The $3,000 question

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by terrell, May 11, 2008.

  1. terrell

    terrell
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    I am looking for suggestions on obtaining a doctorate by research only/dissertation only in the field of Christian management or leadership. The parameters for this are that the organization that I serve as executive director for is willing to pay $3,000 for me to obtain another degree.

    My education background is that I have an accredited BS with a double major in Biblical Studies and Organizational Leadership, and an accredited terminal Master of Fine Art in Arts Management and Leadership. I have an unaccredited Doctor of Theology. I went the unaccredited route because that was the only program that I could afford to pay for out of my pocket at the time.

    I am not afraid of rigor. I had to write a thesis for my MFA degree, and that thesis was eventually turned into a book, Machiavellian Arts Management, that is now a required textbook in several universities in America and abroad. The dissertation that I wrote for the ThD has been accepted as a book by a publisher, as well. I have participated in several lectures/symposiums/presentations dealing with management/leadership and humanities related subjects. Next week, I will be presenting at an international symposium on nonprofit arts management at Saint Petersburg State University in Saint Petersburg, Russia. I will be presenting a talk based on the book that I wrote, and I will be contributing a 13 page article for a publication that will be produced in conjunction with the event. Additionally, I have taught adjunct at a local community college for 6 years. I have created 8 new courses for the college, 5 of which have been turned into state required courses for students in general education courses. The college will not pay for me to continue with school because I am only adjunct.

    I have been in ministry for 17 years, and have been interim pastor of churches, and currently am pastor of a SBC church for the last 4 years. The local and state convention will not contribute any funds towards my education, so they are not an option. The church that I pastor is a small urban/inner city congregation that does well to just pay its bills. So, they do not have funds to help.

    My wife and I still have school loans from obtaining our undergrad and grad degrees. So, I will not take out another loan for school.

    With all of that being said, the organization that I direct will give $3,000 towards another degree. I have looked at UNISA, but it is not clear how much tuition is to obtain a doctorate through them. I have looked at Louisiana Baptist University’s PhD in Christian Leadership, which is around $3,000, but that would be getting 2 unaccredited degrees. Does anyone know of any programs that would be in line with what I am looking for? Ideally, I would like to complete it through research/dissertation. My dissertation idea is Machiavellian Ministry. I would apply Machiavelli’s philosophy from his book The Prince and apply it to urban ministry settings. In essence, I would be building upon the idea that I began to explore when I wrote my masters thesis.

    Thank you for any suggestions.
     
  2. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Terrell Response

    Bro. Terrell,

    Let me be one of the first to welcome you to the BB. Money is always a problem for us as adult learners is it not?

    You might want to consider the South African Theological Seminary. It has just come on line with a ThD program. And if I remember correctly, it was about $3000, within your intended means. Check them out:

    http://www.satsonline.org/satsonline/index.php?q=node/5

    If you could get old Bill Grover to come on the BB and talk with you he would lend much to the discussion. He is a reader/sponsor/director of dissertations or whatever they call it there. He got his degree from the the University of Unizul(?) I think. He is a good man and knows all the skinny of the South African programs.

    I will be watching to see how your discussion goes. May our Lord guide you in your discussions and decision.

    Poster's edit: I would be interested in where you did you non-accredited ThD and what the title of your dissertation was?

    Poster's edited edit #2: With the MFA from and accredited university being considered a "terminal degree" as it is, why then would you want to go through the whole "doctoral dissertation" process thing again? Is it only for personal growth or is there an area of theology you want to research and examine? Am I asking for too much personal information?

    "That is all!":thumbs:
     
    #2 Rhetorician, May 12, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: May 12, 2008
  3. terrell

    terrell
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    I finished my ThD at Evangel Christian University. I finished my BS at Calvary Bible College in KC, MO. After finishing the BS, I entered Calvary's Seminary and took several courses through them. They do not have a doctorate program, so I eventually transferred to Trinity in Indiana. At the time, I was a police officer. The dept would not pay for Calvary or Trinity, but it would pay a portion for me to finish a graduate degree at Webster University in St Louis. I also had a mentor who encouraged me/helped me to get into the MFA program. It was a brand new program, and I was in the second group of students to enter and finish the program. When I finished at Webster, I quit the police dept, and went back into the private sector and also began to teach at the community college.

