WRITTEN BY: MADISON COLLINS | STAFF WRITER
PLNU’s policy says that every seven to 10 years the programs on campus have to go through a review where degree programs and classes are either reviewed or redesigned. The 2016 school year marks the School of Theology and Christian Ministry time for review.
Interim Dean of the School of Theology and Christian Ministry Rebecca Laird said that the school’s degrees and minors will now be broken down differently.
“We will have two majors going forward: B.A. Philosophy and B.A. Christian Studies. The Christian Studies degree has six concentrations: Biblical Studies, General track, Leadership, Theology, Philosophy and Youth and Family Ministries,” said Laird.
Larid added that this will create more ways for the department to tailor their studies while simultaneously assuring a shared core learning experience.
For example, a Christian Studies degree has four core courses and a capstone course that all students will take.
Once students fulfill the core, they can choose a specific concentration to focus their coursework on preparing for: youth ministry, pastoral leadership, or graduate school.
In addition to majors, the department has also new interdisciplinary minors.
These minors work in partnership with other areas of study: Worship Arts,
Science and Christian Faith, and Christian Mission and Intercultural Ministry.
These combine courses in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry with courses in other academic departments that will hopefully create a place for students who are interested in service and further Biblical learning.
Laird said these interdisciplinary minors have been created in hopes that “students majoring in the Sciences will find the Science and Christian Faith minor of special interest and those preparing for missions or international service will find the Christian Mission and Intercultural Ministry minor helpful. Many musicians and artists involved in chapel ministries or their local churches have expressed interest in the Worship Arts minor.”
Next fall courses in Alienation, Transformation and Reconciliation in Film, Christian Care of Souls, Christian Faith and the Natural Sciences, and Reading Scripture Faithfully will be taught as changes within the department begin.
Along with continued teaching of Hebrew and Greek to fulfill the General Education foreign language requirements.
Laird said Professor positions within the department will not change, and only increase. “Our current faculty will teach the new curriculum. George Williamson, from Spiritual Development will teach in the Worship Arts minor and Derek Taylor of the Center for Pastoral Leadership will teach in the Youth and Family Ministry concentration and minor,” said Laird. “In the fall, we will welcome our new Dean, Dr. Mark Maddix, who offers significant depth in Christian Education and Pastoral Theology.”
PLNU sophomore M’Lynn Martin said she thinks the new changes in the theology department are great.
“I think it’s awesome! They got really creative with the majors and minors so that really anyone with any interest in vocational ministry of any sort can have an opportunity to make it a part of their process in university,” Martin said. “They’ve expanded the diversity in ministry as a part of the department. It’s super rad!”
PLNU junior Sydney Hudson said that she would consider getting a degree within the theology department to see how it would better her faith.
“I was talking to my dad recently about my faith and how my career path has turned people away from their faith. I told him the more I learn about science, the more I believe in God. He laughed and said you don’t find yourself asking more questions. I said the more questions I get, the more the answers point to God,” said Hudson.
And though current majors and minors will have no issue fulfilling the requirements within these new programs, Laird encourages juniors or seniors who want to begin obtaining one the minors in the School of Theology and Christian Ministry to do so.
“Come by Smee Hall and get a list of courses. All minors are between 17-24 units and some include a Gen Ed class so students with elective units will have time to complete the minor. Most of our courses are open to interested juniors or seniors without prerequisite. Take The World’s Faith Traditions or Education and the Ethical Life.”
As semester closes and registration for next fall begins—Laird wants students to remember that “the School of Theology and Christian Ministry exists to serve the University by preparing all students for a life of faith and service.
“We meet every PLNU student through general education courses and our new programs arise from many conversations with students from across the campus.
“We are listening and eager to keep the conversation going in and out of the classroom.”