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2.7.2 Program Content

 

The institution offers degree programs that embody a coherent course of study that is compatible with its stated mission and is based upon fields of study appropriate to higher education.

 

_X_  Compliance           ___  Partial Compliance          ___  Non-Compliance

 

Narrative

 

Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (MABTS) offers degree programs consistent with its stated mission which demonstrates coherence in sequencing, increase complexity, and linkage between and among program components. All associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral programs are appropriate to higher education within the context of the institution.

 

Consistent with Mission

 

MABTS offers degree programs at the associates, bachelors, masters and doctoral levels. All of these programs offer a coherent course of study that is compatible with the seminary’s stated mission. The primary purpose of MABTS is to provide theological training for effective service in church-related and missions vocations through its main campus and designated branch campuses. Every program offered by MABTS is directly connected to the seminary’s mission and purpose [1]. A description of each program is given below, followed by evidence of degree programming coherence to the institutional mission. The seminary’s Program Learning Outcomes Assessment Model (PLOAMs) serve as a basis for peer review and future improvement for degree programming. The mission statement of the school informs the goal statements of each degree program (Column 1). The goal statements, in turn, serve as a basis for expected student learning outcomes (Column 2). These learning outcomes are quantified through class work product (artifacts) (Column 3), which are later reviewed by departmental and other faculty (Column 4). This process supports program coherence with the stated mission of the school as it closes the loop (Column 5) [2].

 

The seminary trains students in the understanding of the Bible and its relevance for today, preparing those who have been called of God to preach and teach the Word of God. Further preparation is offered through instruction in preaching, counseling, education, and cross-cultural ministry. In addition, all students are required to participate in the practical missions program of the school and encouraged to be involved in churches during their seminary days [3].

 

Description of Educational Programming

 

MABTS offers three associate degrees, one bachelor degree [4], four master degrees [5], and two doctoral degrees [6 and 7]. Each degree program begins with general education requirements that assist students in preparing for more advanced courses in their field of choice. Second, third, and fourth year offerings integrate knowledge from previous semesters of instruction in order to ensure that students advance progressively in their studies. The seminary’s arrangement of courses provides appropriate course sequencing in order to establish coherent programs of study.

 

The Associate of Divinity Degree (ADiv) is a two-year postsecondary professional degree intended for persons who hold a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, but who have not completed a baccalaureate degree. The associate of divinity program is designed to equip students for effective ministry as a pastor, associate pastor, church planter, missionary, or evangelist [8]. First year courses such as English Grammar 1-2 (EN 4901-4902), Introduction to Computing (CS 4950), Introduction to Christian Education (CE 4484), Basic Biblical Interpretation (BH 2100), and Basic Bible Doctrines (TH 3701), provide a practical and theological foundation for second year offerings, such as Pastoral Ministries (PM 4200), Biblical Preaching 1-2 (HM 4001, 4005), and Principles of Financial Management (PM 4235) [9].

 

The Associate of Christian Education Program (ACE) is a two-year postsecondary professional degree intended for persons who hold a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, but who have not completed a baccalaureate degree. The associate of Christian education program is designed to equip students for effective ministry as a minister of education, minister of youth, minister to children, or administrator in the local church; a missionary in the area of Christian education; or a teacher or administrator in a church-related school [10]. Similar to the Associate of Divinity Degree, first year courses such as English Grammar 1-2 (EN 4901-4902), Introduction to Computing (CS 4950), Introduction to Christian Education (CE 4484), Basic Biblical Interpretation (BH 2100), and Basic Bible Doctrines (TH 3701), provide a practical and theological foundation for second year offerings, such as Childhood/Youth Education (CE 4610), Principles of Financial Management (PM 4235), and Principles of Teaching 1-2 (CE 4450, 4452) [11].

