Today’s From the Seminaries focuses on new academic programs at:
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Midwestern launches ‘The Residency’ Ph.D.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — A new facet of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s doctoral program aims to provide the context of campus life for students to make immediate application of their academic training.
Starting in the fall of 2017, “The Residency” will serve doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) students who have the freedom to pursue their degree within the community of Midwestern’s campus in Kansas City, Mo.
The Residency “complements and expands our current Ph.D. offerings,” MBTS President Jason Allen said in a Nov. 1 announcement. “The program is limited to 25 students per year, and it affords students who can relocate to campus key offerings such as mentorship, community and experience.”
The Residency combines the best aspects of the American Ph.D. program and the traditional United Kingdom doctoral model by merging independent advanced theological research with cohort-based mentorship and oversight by adding regular, intensive engagement with faculty and other theological leaders within the everyday rhythm of the Midwestern’s on-campus ministry culture.
“In all, this experience will get them on a trajectory of study that qualifies them specifically for a future in theological education or Christian higher education,” Allen said.
Allen further noted that Ph.D. students participating in The Residency will be able to accomplish their degree in an expedited timeframe.
“They are not working two jobs or three jobs, or even one fulltime job,” Allen said, “but they are coming here with the expressed intent of moving through the Ph.D. program quickly and to be well-equipped along the way.”
Provost Jason Duesing noted that many students who applied or participated in the seminary’s modular-based Ph.D. program often asked if attending in residence was an option. He said the answer has always been “Yes” but now The Residency enhances the existing program by providing on-ground opportunities for these students.
One significant enhancement for students in The Residency is earning a graduate certificate in theological education as part of the program, Duesing said.
The graduate certificate in theological higher education is a 12-hour certificate students earn as part of their studies, which formally signals the training they’ve received for teaching in institutions of higher learning. This includes classroom experience in lecturing and grading, administrative equipping and preparation for writing, publishing and other content-based resourcing that will give graduates of The Residency an advantage in consideration with academic employers.
Stressing the program’s emphasis on mentorship, Duesing noted, “The students in The Residency program will have opportunity for mentorship with a faculty member … to provide these students the things that a traditional Ph.D. program cannot teach you” — things like “What is it like to serve as a faculty member? What do you have to think through in terms of accreditation? How do you structure reading, writing, research and teaching? How do you teach classes?”
Duesing added that The Residency will fill in several gaps for Ph.D. students, as oftentimes Ph.D. studies don’t go so far as to teach students how to manage and teach seminars and classes.
Allen said The Residency students will attend the same seminars, follow the same curricular path and have the same tuition costs as non-residential Ph.D. students, but the format provides the benefits of personal interaction with faculty, administration, theological and pastoral leaders, and fellow students.
“Campus life at Midwestern Seminary provides an exciting and gracious culture within which to pursue your studies in a way that is both academically rigorous and spiritually enriching,” Allen said.
In the area of community, Duesing said The Residency students will engage in weekly forums for a minimum of four semesters. During this time, they will meet with the president, provost and key faculty members for direct oversight and academic coaching. Then, once their first four semesters are complete, The Residency students will begin to serve as Ph.D. student mentors themselves.
In addition, Allen said The Residency supplies an enculturated experience that better prepares doctoral students in the management and leadership skills and professorial aptitude necessary for service in academia.
“The Residency will build our students’ capabilities in the classroom and help them capitalize on Midwestern Seminary’s high rate of placement of doctoral grads in teaching positions,” Allen noted.
Program requirements for the residency include meeting current enrollment standards. Additionally, prospective students must hold an accredited M.Div. or M.Div.-equivalency of at least 72 or more credit hours, have a minimum GPA of 3.4 and undergo a substantive interview with an MBTS faculty member.
“We want to bring the very best this institution has to offer and funnel it toward these students who want to come and get a Ph.D. in an expedited timeframe, and with an understanding in their heart that they feel a calling to theological education or toward Christian higher education,” Allen said.
Applications are now being accepted for fall semester of 2017. To learn more about The Residency, visit www.mbts.edu/theresidency or contact Mindy Akright in Midwestern’s doctoral office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boyce: new journal & philosophy, politics, economics degree
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Boyce College, under its new Augustine Honors Collegium, will publish the inaugural issue of an undergraduate research journal in June 2017 and is seeking submissions from college students.
