Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.
Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,
for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News
about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
No one works alone. We all need partners. The Graduate School of Theology has a long history of faithful people partnering with us in the mission God has called us to do. Whether it’s a church sending their minister for advanced training, a family donating scholarship funds for deserving students, or an alum providing an internship opportunity, every partner strengthens us and brings us both one step closer to fulfilling our purposes in the Kingdom of God.
This past year the GST added another partner to the list: ACU Dallas. Led by former GST faculty member Dr. Stephen Johnson, this new extension campus provides expanded recruitment and enrollment/student management services for our online degree programs: the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, and Master of Arts in Global Service. We are excited about the ways that this partnership will allow our Abilene recruiter to focus on residential programs while the Dallas student services advisors give greater attention to our distance students. Everyone will benefit from this partnership.
Another benefit of the partnership comes in the form of course design and development. The course format for ACU Dallas – which caters to the busy schedules of working adults – utilizes 7-week courses offered year-round to allow students to focus on one topic of study at a time while making consistent progress toward degree completion. The new format requires our faculty to adjust their traditional semester-long classes to fit a compressed schedule while meeting the same learning objectives and outcomes for students. ACU Dallas provides instructional designers to help with this daunting task. The newly-designed courses utilize some of the best practices in adult learning theory. Our faculty provide their expertise to ensure that the course content is exactly what our students need; the instructional designers build the courses to ensure consistency and functionality. This allows our faculty to spend their time providing feedback to students while the class is underway, confident that everything is already in the course site.
Like all true partnerships, it’s taken time and effort to work out shared responsibilities. ACU Dallas is starting their other online graduate programs from scratch while we’ve been serving nonresidential students for many years. Group conversations have allowed us to share our experience while also discovering more efficient procedures. We’re learning together. And we’re growing together. Like the Apostle Paul, I give thanks for this partnership in fulfilling the GST’s mission. May God continue this good work and bring it to completion in Christ.