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Golden Gate Seminary receives $300,000 Lilly Endowment grant

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)–LCD projectors, blackout blinds and ethernet switches — those high-tech phrases normally aren’t associated with theological training, but that is changing at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, thanks to a $300,000 grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., of Indianapolis.

Out of 230 schools in the Association of Theological Schools, the seminary was one of only 42 approved for an “Information Technology for Theological Training” grant. The $300,000, distributed over a three-year period, provides hardware, software, renovations and training needed to fully integrate up-to-date technology with the seminary’s classrooms and curriculum.

“I am so proud to be president of an institution that is not only on the cutting edge, but intends to stay there,” said seminary President William O. Crews. “I am so appreciative of Dr. [Michael] Martin and all who worked on this grant.”

“This will give us new tools to prepare people for ministry,” said Martin, associate dean of academic affairs at the Mill Valley, Calif., seminary and professor of New Testament interpretation. “It will provide the equipment, training, consultation and support to enhance quality teaching and learning.”

The grant provides for:

— software, based on curriculum needs;

— hardware, including LCD projectors, a projector screen and portable multi-media computers;

— classroom renovation, which will include blackout blinds for the seminary’s large windows, dropped ceilings to improve lighting, data and voice ports, telephones and all necessary cables;

— training for faculty, staff and technology support; and

— consultations with faculty at other schools that use information technology in the traditional classroom.

The grant also provides study time for faculty to create new courses with the new technology and incorporate it into existing courses.

“The use of technology does not guarantee good teaching,” Martin explained in the grant proposal, “but good teachers can use technology to enhance their instruction. This grant is teaching- and learning-driven.”

Golden Gate is one of six Southern Baptist Convention seminaries and operates at five campuses along the West Coast and in the western United States.

Craig Dykstra, Lilly Endowment vice president for religion, said, “With this initiative, we expect theological schools to develop their capacities to use computer-based technologies to enhance teaching and learning. Our long-term goal, of course, is to enrich American Christianity with a generation of knowledgeable ministers who can lead vibrant and healthy congregations in this country.”

Lilly Endowment, Inc., is a private foundation based in Indiana that supports community development, education and religion.

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  • Amanda Phifer