle spirit, ability to ask good questions, wisdom in hearing the voices of other stakeholders, and commitment to academic and spiritual excellence will make her an effective leader as the Academic Dean of Jacksonville College and will bless those of us who are privileged to work with her."
Jacksonville College Registrar Jodye Herring added, “Marolyn has a fresh perspective on academic life at Jacksonville College. She is full of energy and highly motivated to continue to improve student academic achievement.”
As a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), one of the toughest accrediting agencies in the United States, Jacksonville College follows the same academic requirements as big name institutions like The University of Texas at Austin, Texas Tech, and A&M at College Station. As Academic Dean, Marolyn’s desire is to continue to promote academic excellence through a strong curriculum at Jacksonville College. She also plans to focus on strengthening the College’s online degree program as well as the Honors Program.
When asked if she had ever considered being the new Academic Dean, Marolyn replied, “No, but in my quiet time and daily devotional in the Bible, I kept praying for God to call someone to fill the vacancy at the College, and I ended up being the one to answer. The book of Hebrews explains that God ‘equips the saints.’ To become the Academic Dean I hope to be, I will need God’s help. I trust that God will equip me for the role to which I have been called.”
In addition to teaching, Marolyn’s greatest loves include her pastor husband, who keeps her laughing, two amazing children and their spouses, and “four delightfully gra