 

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) is a two-year postsecondary professional degree intended for persons who hold a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, but who have not completed a baccalaureate degree. The educational and career goals of the AAS program include training students for effective ministry as religious instructors, pastors, church staff members, and ministerial workers in the New York area and across the Northeast. The degree has approval and has been registered by the Board of Regents of the State Education Department of New York [12]. Similar to other associate degree programs at MABTS, first year courses such as English Grammar 1-2 (EN 4901-4902), Introduction to Computing (CS 4950), Introduction to Christian Education (CE 4484), Basic Biblical Interpretation (BH 2100), and Basic Bible Doctrines (TH 3701), provide a practical and theological foundation for second year offerings, such as Principles of Southern Baptist Missions (MS 3370), Ministerial Counseling (CN 4013), and Principles of Financial Management (PM 4235) [13].

 

The Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies (BACS) is a four-year postsecondary professional degree designed to equip students for effective Christian ministry in local churches, missions, or denominational service. This program requires a high school diploma or equivalency certificate, an ACT or SAT score, and the completion of one hundred twenty semester hours of academic credit [14]. First year courses such as English Grammar 1-2 (EN 4901-4902) serve as a foundation for the second year course English Composition (EN 4913). After students master the mechanics of language (e.g., parts of speech, etc.), in their third year of instruction they are ready to study a non-English language (students choose between Greek, Hebrew, Latin, or Spanish). Another example of appropriate sequencing of courses is the placement of Basic Biblical Interpretation (BH 2100) in the second year of course offerings. This course serves to build a foundation for the third year classes Introduction to Ethics (PH 3911) and Basic Biblical Doctrines (TH 3701). In their fourth year, students apply their general knowledge of biblical and social matters to specialized courses such as Ministerial Counseling (CN 4103) and Marriage and Family (CN 4114) [15].

 

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) is a professional graduate degree beyond the Bachelor or Arts or equivalent, designed to equip students for effective ministry as a pastor, associate pastor, church planter, evangelist, or missionary. This is a program primarily related to preparation for the pastoral and missionary ministry [16]. The first year course, Introduction to Research and Writing (EN 7900), prepares students to write quality research papers throughout the remainder of their program. The first year course, Personal Evangelism (EV 6200), prepares students for practical missions assignments they must complete as part of their seminary experience [3]. The first year courses Hermeneutics (BH 5100) and Apologetics (PH 6910) help students to develop strong exegetical skills and critical thinking skills that become further refined in the second year courses Systematic Theology 1-2 (TH 6701-6702). These courses focus on the practical application of knowledge obtained for courses such as Ministerial Counseling (CN 7103), Spiritual Formation (PM 7300), and Biblical Foundations for Worship (CM 7700) [17].

 

The Master of Missiology and Intercultural Studies Program (MMICS) is a professional graduate degree beyond the Bachelor of Arts or equivalent. It is designed to equip students for effective ministry as cross-cultural missionaries. The first two-year segment of this program consists of prescribed on-campus studies. The final portion of the program may be completed either by means of on-campus studies or on-field studies [18]. In either case, first year courses such as Personal Evangelism (EV 6200) and Principles of Southern Baptist Missions (MS 6370) lay the foundation for second year courses such as Strategies of Missions and Leadership Development (MS 6332). Students apply the knowledge obtained in these courses to the third year courses such as Traditional Religions, World Religions, and Cults (MS 6405) and Anthropology and Worldview (MS 6520). Students who elect to incorporate on-field training into their educational experience synthesize their on-campus and on-field research into a Missions Thesis (MS 6485-6486) [19].

 

The Master of Arts in Christian Education (MACE) is a professional graduate degree beyond the Bachelor of Arts or equivalent. It is designed to equip students for service as a minister of education, minister to youth, minister to children, or administrator in the local church; a missionary in the area of Christian education; or a teacher or administrator in a church-related school. This program is primarily related to specialized ministry in Christian Education [20]. In the first semester of their first year of instruction, students take the course Introduction to Christian Education (CE 7484). This course provides the foundation for second semester courses such as Childhood/Youth Education in the Church (CE 7610) and Adult Education in the Church (CE 7660). In their second year of instruction, students then apply their knowledge of the foundational courses to Principles of Teaching 1-2 (CE 7450, 7452) [21].

 

Students who choose the Women’s Studies tract of the MACE Program apply the knowledge they obtain in Introduction to Christian Education (CE 7484) to the courses Biblical Womanhood (CE 7558), Current Issues for Women (CE 7557), and Principles of Teaching 1-2 (CE 7450, 7452) [22].

