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SWBTS notes enrollment gain, new scholarship

EDITOR’S NOTE: See Oct. 24 Baptist Press story for a report on Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee action regarding President Paige Patterson’s decision to admit a Muslim into the seminary’s biblical archaeology doctoral program.

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees elected new faculty members, appointed faculty to six new academic chairs and approved new music degrees for the College at Southwestern during their Oct. 22 fall meeting.

Additionally, trustees received reports of double-digit percentage increases in enrollment for the fall semester and learned of a Road to Ministry Scholarship described as “game-changing.”

Steven Smith, vice president for student services and communications, delivered a report indicating a 12 percent increase in total enrollment for fall 2014 — at 3,317 students — over fall 2013’s count of 2,971. In addition, new student enrollment increased by 10 percent, Smith reported.

Faculty elections

Candi Finch was elected as assistant professor of theology in women’s studies in the school of theology, effective Jan. 1. Finch, who has been serving under presidential appointment since 2012, currently is a Ph.D. candidate in systematic theology at the Fort Worth campus. She earned her M.Div. at Southwestern in 2005 and her B.A. at the University of South Florida in 2001. Finch also serves as executive assistant to Dorothy Patterson, wife is the seminary’s president, Paige Patterson.

Kelly King was elected as assistant professor of childhood education in the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries, effective immediately. King, who has been serving under presidential appointment since 2011, earned both her Ph.D. and M.A. from Southwestern in 2009 and 1992, respectively. In addition to teaching, King also serves as executive assistant to Paige Paterson.

Sarah Spring was elected as assistant professor of English in the College at Southwestern, effective immediately. Spring, who has been serving under presidential appointment since August, earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from Texas A&M University in 2010 and 2004, respectively, and her B.A. from the University of Central Arkansas in 2002. Before coming to Southwestern, Spring served as assistant professor of English at Winthrop University in South Carolina.

Academic chairs

Trustees approved faculty to occupy six academic chairs, effective Jan. 1:

— Karen Kennemur, assistant professor of children’s ministry, Bessie Fleming Chair of Childhood Education.

— Steven Smith, vice president for student services and communications, E. Hermond Westmorland Chair of Preaching.

— Michael Wilson, associate professor of pastoral ministry, Fred M. and Edith M. Hale Chair of Prayer and Spiritual Formation.

— Mike Morris, associate professor of missions, Ida M. Bottoms Chair of Missions.

— Frank Catanzaro, professor of adult education and counseling, Hope for the Heart Chair of Biblical Counseling.

— Chris Shirley, assistant professor of adult ministry, Jack D. and Barbara Terry Chair of Religious Education.

New degrees

Trustees approved two new degree programs for the College at Southwestern:

— Bachelor of music in performance, a 127-hour degree comprising 44 hours in general and theological studies, 41 hours in music performance studies and 42 hours of a selected concentration (vocal, piano, organ or instrumental performance).

— Bachelor of music in worship leadership, a 123-hour degree comprising 44 hours of general and theological studies, 55 hours in music and performance, and 24 hours in worship leadership studies.

Both degrees require students to take a major ensemble during each semester of full-time enrollment through their junior year of study, meaning participation in either chapel choir or chapel orchestra.

Road to Ministry Scholarship

Steven Smith delivered a report from the seminary’s financial aid office concerning the Road to Ministry Scholarship, of which there are two types. The first is available to incoming freshmen to the College at Southwestern to cover the cost of one full year of a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree (spread out over the course of that degree). The other type of scholarship is available to students pursuing a master of divinity degree, paying for one-third of the total cost for those students’ education. The scholarship will be available beginning the fall 2015 semester.

These scholarships are the result of a generous donation to Southwestern. Given the large amount of these financial awards and their potential impact for ministry, Smith referred to them collectively as a “game-changer.”

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  • Alex Sibley