News Articles

SBC DIGEST: NOBTS counseling program accredited; CBU historic gift; Ridgecrest reunion

NOBTS counseling program receives key CACREP accreditation

By Marilyn Stewart/NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has received notification of accreditation for its licensure-track master’s programs in counseling and the counseling doctoral program by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a signal to the program’s quality and professionalism.

CACREP, a specialized accreditor that evaluates professional preparation programs within institutions, notified NOBTS by letter Feb. 22.

“I am excited for the decision made by the CACREP Board of Directors to accredit our graduate and doctoral programs in counseling,” said Jamie Dew, president. “This accreditation means our graduates will be able to take their biblically saturated training in counseling and serve in a multitude of contexts to be salt and light in a broken and hurting world.”

Accredited were the licensure-track master’s specializations in clinical mental health counseling and in marriage, couple, and family counseling, as well as the Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision.

According to the CACREP website, CACREP accreditation means “the program has been evaluated and meets standards set by the profession.” The website notes also that CACREP-accredited programs meet the required educational training for counseling licensure in most states, “making CACREP-accreditation a pathway to portability.”

The accreditation process included a voluntary self-study submitted by the NOBTS graduate counseling faculty that was reviewed by counselors and counselor educators using CACREP standards. A visit by a CACREP on-site team followed.

“I am proud of the team that has led our program through the accreditation process,” Dew said. “Southern Baptists can rest in the knowledge that when they send us students for training in counseling they will be sent out with a biblically-based training that has prepared them to serve anywhere God calls them.”

CACREP requirements for accreditation focused on institutional settings, program mission and objectives, program content, practicum experiences, student selection and advising, faculty qualifications and workload, program governance, instructional support and self-evaluation.

“The accreditation process was rigorous, and the reward is significant for our students,” said Craig Garrett, associate dean, division of counseling.

“CACREP accreditation signals to licensing boards, employers and the public that our seminary counseling graduates have trained in a program that meets the highest training standards,” Garrett continued. “It especially positions our doctoral grads to teach in CACREP accredited higher education programs where they can influence new generations of counselors.”

A 2016 response letter posted on the CACREP “about page” clarified the organization’s position on allowing programs at faith-based institutions to act in ways consistent with the institution’s mission. The letter states “CACREP standards provide a framework of educational standards that is intended to provide flexibility for programs and the institutions that house them.”

“The world is in great need of licensed counselors with a biblical worldview,” said Norris Grubbs, provost. “We are excited about the doors this accreditation opens for NOBTS students to minister to those who are hurting.”

California Baptist University receives historic $28.5M gift

By CBU Staff

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (BP) – California Baptist University will receive the largest gift in its 73-year history — $28.5 million— from real estate developer Dale E. Fowler and his wife, Sarah Ann. CBU will name its 5,050-seat campus events center in their honor.

“We are extremely thankful to Dale and Ann for their generosity and support,” said CBU President Ronald L. Ellis. “This gift will be instrumental in our ability to continue delivering upon our mission to help students live God’s purpose in their lives. The Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler Events Center will be a reminder of how their generosity will impact CBU for generations to come.”

The Fowlers were originally introduced to CBU by their friends Billie Yeager and her late husband, Gene, who were early and significant supporters of CBU. Dale and Ann also have two grandchildren who graduated from CBU. Dale Fowler is an Orange County native and businessman. The couple divide their time between residences in Massachusetts and Southern California.

“Supporting education is a priority for us,” Dale Fowler said. “It’s an honor to contribute to a university that makes a lasting impact on the lives of its students and in the areas they go on to work, serve and live. CBU is a remarkable Christian institution and we are proud to support the important things happening on campus.”

The Fowlers have donated to CBU and other colleges in Southern California and in Massachusetts. Their previous gifts to CBU supported endowed and general scholarships and the Endurance Fund, created to help the university through the pandemic. The couple’s latest gift is not designated to a particular project, university officials said.

“Working with Dale and Ann over the years has been a blessing and I am thrilled their legacy will be on full display at the events center,” said Paul J. Eldridge, J.D., vice president for University Advancement. “Friends like the Fowlers who invest in future generations unlock tremendous opportunities to enhance the student experience and impact student lives. It is exciting to think of the many ways Dale and Ann’s gift will help future students reach their educational goals.”

Ridgecrest to host summer staff reunion June 1-4

By BP Staff

NASHVILLE (BP) — Decades of memories will be on the agenda for former summer staff of Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center at the group’s annual alumni reunion June 1-4.

The decision to incorporate a Southern Baptist “assembly” in 1907 led to the purchase later that year of 1,100 acres near Black Mountain, N.C., by the North Carolina Baptist State Convention and SBC Sunday School Board (now Lifeway Christian Resources). The same engineering firm that developed the Biltmore Estate in nearby Asheville joined the effort. By 1909 some 600 people took part in the first summer program of Ridgecrest Baptist Conference Center.

In 2020 Lifeway reached an agreement to sell the conference center and its summer camps, but the location has remained one of activity – not to mention nostalgia – for Southern Baptists like the thousands who have worked on the summer staff.

Early bird registration at $30 per person ends after Feb. 28, moving to $50 per person through June 1. Additional attendees age 6-18 will be $10 each with a paying adult. Those 5 years old and younger can attend for free.

On-site nightly accommodations are available at Pritchell ($70), Rhododendron ($89), Mountain Laurel West ($99) and Mountain Laurel East ($109). Individual meal plan options are also available.

Check-in will begin Thursday, June 1 with dinner following at 5:30. An opening session slide show at 7 will feature images from summers past, devotional/testimony and group ice breakers before an evening fellowship at the Nibble Nook.

Plenty of free time makes up the Friday and Saturday schedules, alongside volunteer opportunities, worship with current staff, devotionals and S’mores at the fire pit. Magician David Garrard will be the featured entertainment for the Friday night dinner.

The weekend will conclude Sunday, June 4, with worship and a slide show of the event.

For more information or to register, email [email protected]. Summer staff alumni updates can be found by subscribing to the group’s newsletter or joining their Facebook page.

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