 

The Master of Christian Education Program (MCE) is a professional graduate degree beyond the Bachelor of Arts or equivalent. It is designed to equip students for service as a minister of education, minister to youth, minister to children, or administrator in the local church; a missionary in the area of Christian education; or a teacher or administrator in a church-related school. This program is primarily related to specialized ministry in Christian Education [23]. The first two years of instruction are similar to the MDiv degree in that students take foundational courses such as Introduction to Research and Writing (EN 7900), Personal Evangelism (EV 6200), Hermeneutics (BH 5100), Apologetics (PH 6910), and Principles of Teaching 1-2 (CE 7450, 7452). Students then apply their knowledge of these courses to the field of Christian Education, taking courses such as Introduction to Christian Education (CE 7484), Childhood/Youth Education in the Church (CE 7610), and Adult Education in the Church (CE 7660) [24].

 

Students who choose the Women’s Studies tract of the MCE Program apply their knowledge of their foundational classes to the courses Biblical Womanhood (CE 7558) and Women’s Ministry in the Local Church (CE 7556) [25].

 

The Doctor of Ministry degree (DMin) is an advanced professional degree designed to enable students to practice ministry at a high level of competency. The program builds on the general theological preparation of the Master of Divinity, Master of Missiology and Intercultural Studies, or Master of Church Ministries degrees, and moves toward a concentration that combines theory and significant experience. The professional character of the degree is designed to prepare students to be effective in the practice of ministry rather than preparing for research and teaching vocations [26]. Before beginning their course of studies, students must complete the prerequisite class Graduate Research & Writing (DR 9910). After taking six seminars in their respective fields of studies [27], students: 1) undergo a comprehensive examination that tests their knowledge of their field; 2) synthesize their knowledge by completing a major writing project; and 3) participate in an oral examination that tests their knowledge of their writing project [28].

 

The Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) equips students for advanced scholarship, independent research, effective teaching and preaching, and service in church related ministries that benefit from advanced Christian scholarship [29]. Before beginning their course of studies, students must complete the prerequisite course Graduate Research & Writing (DR 9910). Students also must demonstrate proficiency in two research languages (normally selecting two of the following three: German, Latin, French) in order to encourage students to become aware of research in non-English speaking circles [30]. Students seeking a degree in the field of education must be proficient in the use of statistical analysis. After taking eight seminars in their respective fields of studies, students: 1) undergo a comprehensive examination that tests their knowledge of their field; 2) synthesize their knowledge by completing a dissertation; and 3) participate in an oral examination that tests their knowledge of their dissertation [31].

 

Appropriate to Higher Education

 

The MABTS Program Learning Outcomes Assessment Model (PLOAMs) is based upon the Nichols five-column model used widely in social science assessment. Academic degree program coordinators meet with their department personnel on a regular basis in order to ensure that respective Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) demonstrate appropriate program differentiation and support program coherence. To aid departmental faculty, the academic council has produced two generic rubrics—one for papers [32] and one for projects [33]. Each semester, departmental faculty and peer review personnel (faculty outside the department) score term paper and class project artifacts. Program coordinators use the results of these artifacts to fill in column 4 (assessment results) and column 5 (use of results) of their PLOAMs. These fourth and fifth columns are used as a basis for institutional changes. For example, as a result of the fall 2014-15 semester peer review process, the academic council has recommended to the faculty that an emphasis on improvement of writing be considered as a quality enhancement plan topic for the next academic year [34].

 

Documentation

 

1. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 8-9

2. Example PLOAMs

3. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 59-61

4. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 109-120

5. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 141-166

6. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 167-179

7. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 181-205

8. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 93

9. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 95

10. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 97

11. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 99

12. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 101

13. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 102

14. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 105

15. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 108

16. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 121

17. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 123

18. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 125

19. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 128-130

20. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 131

21. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 133

22. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 134

23. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 135

24. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 137

25. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 138

26. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 167

27. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 172-173

28. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 170-171

29. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 181

30. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 187

31. 2014-15 MABTS Catalog, p. 189-193

32. Generic Rubric for Papers

33. Generic Rubric for Projects

34. February 2014 Academic Council Meeting Minutes

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