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FROM THE SEMINARIES: MBTS adds new degrees; SWBTS unveils new website

MBTS announces three new degrees, 14 new emphases

By Brett Fredenberg/MBTS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty approved curricular changes and added mentorship opportunities to its master’s program on March 30. The newly approved structure features double the number of available emphases, clear and attainable pathways to doctoral programs, and discipline-specific cohort offerings for Global Campus students.

“I am grateful to be able to announce these new degrees and new emphases in our Master’s programs at Midwestern Seminary,” said President Jason Allen. “These additions and changes will allow our students more focused mentorship by their professors, more focused study in the disciplines they desire, and more flexibility in moving between degree programs.”

The curricular changes consist of three main features: (1) the addition of a 36-hour Master of Christian Studies; (2) the reconfiguration of the Master of Theological Studies into three 45-hour degrees: Master of Biblical Studies, Master of Theological Studies, and Master of Applied Theology, with all four programs sharing a 30-hour core; and (3) revised and expanded Master of Divinity emphases.

The 36-hour Master of Christian Studies (MCS) is designed for those who want to take a first step in advancing their ministry or deepen their Christian walk. Students who complete the MCS can serve their churches more effectively and consider further theological education. All credits from the MCS can be applied to the M.Div. or other select master’s degrees.

The 45-hour Master of Biblical Studies, Master of Theological Studies, and Master of Applied Theology are designed for those who want to enrich their understanding of biblical and historic Christian doctrine and its application to the Church and the world today. Upon completion, students will be equipped for Christian leadership, teaching ministries, or further theological education. All credits from the 45-hour programs can be applied to the M.Div. Standard, the corresponding M.Div. emphasis, or other select master’s degrees.

The curricular updates also include the addition of several emphases to each master’s degree offering. The Master of Biblical Studies and Master of Theological Studies each contain four emphases and the Master of Applied Theology contains 13 emphases.

Read the full story and see a list of expanded degrees here.

New SWBTS, TBC websites offer enhanced user experience

By Elizabeth Bennett/SWBTS

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – An enhanced user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing website for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary launched on April 4, with an updated website for Texas Baptist College that went live April 10.

“I’m delighted that we are able to launch new websites for Southwestern Seminary and Texas Baptist College, which will well serve current and future students and communicate the mission and identity of this institution to equip students to live their callings,” said David S. Dockery, interim president. “These massive projects have been superbly led by Jaclyn Parrish, Beka Hodges and their colleagues in the Office of Communications and Campus Technology. I commend them for their tireless efforts, the excellent end products, and the way they have embodied our grace-filled core value in collaborating with faculty and staff in producing these new websites.”

Before beginning the transformation, which has been more than a year in the making, the Office of Communication commissioned an audit of the former websites, with the goal of identifying needed improvements in their design. According to Jaclyn Parrish, director of marketing, the team also reviewed feedback from students on what information they most needed from the online presence.

“We wanted high-quality data on where users were getting lost in our navigation, which pages were difficult to understand, and what information was missing,” Parrish explained. “Every change we’ve made to the website was driven by data we uncovered in that research.”

Parrish expressed gratitude for “the deans, department heads, and faculty members who’ve taken the time to review the websites and offer their insights and feedback. Their input has been key to ensuring that these sites were completed with excellence.”

Parrish said the new Southwestern Seminary website features the seminary’s blue and white colors, as were featured on the previous website, but the new shade of blue is softer. The new website also is the next step in the seminary’s “Live Your Calling” brand campaign, while the TBC website features its “Find Your Calling” campaign.

“Every effort has been made to make the website more aesthetically pleasing and intuitive to navigate,” Parrish said. “Photos are now strategically placed to brighten pages and give viewers a peek into Southwesterner life, but their file sizes have shrunk in order to enable your devices to load content more quickly. The font has been updated for readability, student and faculty testimonies have been added to our degree pages, crucial information has been added to our most-travelled pages, and lines of communication have opened to make contacting our offices easier than ever.”

Parrish, who has served at Southwestern Seminary since 2019, added, “The digital landscape is always changing, and high-quality websites adapt along with those changes. We want to make sure our websites continue to serve our current and future students as well as our faculty, partners, and our staff even as tech companies make constant updates to their hardware, algorithms, and platforms.”

Communications also wants to ensure that future students researching seminary training are able to effectively navigate the websites, Parrish said. “The path through higher education is a challenging one and we want to make sure our website is an on-ramp, not a hurdle,” stated Parrish.

Read the full story here.

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