Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Printer-friendly Version E-mail Story

New semester to bring changes in calendar, chapel format
August 15, 2005
By Bryan Cribb

Chapel services in Southern Seminary's Alumni Memorial Chapel (above) have been reformated for fall semester. Photo by David Merrifield

Returning students to The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary will be welcomed by more than just new classes and new colleagues this fall semester. The new academic year will also bring some important changes in both the seminary's academic calendar and chapel format, said President R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Beginning earlier than previous semesters, the upcoming semester will end sooner with exams immediately following Thanksgiving break and it will include a new week-long fall break.

"We really wanted to take a look at the calendar to make sure we're maximizing our stewardship of time and putting together a schedule that will be best for students and faculty," Mohler said.

This year, the fall break is scheduled for the end of September. However, most years, the break will occur at the beginning of October, Mohler said. It will provide a time mid-semester for students and professors to regroup, recoup and catch-up, he added.

"We think [this] will be a very welcome development for both faculty and students and for families," he said. "We think it will be something that will actually make for a more productive learning experience and we hope make it a happier experience for families and faculty as well."

In addition to the calendar changes, the seminary will also inaugurate several adjustments in the schedule for spring semester. In order to add more of a break after January term classes and winter break, spring semester will begin a week later, Mohler said.

Seminary chapel services will also see major modifications beginning fall semester, including shorter and simpler services.

"Chapel is such an important part of the Southern Seminary experience, and we've really been taking a hard look to try to understand how we can make it an even more profitable and positive and central part of who we are and what we do," Mohler said. "... So we're changing the format to embrace simplicity."

In the new format, chapel will usually begin with prayer, followed by a hymn or contemporary song, the introduction of the preacher and finally the message.

"That leaves us a little more opportunity for me to say some things I need to say to the community, for us to insert a musical feature and for us to make some important announcements and just to help people understand what's happening on a week by week basis on the campus," Mohler said.

"It will also enable us to end [the service sooner] so that students and faculty have plenty of time to get back into the academic schedule for the rest of the day."

2005, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary - All Rights Reserved
Home | Contact Us | Reprint Permission