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SEBTS trustees approve new degrees; raise budget by $1.8M, tuition by 20%

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s board of trustees voted during their April 12-13 meeting to approve two new degree programs and increase the school’s budget for the 1999-2000 fiscal year by nearly $2 million.
The master of divinity with North American church planting and the master of theological studies are the latest degree programs to be added to the seminary’s academic menu.
The new church-planting program was created in response to a church-planting initiative funded by the North American Mission Board, the “ Nehemiah Project.” NAMB is in the process of establishing church-planting centers on each of the six Southern Baptist seminary campuses as part of the project.
Bill Brown, instructor of evangelism and church growth at Southeastern, is heading the program at the Wake Forest, N.C., seminary. Brown is expected to receive a doctorate in philosophy with an emphasis in evangelism from Southeastern in December. His position is being fully funded by NAMB.
The new degree program represents the North American equivalent of the international church-planting program pioneered at Southeastern in 1995. Currently, Southeastern has 96 student units and their families participating in various stages of a two-year church-planting mission overseas.
Students in the master of divinity with North American church planting program will spend two years studying on campus and two years working as a church starter within the United States.
Southeastern, which began a 10-year church-planting partnership with the New Hampshire Baptist Association in 1997, will now broaden its scope under the “Nehemiah Project” to target the entire eastern seaboard as well.
With the addition of the degree program in North American church planting, trustees voted to distinguish their existing international church-planting program by changing its name from the M.Div. with church planting to the M.Div. with international church planting.
The new master of theological studies program (M.T.S.) adopted by the trustees calls for 48 academic credit hours and differs from the school’s existing master of theology (Th.M.), which remains the preferred pre-doctoral program.
M.T.S. students will not be required to meet the minimum 3.0 grade point average required for the Th.M. and will not participate in the seminary’s doctor of philosophy seminar program as required with the Th.M.
Applicants to the new M.T.S. program must have an earned master of divinity or its equivalent and have received academic credit for at least one year of Greek or Hebrew.
Under the new program, students must complete their research theses within one year following approval of their research topic.
Trustees approved a $13.1 million budget for the 1999-2000 fiscal year beginning Aug. 1. The new budget represents a $1.8 million increase over the current $11.3 million budget. Included in the budget increase is a 3 percent raise in salary for administration and staff and about a 6 percent raise for faculty salaries. Trustees also approved a 1 percent bonus for faculty at the end of the 1999-2000 fiscal year if funds are available.
Part of the budget increase comes as a result of an increased allocation from the Cooperative Program of nearly a half-million dollars over last year’s Cooperative Program contribution.
The Cooperative Program allocation is based on a rolling three-year enrollment average. “We’re very grateful to the convention churches for providing that kind of increase,” said Southeastern President Paige Patterson.
Trustees also approved a 20 percent increase in tuition for seminary students and 33 percent for college students.
Tuition for seminary students who are members of Southern Baptist churches will increase this fall from $75 per academic credit hour to $90 per academic credit hour. Tuition for non-Southern Baptist students will increase from $150 per credit hour to $180 per credit hour.
Southeastern Baptist Theological College students who are members of Southern Baptist churches can expect their tuition to increase from $75 per credit hour to $100 per credit hour. Non-Southern Baptist students will see their tuition rise from $150 to $200 per credit hour.
Patterson described the tuition hike as regrettable but necessary for the school to meet its budgetary needs mandated by the institution’s unparalleled growth in recent years. Southeastern’s budget has increased by more than 60 percent over the past two years, going from $8 million to more than $13 million. Meanwhile, the number of full-time employees has risen by nearly 42 percent increasing from 84 to 119.
Southeastern’s enrollment has skyrocketed since the fall of 1992 when Patterson was inaugurated as president, increasing by more than 153 percent. In the fall of 1992, the school registered an enrollment of 628 students. In the fall of 1998, Southeastern’s enrollment reached 1,590 students. To date, 1,813 students have enrolled at Southeastern during the 1998-99 academic year.
To keep pace with enrollment, Patterson reported that five new professors will be joining the faculty this fall under presidential appointment.
John Sailhamer has been named professor of Old Testament and Hebrew. Currently, Sailhamer is the Author B. Whiting Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at Western Seminary, Portland, Ore.
David Nelson, currently a doctor of philosophy student and adjunct instructor worship leader at Southeastern, has been named instructor of systematic theology. Nelson is scheduled to complete his doctoral course work in May.
Jason Lee, currently a doctor of philosophy student in church history at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, has been named assistant professor of church history. Lee is scheduled to receive his Ph.D. later this year.
Emir Caner, currently a doctor of philosophy student in history at the University of Texas at Arlington, has been named assistant professor of church history and Anabaptist studies. Caner is scheduled to receive his Ph.D. in May.
Phyllis McCraw, currently an adjunctive instructor of English composition at Southeastern Baptist Theological College, has been named instructor of English at the college.
Trustees elected the following professors who had been teaching under presidential appointment: Stephen Rummage as assistant professor of preaching; Josef Solc as assistant professor of theology and missions at SEBTC; and Steven McKinion as assistant professor of church history.
Ken Coley was promoted from assistant to associate professor of Christian education.
In other action, Southeastern’s board of visitors and trustees pledged more than $322,000 toward the construction of the seminary’s 16,000-square-foot Center for Great Commission Studies. The seminary still needs $1 million to fund construction of the $3.2 million state-of-the-art missions training facility. When completed, the missions building will be equipped with compressed interactive satellite video-conferencing with missionaries around the world. The building will also have an auditorium to hold classes and other training activities and house the “Churches in Habitat” project aimed at mapping every indigenous evangelical church in the world.
Trustees also learned that Johnson Dormitory, a dorm for single men, was closed Jan. 31 because of plumbing problems as well as fire and safety risks. A study committee has been appointed to evaluate options for using the building in the future.
In an update on student housing construction, trustees learned that the 120-unit Flaherty Farms apartment complex off White Street has been completed and another 84 units are scheduled to be completed in early fall.
Construction has been put on hold until next year of a trustee-approved additional 39 units to Fletcher Village which opened off Stadium Drive in the fall of 1998.

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  • Lee Weeks