After a long Central Ohio winter, it appears spring has finally arrived on MTSO's campus. The daffodils have bloomed and the trees are budding. It's a time of renewal here in other ways, too.
I'm particularly excited to tell you about our new offering for those seeking a Master of Divinity degree. We're calling it Connections, and it's designed for busy people who want the invigorating challenges of a classroom but need both a flexible schedule and a clear, time-limited path to a degree.
Beginning this fall, Connections will offer these students the best of two worlds. A Connections student will spend one great day a week on campus each week – we're calling it Tuesdays Together. That will include up to four classes, along with a chapel service to foster spiritual formation and a community lunch. This on-campus time will be augmented by hybrid online learning, led by the same faculty members who teach the Tuesday classes. This leads to an M.Div. degree in just 33 months.
As you're likely aware, online education has seen explosive growth in recent years. Quite frankly, we at MTSO have been treading carefully in this area. We aren't willing to sacrifice the integrity of the education we offer for the sake of convenience. By the same token, we recognize the need to provide an accessible pathway to ministry for busy people who simply can't afford to put their lives on hold in order to attend seminary several days a week.
Our solution has come in the form of hybrid online courses, some of which we've offered for a number of years. These courses provide the best elements of in-person and online education – each of which has unique benefits for various kinds of learners. Connections broadens our commitment to hybrid classes with a creative schedule that we believe is unique in theological education.
It's important to note that Connections isn't the only route to our M.Div. degree. We'll still be offering classes on other days of the week, and more traditional paths to degrees are still available. Connections simply provides a new avenue that we believe addresses a real need for many people considering ministry.
I encourage you to read more about this exciting initiative at mtso.edu/connections. There you'll find a sample schedule along with details about the MTSO approach to hybrid online learning.
One of the most important things each of us can do is recognize those around us who have something to share with the world and then invite them to consider what that might be. If you know someone who might be called to ministry, your recognition of that and your encouragement to discern that call may well be a part of the Spirit at work in that person's life. If you think a seminary education is a path forward for them, we hope you will help them connect with Connections at MTSO.
As you'll see below, this is a very busy spring for MTSO, with perfect opportunities for our alumni and friends to engage. Hope to see you at one of these great events.