    I had all of these credits from Calvary and Trinity and still wanted to finish an advanced degree in religion or theology. I researched schools according to price and the ability to study what I wanted to study. The school that was most appealing was Evangel. I entered the Doctor of Religious Philosophy program (a dissertation only program) with the intent of writing about Machiavellian Ministry. Shortly after entering the program, I was called to pastor the church that I am at. I transferred into the ThD program to have a more structured program and completed it. My dissertation was A Practical Introduction to the New Testament Documents for Inner City Pastors.

    The MFA allows me to teach at any college in the fields of art and/or management. I would like to research and teach across multiple fields, and the unaccredited ThD will not allow me to do that. The community college where I teach (I am also an alumnus) acknowledges the ThD and the research that I have conducted to create the new courses that I teach, and all of the other things that are in my CV, and I am pretty secure there. But, if I want to teach at another university, like Saint Louis University or Washington University, then I will need an accredited doctorate.

    I don't think the ThD was a waste of time. I learned a lot while going through it that has helped to make me a better pastor. And it looks like the dissertation will be picked up by a publisher out of Chicago.

    The organization where I am executive director, who will be paying for this degree, does not care what I get the degree in. They are willing to pay a specific amount for me to finish my education. The organization is not a christian/religious organization.

    Hopefully I have answered your questions clearly.
     
  4. TCGreek

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    Terrell, you're one of the most honest, straight to the point posters I've ever come across.
     
  5. Siberian

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    As Rhetorician mentioned, it seems like SATS might fit the bill, though it might be difficult to get into without a master's degree in theology.
     
  6. gb93433

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    As I read your postings I wondered what would be the purpose of getting another degree. What purpose would it serve? You can do research without a degree.
     
  7. Rhetorician

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    Siberian Reponse

    Hello to all:

    This is just FYI!

    In my experience with the the South African schools, especially in the realms of theology; it seems that they want a Master in (some sort) of Religion area that has had a thesis or guided research (Jr. thesis) in order to get in. To them that presupposes a few things.

    One, the person coming in can (has demonstrated) already s/he can do research.

    Secondly, the person has the tools or can acquire the tools to do further research.

    Thirdly, the person does not require immediate supervision.

    Fourth, that they have, at least a cursory understanding of the field they want to investigate.

    I think our friend in the OP could easily meet the criteria for SATS. That is why the SA schools take each application on a casuistic basis.

    "That is all!"
     
  8. terrell

    terrell
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    To those who have posted comments and/or suggestions, thank you.

    In response to gb93433's question, there main reason that I am pursuing another degree is to increase my teaching opportunities. I already teach at a community college. I have created 8 new courses for the college. I can/will continue to teach there with no problem, but if I want to teach somewhere else in a field other than art and/or management, which I do want to do, I will need another accredited degree. I originally got the unaccredited ThD to help me with my pursuits in ministry. I believe that it has served me well as the pastor of an urban/inner city congregation. As time has gone on, more college teaching opportunities have become available to me. One of the reasons more opportunities have become available is due to unique research that I have completed/developed. I created and teach unique/diverse courses. I teach a course called The Art of Political Freedom- deals with how minority groups have used artwork to political and social causes. Another course is Religion in the Minority Experience- how religion has been used to develop or hinder the development of minority cultures. Meet Me In Harlem- a survey course that deals with the social, religious, and political circumstances that helped to influence the formation of the Harlem Renaissance. The list goes on and on. Most of the courses deal with an aspect or a combination of religion, art, and sociology. Other universities are interested in having me teach these courses, but would like for me to have an accredited doctorate to go along with my terminal master of fine art.

    I enjoy research, but that is not the main reason that I would be pursuing the degree. I now have opportunities outside of ministry that require/request that I have a different degree. I am looking for the most affordable, and least time consuming option. I didn't say easiest or least rigorous. Hopefully anyone who just read the classes that I have created and teach will see that I enjoy the challenge of rigor and research, but I don't want that rigor and research to be for something that no one else outside of my dissertation reader(s) will ever read or deal with.

