A New Approach to Undergraduate Education
Today, we continue to share a bit about the new undergraduate program that is available through the Kairos Project. For our friends, supporters, and alumni, undergraduate education is an important part of this institution. In 1967, the North American Baptist Conference officially recognized North American Baptist College (the previous name for Taylor Seminary) as the official undergraduate training institution for the entire denomination.
For many years, North American Baptist College served students from across the North American Baptist Conference and particularly people located in Alberta. When the college programs were closed in 2008, there was a deep sense of loss across the denomination as a whole and particularly within the Alberta Baptist Association. Training young people for service in the kingdom mission had long been an important aspect of this institution.
Today, as a result of the schools uniting under Kairos, we are excited to offer a fresh expression of undergraduate education. We are now able to function as a North American Baptist college and seminary that provides educational opportunities from bachelor degrees all the way through to research doctoral degrees. This new degree will launch in fall 2020 and will be accredited by one of the largest and most influential accreditation systems in North America. As such, students in this program can be assured that they will not only receive high-quality education but also know it will be recognized around the world as such.
College is an important time in one's developmental journey. We believe that a fresh expression of undergraduate education is required if we are to adequately prepare students to thrive in their vocations. It is for this reason that we are taking a different approach to undergraduate education. Bachelor's degrees in both Canada and the United States are designed around concepts that assume a certain reality that is quickly fading. In some cases, this is more pronounced in the US than it is in Canada. But even in Canada, there is rising concern about how programs are not designed to meet students where they are. We think there is a better, and more affordable, way to walk alongside students in this journey.
Each semester, students (whether on campus or online) will travel through three types of learning pathways - each designed to integrate vocation, faith, and context. One pathway is comprised of weekly small group cohort sessions led by faculty who also serve as mentors to students in the program. Another avenue for learning comes through online pathways designed to encourage students to work with a mentor team on projects that are relevant to their vocations and contexts. For example, if a student is pursuing a career as a software engineer, the pathways can be customized to account for that. If a student is planning to be a pastor, the pathways can be adapted to that vocation. These adaptations happen under the direction of a faculty-led mentor team. Finally, all students will come together once per term for a Kairos Gathering. Gatherings are a learning pathway designed to help students reflect on case studies from their contexts. Throughout the program, students can work with their mentor teams to adapt assignments, pursue passions, and create a portfolio of work developed in the crucible of real-life, not the classroom.
While developing this customized learning journey, students will have the opportunity to engage in learning opportunities from 1) institutions around the world, 2) partner organizations that work in areas ranging from software development to pastoral ministry to accounting and more, and 3) immersive international experiences on four different continents.
Put simply, this program is designed to meet people where they are and help them get to where God is calling them to be.
You can read more about it by looking at Sioux Falls Seminary's article that is posted here.