Ashland University has announced a change in the leadership of the Ashland Theological Seminary, a graduate division of AU, as John Byron has decided to step down as dean and return to full-time faculty work. Yvonne Glass has been selected to serve as interim dean of Ashland Theological Seminary, effective June 1.
“On behalf of the board, I want to express our deep gratitude for Dr. Byron’s leadership of the seminary over the past six years,” said Jim Hess, chair of the AU Board of Trustees. “He has been a stabilizing force at the seminary during a time when seminaries across the country are in a season of transition. In addition, Dr. Byron has developed new and innovative programs and approaches that will serve our seminary well as we go forward. We pray for God’s blessing on Dr. Byron as he returns to the classroom to impact generations in that role on campus.”
Byron said, “after a period of prayer and deliberation, I decided it was time for me to stepdown as the dean and return to the faculty. The last few years have been challenging for theological education as it absorbs the compounded effects of online education, the pandemic, and a changing church. I have been blessed to lead Ashland Theological Seminary through these times of unprecedented challenge and change. It has also been an exhausting time to be in leadership and I recognize it is time for the next leader to continue moving the seminary forward. I am grateful to the faculty and staff for all of the support I have received over the last four years. I am especially thankful for my wife, Lori, and her unwavering support.”
“Ashland has been a place where I have grown both spiritually and professionally. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve as dean and I look forward to continuing to serve the seminary as a faculty member,” stated Byron. “I wish Dr. Yvonne Glass every blessing as she steps into her new role. I am praying for her and will do whatever I can to support and assist her.”
Byron, who spent four years as the seminary dean and two as interim dean, is in his 20th year as a professor of the New Testament at the seminary. His research interests include New Testament and Christian origins, Pauline epistles, history and literature of early Judaism, the rewritten Bible, slavery in antiquity, perceptions of childlessness in antiquity and the archaeology and historical geography of Syro-Palestine.
Byron has authored six books and been published in several peer-reviewed journals. He is well-traveled, having studied and taught in Israel and other areas of the Middle East, as well as England.
As dean, Byron has been instrumental in helping to stabilize the seminary’s enrollment during a time of great change in the cultural landscape surrounding theological education. The faculty, administration, and staff are thankful for Dr. Byron’s leadership and innovative vision.
Timothy Solomon, member of the AU Board of Trustees and chair of the seminary committee, said, “We thank Dr. John Byron for his outstanding leadership during his time at the helm of the seminary. Dr. Byron was clearly the right person at the right time to take over the leadership at ATS. We wish him the very best as he prepares to dedicate more time to teaching and writing, and we promise to continue to pray for him and Lori, and for the future work that God has in store for them.”
“The members of the seminary committee are very pleased that Dr. Yvonne Glass has agreed to serve as the interim dean of Ashland Theological Seminary. We look forward to assisting her in helping to carry out the purpose and plans that God has for us, as together we continue to seek His guidance and leading,” Solomon added.
Glass has been the director of the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program and part of the ATS faculty since 2018. She possesses almost 20 years of clinical experience in various settings, including a school system, private practice and professional advocacy. She believes in incorporating faith into the counseling experience and her studies examine how religiosity positively impacts the daily stressors of life.
Glass holds three degrees from Kent State University, a bachelor’s in biology, a master’s in community counseling and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision.
“I am excited for this opportunity to serve my community in this new role. The seminary has become more than an academic home, but a place where I can follow my calling to train the next generation of counselors,” said Glass. “I hope to expand my calling as I serve in this position. I look forward to advancing the rich heritage of the seminary by equipping modern-day disciples.”
AU President Carlos Campo added, “We are grateful to Dr. Yvonne Glass for stepping into this interim role as the head of the seminary at such a crucial time. Her leadership over the past five years reflects her commitment to excellence, and we are confident that she will move the seminary forward over the next year as we seek a permanent leader for ATS.”
He continued, “We thank Dr. John Byron for his exemplary work as dean, and we wish him and Lori well as he returns to his work as a professor and researcher. Dr. Byron has led with vision and integrity during his tenure as dean, and I know I speak for many board members, alums, faculty and staff when I say that we will miss him as our leader at ATS. Dr. Byron took over the seminary during a difficult time, and has been instrumental in stabilizing the institution while creating a vision for its future. We ask God’s continued blessing on him in the days ahead.”
The seminary community is grateful to Dr. Glass for her willingness to serve as interim dean and looks forward to her leadership in and contribution to the mission and work of the seminary.