Leaders of Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary view the courses they will offer in Houston next fall as more than an extension of the Waco campus.
“It is in Houston for Houston,” Dean Todd Still said. “Some identify Houston as the most diverse city in the United States. It’s a crowded market, but we believe it’s not so crowded that there isn’t space for what we can offer.”
The Truett in Houston campus, housed at Tallowood Baptist Church, will provide highly contextualized instruction that meets specific needs in the nation’s fourth-largest city, said John Burk, assistant dean for strategic initiatives at Truett Seminary.
“We recognize there are a number of theological offerings available in the Houston market, and we’re not trying to compete with them,” said Burk, who will direct Truett in Houston. “We want to come alongside them and offer a theological education that uniquely fits Houston.”
Distinctive course offerings will provide instruction in ministry to resettled refugees and to the incarcerated population, as well as classes in theology and the arts. A community health track offered in partnership with Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work will provide learning opportunities specific to Houston’s medical district. Later, Truett in Houston hopes to offer courses related to anti-human trafficking initiatives.
“We are committed to meeting both the needs of the students and the needs of the city,” Burk said.
Offer two graduate degrees
Truett in Houston will provide classes leading to two graduate degrees.
The 60-hour Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is designed particularly for individuals who likely are serving in vocational Christian ministry already, and it includes a field experience requirement with an approved mentor.
The 48-hour Master of Theological Studies is geared toward laypeople who desire a deeper theological understanding. It does not require mentorship or field experience.
Truett is committed to making theological education accessible and affordable for working students in Houston, Still said. The average age of Truett students at the Waco campus is 26.4 years old, while the average student age in Houston likely will be in the mid-40s, he said.
“In terms of scheduling classes, we will be as creative as our students demand,” Burk said.
While many older students in established careers may find it difficult to relocate, for those who want to pursue a Master of Divinity degree at Truett’s Waco campus, all but one year of the program can be completed in Houston, Still added.
Truett in Houston also plans to work with the Lanier Theological Library in Houston to give students opportunities to hear to distinguished guest lecturers. New Testament scholar N.T. Wright will lecture from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 16.
For more information about Truett in Houston, click here.