KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Despite a 17 percent decrease in Cooperative Program funding since 1999-2000, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has grown noticeably in headcount, credit hours and full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment count, President R. Philip Roberts said in his report to trustees Oct. 10.
The number of new matriculated students, or those enrolled in classes, for fall 2005 is 186 students, up almost 102 percent from 92 last fall, Roberts reported. “We are astounded at God’s blessings given to Midwestern by sending us 186 new matriculating students,” he said. “It is humbling to see how God can bless even when our efforts often are so flawed.”
Roberts told trustees that the seminary’s 2004-05 unduplicated headcount, which represents the total number of students who have taken a class in the academic year, was 899 students, up from 794 in 2003-04, a 13 percent gain.
The board also received a strong report from its auditing firm, Keller & Owens, for the 2004-05 fiscal year that closed Aug. 1. Due to the seminary’s solid cash flow position, a 3.5 percent bonus was given to fulltime personnel in August.
Trustees also approved a 1.25 percent salary increase for employees beginning in January 2006.
In academic affairs, the board voted unanimously to appoint Darrell Robinson as distinguished professor of evangelism, a position created in March by the trustees with the same responsibility in accountability as other faculty but with a reduced teaching load to permit fulltime ministry.
Robinson, of Kennesaw, Ga., is president of Total Church Life Ministries, Inc., and previously served as the vice president for evangelism at the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) from 1989-97. He has written numerous books on evangelism, including “Total Church Life,” which was published by Broadman & Holman, “How to be a Growing Christian” and “People Sharing Jesus.”
“Midwestern Seminary has been blessed by the teaching and enthusiasm of Darrell Robinson for the Gospel and its proclamation,” Roberts said. “We look forward to many years of his influence for evangelism shared with our students.”
Academic dean Thorvald Madsen gave trustees an update on academic developments at Midwestern. He said Midwestern Baptist College, SBC, the seminary’s undergraduate school, is looking at the possibility of adding majors in education, Christian ministry and aviation to the recently accredited bachelor of arts degree in biblical studies.
Madsen also mentioned that a study committee has been created to determine the feasibility of creating a Ph.D. program at Midwestern. Initial discussions, he said, have been positive and have centered on the seminary’s area of strength -– biblical studies -– as the focus for the program, with two tracks: Old Testament and New Testament.
In the student development area, the board approved a new dress code for the institution emphasizing Christ-honoring modesty, courtesy and mutual respect.
Trustees also approved a full tuition scholarship for two semesters for those who have completed a Journeyman assignment with the International Mission Board.
During the meeting, new Midwestern trustee Cornelia Ashby presented a $2,000 check from her home church, Hillcrest Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md., a noted supporter of the Cooperative Program.
Ashby said the church has several members serving on SBC boards and enjoys showing its support of them through financial contributions like the one presented to Midwestern
The next Midwestern trustee meeting is scheduled for March 27-28, 2006, in Kansas City, Mo.