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4 Southern Baptist seminaries approved for doctorates in educational ministry (revised)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Four Southern Baptist Convention seminaries have been approved to offer a new doctor of educational ministry degree, according to notifications received from the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada in February.

Receiving word of ATS approval were New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas; Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo.; and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky.

Additionally, Southern Seminary received ATS approval to offer a new master of arts in Christian school administration designed for people who hold a teacher’s certificate and who have experience in classroom teaching.

ATS, the accrediting agency for graduate theological education in North America, authorized the doctor of educational ministry (D.Ed.Min.) degree in June 1998 to be offered to people who serve in some form of church ministry, denominational service or missions administration and who hold a master of arts of Christian education (MACE), master in arts of religious education (MARE), master in religious education (MRE) or equivalent degrees.

Previously, holders of these degrees were required to do master of divinity equivalency work before beginning a professional doctoral program.

“Prior to this, students with the M.A. did not have the opportunity to pursue a professional doctorate,” said Dennis Williams, dean of Southern Seminary’s school of Christian education and leadership.

Jeanine Bozeman, NOBTS chairperson of the division of Christian education, said the new degree accommodates those who want additional education but who do not want a research degree. “The D.Ed.Min. degree is a bridge between a master’s degree and a Ph.D.,” she said.

The D.Ed.Min. degree maintains academic integrity while being sensitive to the numerous ministry demands on busy staff members, seminary officials noted.

Tim Searcy, associate director of NOBTS’s professional doctoral programs and director of the D.Ed.Min. degree program, explained that the degree program allows students to remain in their ministries while pursuing their degrees, whereas before, they had to leave their ministries to pursue doctoral education.

The degree was first proposed to ATS in January 1998 by Southwestern Seminary and two non-SBC seminaries.

Among key facets of the four-year D.Ed.Min. program will be a reduced number of seminars in campus settings and a range of specializations, such as administration, leadership, age-group ministries, church growth and church health, family and community ministries.

In some instances, seminars may be taken independently of on-campus meetings under the direction of an elected faculty member, and some workshops may be offered at special events such as the Southern Baptist Religious Education Association’s annual meeting.

Concerning Southern Seminary’s new master of arts in Christian school administration, Williams noted, “Because of the growth of Christian schools in our churches, there is a need for training administrators.”

The program will lead to certification for the Association of Christian Schools International and can be completed in two summers and one full year of study. Classes will begin in June.

(Southwestern Seminary has offered a master of arts in Christian school education since 1998, designed for both administrators and teachers working full-time in a Christian school, K-12. Coursework requirements can be completed in two summers. In addition, students must complete an internship at their school and a thesis or research project. Students receiving the degree will be eligible for certification from ACSI.)

With a waiting list of 33 people who contacted Midwestern Seminary about their D.Ed.Min. degree, doctoral studies program director Robert Vaughan said classes in the new degree plan will begin the last week of July.

“Our degree will bridge the gap between the practical education and research aspect of the old Ed.D. degree,” Vaughan said.

He said he has heard from applicants with a broad range of experience, including ministers of education, pastors, youth ministers, teachers in charter schools, Christian educators, and as diverse as people working in juvenile justice and healthcare fields.

Further information about the new degrees may be obtained by contacting:

— New Orleans Seminary’s office of professional doctoral programs at 1-800-662-8701, ext. 3728, or e-mail at [email protected].

— Southern Seminary’s school of Christian education and leadership at (502) 897-4813, or e-mail at [email protected].

— Southwestern Seminary’s doctor of educational ministry office: (817) 923-1921, ext. 3500, or e-mail at [email protected]. Information also is available on the Internet at www.swbts.edu/reled/doctorate/ed_min.htm.

— Midwestern Seminary’s office of doctor of educational ministry, 1-888-628-7339, ext. 755, e-mail at [email protected]. Information also is available on the Internet at www.mbts.edu.

All the degrees are subject to approval from the ATS commission at its June meeting.

Shannon Baker, Tim Ellsworth & Matt Sanders contributed to this article.