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Joan C. McKinney
Campbellsville University and the Zion District Association of Baptists, and its Bible Institute, signed an agreement recently to grant academic credit for courses taught at the Bible Institute.
The Institute is located at Jacob Grove Baptist Church in Summersville. The agreement begins with the 2008-2009 academic year, according to the Rev. John Chowning, CU vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president.
In the agreement, the Rev. David Sandifer, coordinator of the Center for Bivocational Christian Ministry at CU, will teach one three-hour course per semester. Other CU faculty may also teach courses.
CU is offering the 27-hour certificate in Christian ministry, which is a series of nine three-hour courses. If a student takes the 27 hours for full college and academic credit, these hours may also be subsequently applied toward an associate or baccalaureate degree on the main CU campus.
Students pursuing the certificate in Christian ministry at CU will have their application for admission fee waived by CU. Students may also take the class for continuing education unit credit or a student may choose to audit the course and receive no formal credit.
Sandifer said, "In the eight plus years I've been teaching, this is the most fulfilling and exciting class I've taught. The students are eager to learn and have a commitment to learn. This is a win-win situation for all concerned."
Dr. Walter Johnson, moderator emeritus of the Zion District, said it is "quite a progressive move on the part of the university to want to partner with the district."
Johnson said the program receives more credibility being associated with Campbellsville University.
"I think it's a fantastic thing that the university reached out to us in this way," he said.
Johnson, who is serving as interim pastor of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church in Adair County, served as pastor at Jacob Grove Baptist Church for 25 years. He has also served several terms as second vice moderator of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky.
The Rev. Michael Caldwell, moderator of the Messengers and Ministers auxiliary of the Zion District Baptist Association and pastor of Pleasant Union Baptist Church in Taylor County, called the partnership a "historic event."
"I challenge churches and members to follow Christ and receive an education. I thank Campbellsville University and the Zion District to have the foresight and future to think of this partnership."
The Zion District Association and Bible Institute will determine who serves as staff for the institute and pay salaries of the staff. Class instructors must meet required academic standards and must be approved by the Campbellsville University Dean of the School of Theology and the CU Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Dr. Frank Cheatham, vice president for academic affairs, said the courses can also be taken for non-credit. CU will provide a special recognition ceremony on the main campus for those students who complete the Certificate in Christian Ministry.
The courses delivered at the Jacob Grove site must meet requirements as described in Campbellsville University's online academic catalog found at www.campbellsville.edu.
As part of the agreement, academic credit may be given for those prior courses taught by Sandifer. This will be done on a student-by-student basis and will involve a process of individual student testing under the supervision of Sandifer and the CU theology school dean.
For more information about the program, contact the School of Theology at 789-5029.
- Joan C. McKinney is news and publications coordinator at Campbellsville University.