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2.7.1 Program Length

 

The institution offers one or more degree programs based on at least 60 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the associate level; at least 120 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the baccalaureate level; or at least 30 semester credit hours or the equivalent at the post-baccalaureate, graduate, or professional level. If an institution uses a unit other than semester credit hours, it provides an explanation for the equivalency.  The institution also provides a justification for all degrees that include fewer than the required number of semester credit hours or its equivalent unit.

 

_X_  Compliance           ___  Partial Compliance          ___  Non-Compliance

 

Narrative

 

Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (MABTS) offers degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral levels. Each degree requires the appropriate number of credit hours and is appropriate in length. The degrees are subject to an approval process and are monitored for appropriate length and content.

 

Degrees Offered

 

Mid-America offers three associate level degrees: the Associate of Applied Science (Northeast Campus), the Associate of Divinity (Cordova Campus), and the Associate of Christian Education (Cordova Campus) [1]. The institution offers one degree at the baccalaureate level, the Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies (Cordova Campus) [2]. Four degrees are offered at the Master level: a Master of Divinity (Cordova/Northeast Campus), a Master of Missiology and Intercultural Studies (Cordova Campus), a Master of Arts in Christian Education (Cordova Campus), and a Master of Christian Education (Cordova Campus) [3]. The seminary offers two doctoral degrees: a Doctor of Ministry (Cordova Campus) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Cordova Campus) [4].

 

Credit Hours Required

 

The Tennessee Board of Regents (TBOR) requires that all associate degrees shall require a maximum of 60 semester hours except in certain degree programs in which approval to exceed the maximum has been granted [5]. All associate degrees at MABTS meet the 60-semester hours requirement [1]. The TBOR requires that all baccalaureate degrees must require a minimum of 120 semester credit hours [6]. The baccalaureate degree in Christian Studies at MABTS meets the 120-semester hours requirement [2]. The SACSCOC standard 2.7.1 requires that all master degrees shall require a minimum of 30 semester hours except in certain degree programs in which approval to exceed the maximum has been granted. The master degree program at MABTS meets the SACSCOC requirements for master degrees as the MABTS catalog demonstrates [3]. All doctoral degree programs at MABTS exceed the 30-semester hour credit requirement by SACSCOC 2.7.1. The DMin requires 32 semester credit hours and the PhD program requires 64 semester credit hours [4]. No other academic unit other than semester hours are used at MABTS.

 

Program Length and Approval

The procedure for establishing new programs begins as “the institution conducts a thorough assessment of needs, market factors, financial, and faculty resources” [7]. The process can be understood through the example of a recent substantive change submitted to SACSCOC concerning online degrees.

 

The demand for MABTS’ online courses has grown for the past several years. The seminary’s Enrollment Report [8], demonstrates that online course offerings are becoming increasingly popular with students. In addition, the majority of seminary faculty have completed training for online delivery and in anticipation of the institution’s ability to offer online degrees in August 2015. The seminary began offering online courses in 2005 and offered all 30 classes in the MDiv degree for the first time in 2012-13. Many students were no longer eligible to enroll in online courses because they would surpass the 49% limit allowed by SACSCOC.

 

The addition of the online degrees were included in the institution’s ongoing planning and evaluation processes through the MABTS Strategic Planning Process [9]. On February 7, 2014, the academic council met to discuss the expansion of online programming to further fulfill the purpose of the institution [10]. They proposed offering fully online degrees to the executive administration committee who presented the proposal to the board of trustees on March 28, 2014 to test feasibility before presenting it to the faculty [11]. The faculty, on June 3, 2014, voted to offer fully online degrees upon SACSCOC approval [12]. Upon notification of the affirmative vote by the board of trustees, the faculty, and the academic council, the director of Institutional Assessment submitted the substantive change proposal to SACSCOC on June 6, 2014 and SACSCOC approved the new programming on February 9, 2015 [13]. No programs at MABTS include fewer than the required number of hours.

 

As an evidence of program monitoring, in fall of 2011, MABTS noticed a wide range of difference between its three-year master degree core classes (MCE, MMICS, MDIV) due to a proliferation of elective courses. As a result, the Academic Council studied the problem and devised a solution to align the first two years of all three degrees before presenting it for approval to the faculty, who voted to approve the change in March 2012 [14].

 

Documentation

 

1. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 93-103

2. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 105-108

3. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 121-165

4. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 167-205

5. TBOR General Education Requirements and Degree Requirements

6. TBOR Baccalaureate Requirements

7. 2014-15 Employee Handbook, p. 70

8. Online Enrollment Report

9. 2014 MABTS Strategic Plan Model

10. February 2014 Academic Council Meeting Minutes

11. March 2014 Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes

12. June 2014 Faculty Minutes

13. Online Degree Approval Letter from SACSCOC

14. March 2012 Faculty Meeting Minutes

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