Robust and rigorous education is at the heart of Fletcher Seminary. Fletcher will educate all people who are called to ministry, and we realize that many students simply cannot live in residence for three to four years and go tens of thousand of dollars in debt to obtain a theological education. Something has to to change. To start, Fletcher Seminary will offer a Master of Divinity Degree with possible concentrations in Biblical Studies and Cross-Cultural Ministry.
Hands-on Learning from Day One
Beginning their first semester, seminary students will begin field placement in a supervised ministry setting. These field placements will primarily be in local churches, denominational agencies, faith based non-profits, and other health and human services areas. Each semester, the practicum class will be complemented by two academic classes that help bring academic learning into applied learning and experience. In this way, the seminary will fully integrate practical ministry experience within the scope and sequence of the entire curriculum. Students will graduate not only with academic knowledge, but practical skills and application – preparing them for a lifetime of ministry and also a lifetime of learning.
A Cohort Based Learning Model
The curriculum will use a cohort model in the core classes and enroll students in a practicum beginning the first semester. The practicum will offer an applied learning approach to training students in core components of the curriculum, integrating theory and practice with the other classes each semester. Courses will be offered as hybrid model commuter friendly classes, in person time at the beginning and end of the semester with all other teaching via distance learning with a web-based Learning Management System and on site for local students. Students can choose 7-9 credit hours of elective credit in one of two concentrations – Biblical Studies, or Cross Cultural Ministry.
Commuter Friendly Hybrid Model Classes
Hybrid-model classes will also serve as one of the means of offering courses for the Jesse C Fletcher Seminary. Under this model, students will come for a week in person at the beginning and end of each semester, respectively. At least once every other week, students will have a class meeting on Zoom with the professor at a time convenient for the class and professor.
Each hybrid course will meet for ten hours in person (students and professor) at the beginning and end of the semester. Students will enter in cohorts and take three classes a semester (Fall/Spring/Summer), with a practicum/internship added to their last two semesters. In this layout, students can complete the MDiv course of study in about 2.5 years. This would make for a 78 hour MDiv.
One advantage of hybrid classes is that there can be creativity with not only online delivery, but the location of the in-person component. For instance, one semester, the in person component could be in a border town. This could serve to allow students the opportunity for taking Christian Ethics, Missiology, and Intercultural Ministry in the same semester, convening in a border town for their in-person meetings. As the curriculum is developed, attention will be given to such possibilities and to opportunities for creative overlap in teaching locations.
Fletcher intendeds to seek accreditation status from the Association of Theological Schools within the first three years of academic operations.