Midwestern trustees hear strong growth report
Matriculating students up 102 percent
By Cory Miller
MBTS communications director
November 1, 2005
KANSAS CITY– In his report to the Board of Trustees Oct. 10, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Philip Roberts said that despite a 17 percent decrease in Cooperative Program funding since 1999-2000, the seminary has grown noticeably in headcount, credit hours, and full-time equivalent (FTE) students.
Roberts reported the total new matriculated students, or those enrolled in classes, for fall 2005 is 186 students, up almost 102 percent from 92 last fall.
“We are astounded at God’s blessings given to Midwestern by sending us 186 new matriculating students,” said Midwestern President R. Philip Roberts. “It is humbling to see how God can bless even when our efforts often are so flawed.”
Roberts told trustees that the seminary’s 2004-05 unduplicated headcount, which represents the total number of students who have taken a class in the academic year, was 899 students, up from 794 in 2003-04, a 13 percent gain.
In other business, the board received a strong report by its auditing firm, Keller & Owens, for the 2004-05 fiscal year that closed Aug. 1. Due to the solid cash flow position, a 3.5 percent bonus was given to full-time seminary personnel in August.
The Board of Trustees also approved a 1.25 percent salary increase for the seminary’s employees, beginning in January 2006.
In academic affairs, the board voted unanimously to appoint Darrell Robinson as distinguished professor of evangelism, a position created in March by the trustees. The position entails the same responsibility in accountability as with other faculty, but includes a reduced teaching load to permit full-time ministry.
Robinson, of Kennesaw, Ga., is president of Total Church Life Ministries, Inc., and previously served as the vice president for evangelism at the Home Mission Board from 1989-1997. He has written numerous books on evangelism, including “Total Church Life,” which was published by Broadman and Holman, “How to be a Growing Christian,” and “People Sharing Jesus,” among others.
“Midwestern Seminary has been blessed by the teaching and enthusiasm of Darrell Robinson for the Gospel and its proclamation,” Roberts said. “We look forward to many years of his influence for evangelism shared with our students.”
Academic dean Thorvald Madsen gave trustees an update on academic developments at Midwestern. He said Midwestern Baptist College, SBC, the undergraduate school of the seminary, is looking at the possibility of adding majors in Education, Christian Ministry and Aviation to the recently accredited Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Studies.
Madsen also mentioned that a study committee had been created to determine the feasibility of creating a Ph.D. program at Midwestern. Initial discussions, he said, have been positive and have centered on the seminary’s area of strength – biblical studies – as the focus for the program, with two tracks: Old Testament and New Testament.
In the student development area, the board approved a new dress code for the institution emphasizing Christ-honoring modesty, courtesy and mutual respect.
Trustees also approved a full tuition scholarship for two semesters for those who have completed a Journeyman assignment with the International Mission Board.
During the meeting new Midwestern trustee Cornelia Ashby presented a $2,000 check from her home church, Hillcrest Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md., a noted supporter of the Cooperative Program.
Ashby said the church has several members serving on SBC boards and enjoys showing their support of them through financial contributions like the one presented.
The next Midwestern Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for March 27-28 in Kansas City.