Boyce College also has announced a new degree to prepare students to apply a Christian worldview in the areas of politics, international justice and economic development. The bachelor of science in philosophy, politics and economics program will begin in fall 2017.
Augustine Honors Collegium
Matthew J. Hall, dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s undergraduate school, said the Augustine Honors Collegium will provide “an opportunity for students and faculty to dig in deeper into the history of ideas and the contours of a thick biblical worldview in a way that will have a lasting impact on their lives and vocations.”
The collegium’s “Augustine Collegiate Review” will present interdisciplinary conversations across broad theological, cultural and philosophical topics from a Christian perspective and promote undergraduate research and writing. The journal will be published twice a year; each issue will feature several undergraduate student-written pieces from within and outside Boyce College, articles requested from active scholars, and a variety of book reviews from both students and scholars.
“It’s one thing to think clearly. It’s another thing entirely to develop the skill to transfer thoughts to a coherent paragraph,” Hall said. “The Augustine Collegiate Review takes the best of the old — peer-reviewed scholarly publishing — and fuses it with the best of the new — digital publishing — providing students with an opportunity to be directly engaged with some of the most pressing questions and issues of our day. This resource will not only benefit students, but the entire Boyce College community and beyond.”
The Augustine Honors Collegium, a selective academic program launched in August, encourages the development of academic writing, research and communication skills through an enhanced curriculum. Program leaders say it also fosters a community for students who desire a challenge beyond undergraduate requirements and provides opportunities for engaging the church and the world outside the confines of a classroom. All participants who graduate from the Augustine Honors Collegium will complete a research thesis to be presented to the academic community before graduation.
Jonathan Arnold, director of the collegium and a two-time graduate of Oxford University, said the program is designed “to challenge students to think more deeply about the biggest questions facing Christians and to engage the rest of the world, including the broader academy, in those conversations. This type of education requires not only the ability to think critically but also the ability to communicate effectively.”
The Augustine Collegiate Review, meanwhile, will provide students “an opportunity to hold those conversations in a public setting while also allowing for undergraduates from other institutions to join in these conversations and to benefit from the time-honored, peer-review publishing process,” said Arnold, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history.
Students are invited to submit a paper for the inaugural issue of the Augustine Collegiate Review: An Undergraduate Research Journal.” Papers should be written by undergraduate students only, 4,000 words in length, and related to the issue’s theme: metaphysics and ontology considered from a broadly Christian perspective. All submitted papers will be subject to a double-blind review process. To be considered, students must email their submissions to Arnold, who is the journal’s general editor, no later than Friday, March 31, 2017. No submissions will be considered after this date.
Students must include the following information about their paper: educational credentials, a letter of endorsement from a faculty member at their university, paper title and a short summary of the proposed paper explaining its focus and argument. All papers should adhere to journal guidelines that can be accessed at boycecollege.com/the-augustine-honors-collegium.
Philosophy, politics and economics degree
The new bachelor of science in philosophy, politics and economics, as described by Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr., is “another great step in the maturity and growth of Boyce College” and “one of the most significant and timely majors we could offer at this time, especially to young people who are going to be prepared to apply the Christian worldview to every dimension of life and to some of the most pressing challenges of our day in economics and politics.”
The interdisciplinary degree, in addressing the mounting challenges facing Christians in a globalized society, will advocate for religious liberty, public justice, human flourishing and the need for a holistic ministry, according the program’s website.
“Our mission is to serve the church, equipping young men and women with an education grounded in biblical truth that will prepare them for global Kingdom service,” said Matthew Hall, Boyce College’s dean. “In an age that is so deeply confused about what it means to be made in the image of God and what makes for human flourishing, this degree program aims to send out graduates for service in the church, the public square and the marketplace who will make a difference for Christ.”
While the program can prepare future pastors to lead their churches in engaging the public square, students also can use the degree to work for missions organizations and nonprofit organizations that need executives and staff trained in economics and public policy analysis.
The degree program includes 39 hours of studies in the philosophy, politics and economics major, which will be incorporated with 33 hours of biblical and theological studies courses and 12 hours of ministry studies courses.
Bryan Baise, assistant professor of worldview and apologetics and program director for the new degree, said it will provide “a unique opportunity for Southern Baptists to study key ideas placed into an interdisciplinary context with a philosophical and theological mind.”
For more information on the degree and to apply, visit boycecollege.com/ppe.