Major Changes Coming Fall 2020
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Changes Coming Fall 2020
Our president, faculty and staff have been working on significant changes to our curriculum, programs and how they are offered.
While we have many details left to sort, the main contours are now clear.
There are many dynamics at work leading us to reconsider how we provide theological education. These include (but are not limited to):
The majority of our students work full-time, meaning they can take fewer hours of coursework per semester. This significantly lengthens the time needed to complete a degree.
Theological education is increasingly sought by non-professional ministry leaders. From laity leaders and bi-vocational ministers, to homegrown associate ministers (often leading children or youth ministries), there is greater variety in the sort of persons seeking theological education.
Just 25 years ago, most seminaries were full-service entities, offering degrees in theology, music, social work and pastoral care, among others. Today, schools are choosing the areas in which they specialize.
Seminary used to be a largely residential experience. Today, people work full-time and need to pursue their education from where they are serving. Technology now offers ways to connect with students without requiring they move to or attend at a campus.
What is most valuable about what BSK offers, and how easy/hard is it to access it?
Many of the transformations coming in 2020 arise from working with that question.
BSK’s M.Div. degree currently requires the successful completion of 90 hours of coursework. Our curriculum revisioning process, which wraps up in early 2020, is working to develop a more streamlined curriculum that continues our focus on formation and excellence, while reducing the number of required hours. This will allow students to receive a high quality experience in fewer years.
Learners come with a variety of goals. Some are lay or bi-vocational leaders seeking additional knowledge and formation, while others are seeking a degree. Some already have a graduate degree but wish to specialize or grow in key areas as ministers.
By Fall 2020, BSK will offer two sorts of certificate options: Flourish and BSK Certificates. These will be offered online, through intensives, or through regular course offerings, depending on the topic/focus.
Flourish Certificates will be offered through our Flourish Center, providing relevant experiences to promote congregational effectiveness and imagination. These shorter courses of study will not provide graduate credit.
BSK will also offer certificates providing graduate credit, allowing students to pursue a certificate and then later roll those hours into the M.Div. program, should they choose to pursue that degree. It also allows persons who already have their M.A. or M.Div. degree to continue to learn and grow. Our initial BSK Certificates will likely be in Pastoral Care and Rural Ministry.
For the last two years, BSK has been using our Zoom and Zoom Room technology to connect our Georgetown and Louisville classrooms. Many of our courses have also deepened their use of Populi, our online learning management system. In Fall 2020, we will expand the use of these systems to provide ways for students who live in other states to pursue certificates and the M.Div. degree. There are many ways to do “online education,” but we prefer to describe our approach as “in-place.” The idea is to continue our relational approach to formation, while also including the richness of the context in which a student is living and serving. The flavor of our presence at Simmons College, Georgetown College and the Berry Center will also be involved.
Because our revisioning process continues through January 2020, many of the details of these changes are still under discussion among faculty and staff. We will be sharing a wealth of detail in early 2020, so stay tuned.
For now, please spread the word about the good things happening at BSK. Pray for our process and work shaping these efforts. Give generously to fund this important work.
BSK is blessed with a wonderful, supportive community. Thank you for your gifts and encouragement. You are our most valuable partner in shaping theological education for this next era.
Note: Distance education, certificates, and the revised M.Div. curriculum require pending approval from state agencies and our accrediting organization.
DOUBLE YOUR GIFT
A generous BSK donor has pledged $50,000 to match funds given to support our 2020 efforts.
If you give above and beyond your usual annual amount, or are a new donor, your gift will be DOUBLED up to $50,000. We welcome gifts from now until the end of 2019, although gifts will be doubled until $50,000 is raised or March 2020 arrives. (Doubling does not include gifts to restricted funds, scholarships or our endowment).
Prefer to give by check or phone?
Mail check to:
Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
PO Box 23079
Lexington, KY 40523
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