FROM THE SEMINARIES: MBTS fall reopening plan; New leaders for Boyce honors program

Midwestern Seminary, Spurgeon College announce fall reopening plan

By T. Patrick Hudson

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) and Spurgeon College plan to resume on-campus classes and be fully operational for the fall semester. But in accordance with social distancing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local government, the fall semester will look different than any other in the school’s 63-year history.

In an announcement Tuesday (May 26), MBTS President Jason Allen said the initiative, called Residential Plus, will combine in-person lectures with cutting-edge technology on an as-needed basis. He noted that student, faculty, and staff safety is of paramount importance, and said measures will be in place to not only meet but exceed public health guidelines.

"Our ambition to have residential classes this fall has never changed," Allen said. "But we've deliberated significantly about how we can ensure the learning experience is safe from a public health standpoint and is also delivered with excellence regardless of what COVID-19 may throw at us."

The school has also implemented new protocols for extensive cleaning and social distancing on campus.

In addition to safety, Allen said Residential Plus offers flexibility and the ability to adapt if COVID-19 cases increase again.

"This fall we hope against that," Allen said. "But we do anticipate the need to have an institutional dial that we can turn based upon what public health guidance and city and national officials are telling us about residential education. ... If COVID-19 spikes, then we can seamlessly turn the dial, so to speak, and respond to that—delivering those classes live and interactively."

Allen added: "Regardless of what COVID-19 throws at us, ministry is too important. Ministry preparation is too urgent not to be strategic during this season. At Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College, we're being strategic, and we want our students back in the classroom training and preparing for their ministry calling."

The Residential Plus plan also will take into account individual students' needs and comfort levels.

"If a student doesn't feel comfortable coming to class due to social distancing or individual health concerns, he or she can still take the class as normal via live, interactive delivery," Allen said.

To register for classes at Midwestern Seminary or Spurgeon College, visit www.mbts.edu/fall2020.

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Baise, Flatt to serve as co-directors of Augustine Honors Collegium at Boyce College

By Forrest Strickland

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- Bryan Baise and Tyler Flatt will co-direct the Augustine Honors Collegium at Boyce College. The Augustine Honors Collegium is an interdisciplinary program that strives to produce graduates dedicated to the life of the mind, to serving the church and to the common good.

Bryan Baise
 
"The Augustine Honors Collegium has quickly established itself as an integral component of Boyce College's academic programs, drawing an exceptional group of students from around the world," said Matthew J. Hall, provost and senior vice president of academic administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "I am so pleased that Drs. Baise and Flatt will be leading this program together. Both of them are Christian scholars of deep conviction and fidelity, as well as joyful and passionate teachers who are beloved by students. The future of the Collegium is brighter than ever with them leading it."

Academically advanced students can apply to the Collegium, and if accepted, participate in small seminar classes with the faculty of Boyce College, enjoy a wide array of co-curricular activities, and work with a faculty tutor to produce a senior thesis aimed to sharpen the student's communication skills.

Baise, assistant professor of Philosophy and Apologetics and coordinator of the Worldview and Apologetics program, completed both his master of divinity and his doctor of philosophy at Southern. He is also the author of a forthcoming book on beauty, to be published by Crossway. Baise, who also serves as a research fellow for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, joined the faculty at Boyce College in 2014.

Tyler Flatt
 
"The Augustine Honors Collegium is one of the best opportunities at Boyce College," Baise said. "It is a place where students can expand their horizons, develop lifelong friendships, and deepen their excitement for the intellectual life in the service of both church and society."

Flatt was appointed assistant professor of Humanities at Boyce in 2017. He was awarded a master of arts from the University of Toronto and a doctor of philosophy from Harvard University. Flatt's articles have appeared or are forthcoming in The Classical Journal, Classical World, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, and Vigiliae Christianae. He is currently preparing an edition and translation of Erasmus' Annotations on the Gospel of John for the Collected Works of Erasmus, as well as a book on biblical epic.

Flatt, a scholar of Ancient Greek and Latin, noted that the Collegium aims to sharpen students through engaging history in particular.

"Together, we are committed to engaging confidently, joyfully, and biblically with contemporary issues at a high intellectual level, all while firmly rooted in the rich soil of the classical Christian tradition," Flatt said. "There's so much to learn from those who have come before us, and so much to say to our neighbors and fellow citizens."

More information about the Augustine Honors Collegium can be found at Boyce Academics.

T. Patrick Hudson is assistant professor of communications and history at MBTS. Forrest Strickland writes for SBTS.
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