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Southwestern adds Criswell College in extending training for ministers

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has added Criswell College to the schools with which it has a cooperative relationship.
Southwestern will move its off-campus center in Garland, Texas, a Dallas suburb, to the Criswell campus in downtown Dallas, under an agreement reported to Southwestern’s trustees during their March 9-11 meeting in Fort Worth. Southwestern will begin offering master’s-level courses on the Criswell campus, and Southwestern students will be able to take undergraduate level classes at Criswell.
Criswell College also announced March 25 it is phasing out its master’s-level programs, except one lay-oriented program. Richard Wells, president of the college, indicated that Criswell will focus on expanded opportunities for training at the undergraduate level.
“By partnering with Southwestern,” Wells said. “The Criswell College reaffirms its historic commitment to provide first-rate biblical and theological education, and in more fields than ever before. At the same time, we are affirming the educational ministry of a great seminary — and all for the advance of the kingdom and the glory of God.”
The move will enable Southwestern students to take advantage of Criswell’s location and graduate theological library holdings, said Scotty Gray, Southwestern vice president for academic administration. Gray said a large number of Southwesterners serving in Dallas-Fort Worth-area churches and have not finished their degrees will find this Dallas center helpful in completing their degrees.
Other schools have approached Southwestern about developing relationships with the seminary. Discussions have been held with Dallas Baptist University; East Texas Baptist University, Marshall, Texas; and Houston Baptist University.
Southwestern already offers classes through off-campus centers on the campuses of DBU, ETBU and HBU, as well as in Lubbock and San Antonio, Texas; Little Rock, Ark.; and Oklahoma City and Shawnee, Okla.
Southwestern administrators have indicated their desire to channel bachelor-level students to the universities and colleges, Gray said.
By channeling undergraduate students to the colleges and universities, Southwestern will continue to maintain its principal emphasis on graduate-level education, even though the school’s diploma and graduate diploma programs continue to grow significantly.
“We refer our diploma students to them and they refer their graduates to us,” Gray said. “We are reaffirming our state Baptist schools.”
Southwestern’s diploma studies program offers undergraduate-level degrees to students 25 years old or older.