Since COVID-19 began to impact our community this past spring, Baylor’s Truett Seminary has worked tirelessly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff as well as to continue to pursue our mission, even as the landscape of education shifts in light of the pandemic.
This fall, Baylor University is seeking to provide a rich, vibrant academic and campus experience for its students while keeping the health and wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff a priority. Many new initiatives will be introduced in the fall toward this good goal. This includes welcome kits with face masks, hand-sanitizer, and thermometers, a thorough COVID-19 testing strategy, augmented classroom technology, mask requirements, and more. You can read about the University’s safety and wellbeing planning efforts at www.baylor.edu/coronavirus.
In the middle of the spring semester, our faculty were unexpectedly required to transition a traditional in-person learning experience online and did so to the best of their abilities. In anticipation of providing a variety of learning methods this fall, faculty have engaged in training and development throughout the summer to ensure that Truett Seminary students receive a quality education, whether online or in-person. The University is also making plans to maintain consistency for both students and faculty should a participant in an in-person class test positive for COVID-19.
No matter the necessitated method of delivery, theological education continues to be central to the mission of Truett Seminary. Our Student Recruitment Team remains committed to enrolling high quality students called to life in ministry. When in-person visits were restricted, the Recruitment Team began offering virtual “visits” and topic-specific information sessions to keep prospective students connected with the Seminary. These efforts are proving successful as application numbers indicate Truett’s fall enrollment will stay consistent with that of last year and not experience the drop that many in higher education are predicting.
Each year, Truett hosts a number of conferences, lectures, and events with renowned theologians, preachers, and ministers, and the Seminary plans on continuing this good work safely and comfortably for those interested in attending. For example, the Summer Intensive with N.T. Wright has now been rescheduled for 2021, but a new virtual event will be offered with Professor Wright this August. In addition, the African American Preaching Conference, scheduled for September 29 through October 1 will now be hosted virtually at a reduced rate. The Truett Church Network is offering a number of webinars featuring experienced ministers and respected academics discussing relevant topics.
Baylor University’s Give Light philanthropic campaign continues to be of great importance, even and perhaps especially during the pandemic. During the fiscal year that ended on May 31, Truett raised $8.656 million, bringing the Seminary’s total raised toward its $50 million Give Light goal to roughly $37.250 (75%) with two years remaining in the campaign. The current fiscal year has started strong with over $380,000 raised in June and July, including 4 new endowed student scholarships. To learn more about the Seminary’s development efforts or to set up a virtual visit with Director of Development Jon Sisk, email Jon_Sisk@baylor.edu.