    I have contacted SATS, and am awaiting a response from them. Thanks, again to Rhet for the suggestion

    Hopefully I have answered your question.
     
  9. Rhetorician

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    Terrell Observation

    Dear Brother,

    If you do get into the process of applying at SATS, make sure you consider talking to Dr. Bill Grover and asking him to consider being your adviser/mentor.

    He is an outstanding scholar and will do you well if it is a good fit in the research area.

    "God speed!"

    "That is all!"
     
  10. terrell

    terrell
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    Thank you to everyone who offered advice when I first posted the original question. As suggested, I applied to the South African Theological Seminary. I was accepted into their Master of Theology program, and not their doctorate program. The rules for their accrediting body state that I need to have a masters’ degree in a theology field in order to get into their doctorate program. (As I previously mentioned, I have a terminal degree in nonprofit arts management and an undergraduate degree in biblical studies and organizational leadership. Both are regionally accredited.) I’m kind of bummed because the cost of the program is $3,000. In order to obtain the doctorate, it would cost me at least an additional $3,000, and that’s if the fees don’t increase. That’s $6,000 I don’t have. I have tried contacting other African schools since this was first suggested. SATS is the only that has responded to my inquiries.

    I have started thinking about going the Trinity Seminary (Indiana) route. I could go through their second doctorate program (my ThD is unaccredited, but they would accept it to gain entrance) and get a PhD in Interdisciplinary studies. I am considering this for two reasons. When I graduated from Calvary Bible College in 1999, I enrolled in Trinity’s DRS program, but never finished it. I am also familiar with someone close to the board, and Trinity is apparently going through the accreditation process with a legit accrediting body, again. Either DETC or ABHE. They would not tell me exactly which one. So, I could get into the program, finish the required course work, and by the time I finish my dissertation, they should be through the process. This would cost less than $3,600 total. My concern is Trinity’s history and some of the other things that they have been known for. I have also considered Louisiana Baptist for their PhD in Christian Leadership. I have two degrees with an emphasis in management and leadership, and this seems like a natural progression. It would cost less than $3,000, also. I have tried to find other affordable distance programs in Leadership, but have found no luck.

    The reason this is so important to me is, as I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, is increasing my teaching opportunities. I have taught for a community college for 6 years. I am now being offered more teaching positions at other universities. I will begin teaching at Missouri Baptist this fall. I will be teaching art classes. My thought is to finish a respectable doctorate in order to give myself opportunities to teach more than just art classes, or possibly obtain an administrative position. Missouri Baptist’s employee handbook only says that a faculty member has to have a doctorate in order to gain the title of Asst, Assoc, or Prof. No mention of accreditation is made concerning degrees. I would shoot for teaching leadership or preaching classes, etc.

    I have also been offered an adjunct teaching position at Brookes Bible Institute, a historic bible college in St Louis that has operated since 1912 (www.brookesbible.com). Brookes is beginning their accreditation process, and they are trying to diversify their staff/faculty. I will be teaching Romans, and possible Christian Ethics this fall. (I am an alumnus, and have stayed pretty active with staff and administration since I left as a student.) Ideally, accreditation will be with ABHE. As a side question, is anyone familiar with what ABHE’s requirements are for faculty? I need to check that out, because that will probably help me make my final decision.

    In addition to the teaching opportunities, I have been invited to help the local Southern Baptist Association as they work to improve their relationships with inner city (African American) churches. My credentials have not come into question by the association, but I don’t want them to ever become a question in the future as I interact with some of my more established Baptist brothers. Some of my Baptists brothers already look down on minority pastors as not being educated enough/educated right, so in part, I want to be able to show that I am intellectually on the same level. I am not trying to compete with them, but I don’t want to be considered a statistic, either. I know that this is not something that I should necessarily be worried about, but unfortunately, I believe that this is one of the factors that have hindered black and white ministries from working together more closely. Or, it just may be something unique to St Louis.

    Anyway, it’s probably going to be LBU’s PhD in Leadership, or Trinity’s Interdisciplinary PhD. Thanks again for all of the advice.

    Terrell
     
  11. BRIANH

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    Thanks for the update. I would think LBU but that is because I know more about them. Good luck!
     

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