FROM THE SEMINARIES: NOBTS provides summer scholarships; MBTS expands, adapts summer offerings
By Gary D. Myers
NEW ORLEANS -- When New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College leaders asked alumni and donors for help in creating summer scholarships, the initial response was overwhelming. The generous seminary donors gave more than $300,000 in the first week of the scholarship campaign.
To date, donors have given $311,357 toward "Bridge Campaign" for summer scholarships.
Normally, scholarships are offered at NOBTS/Leavell College only during the spring and fall semesters. Due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, NOBTS/Leavell College President Jamie Dew sought donor help so students could continue their ministry training. The funds generated would be used to provide summer tuition scholarships during this difficult time for students.
"Our donors stepped up in a major way over the past few weeks to provide a significant amount of financial aid for summer classes," Dew said. "Because of their generosity, students who enroll in our Red Carpet Week workshops in May or our June and July summer classes and apply for financial aid will receive a 50 percent tuition scholarship for each course."
Those who gave to the Bridge Scholarship Campaign include regular NOBTS donors, alumni, seminary administrators and members of the seminary and Leavell College faculty. Dew added that many of those who gave are pastors and ministers serving in Southern Baptist churches.
"On behalf of NOBTS and Leavell College we would like to express our gratitude at what God has done, and thank the generous donors that have made the Bridge Campaign such a success," said Mike Wetzel, vice president of institutional advancement at the seminary. "We had a few donors step up to offer $150,000 towards a matching goal of $300,000. We surpassed that goal within the first week of giving.
"I am humbled at how quick the response has been during this global pandemic. The giving is a small testimony that we still know that God is in charge, and we want the students to continue their education."
Wetzel said the response from the campus family was especially touching -- 25 administrators, professors and staff members contributed to the Bridge Campaign.
For the many students who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 or have seen their employment hours reduced, the aid could not have come at a better time. The scholarships will allow them to continue their preparation for Gospel ministry, even in a time of great uncertainty.
The stipulations for receiving the aid are simple: Students must enroll in at least one summer course and fill out an online form through the school's financial aid office. Each student who does so will receive a scholarship worth 50 percent of his or her total summer tuition cost. Students will receive the scholarship for each course taken. Scholarships are available for all summer courses, including those originally scheduled as online courses. The assistance will be awarded until the fund is exhausted.
NOBTS and Leavell College also have worked to assist students with emergency financial needs brought on by COVID-19. To date, the school has awarded more $46,000 from an emergency aid fund to assist with basic needs like food, housing and medical care.
In addition to the scholarships provided by donors, students will have another incentive to take a summer class: the chance to take a class taught by the seminary president. On April 13, Jamie Dew announced he will be teaching two courses this summer -- "Introduction to Philosophy" for Leavell College in June and "Christian Apologetics" in the master's program in July. Dew was able to add the classes last week due to COVID-19-related changes to his summer travel schedule.
Midwestern Seminary expands summer live-video classes; offers new four-week online format
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) -- Following the recent announcement that all summer classes will be offered in a synchronous technology format, Midwestern Seminary has expanded its total number of course offerings and added a new format of four-week-long online classes.
While the school is not currently able to offer its typical on-campus, in-class experience, President Jason Allen emphasized that MBTS Spurgeon College "are fully operational."
"Not only are we offering our full slate of summer classes, but we now have even more classes that students can take in varying formats," Allen said.
According to Provost Jason Duesing, several faculty members who were not previously scheduled to teach this summer will teach week-long courses via synchronous technology -- live video that provides an interactive class experience.
"We've doubled the number of summer intensive courses," Duesing said, "and we've asked faculty who normally only teach these courses on campus to teach them using synchronous technology."
Duesing added that the new courses are all core requirements for most degree programs and are offered as cross-listed courses so both graduate and undergraduate students can enroll in them.
Faculty members teaching classes in this live video format include Allen, John Mark Yeats, Michael McMullen, Owen Strachan, Jason DeRouchie, Duesing and several adjunctive faculty.
While most online courses at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College are offered in an eight-week format, Duesing shared that there will now be four new four-week courses added to the list of summer course offerings.
"Typically, we only offer the four-week online courses during the Winter Term," Duesing said, "but in an effort to provide more options for students this summer, we are glad to add them as a part of a new May and July Terms."
In total during the summer term, Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College are making available more than 90 courses for graduate and undergraduate students.
Allen added, "With these new offerings, students can still continue to access learning from our incredible faculty even in these most difficult times. We can think of no better way to be 'for the church' than by working to help students complete their degrees in new and innovative ways."
To register for the summer courses, visit mbts.edu/summer20. In addition, registration for the fall semester is now available at mbts.edu/fall20.