Recognizing that learning, spiritual growth, interaction and engagement can happen from anywhere in the world, LBC | Capital is committed to taking more of the college’s excellent, biblically integrated programs online. This fall, five master’s degree options migrated to an online format, serving not only those who may not be able to take in-person classes at an LBC | Capital location but also those who have a busy lifestyle—raising families, working full-time, serving in ministry and more.
In the spring of 2021, LBC | Capital President Dr. Thomas L. Kiedis announced that Dr. Beau Walker joined the college as Vice President of Global Education. Walker has spent nearly two decades in academic leadership, program and project development, management and execution. His pioneering approach to digital education leverages analytics, creative strategies and tailored learning environments that have dramatically increased enrollment, student success, graduation rates and revenue for multiple higher education institutions. Walker also has expertise in course and program development and has helped over a dozen Christian universities and colleges grow both online and residential enrollment.
Currently, LBC | Capital offers the Master of Social Work degree online, and as of this fall, added the Master of Arts in Christian Care, Master of Education in Special Education, Master of Education in English as a Second Language and Master of Arts in Formational Leadership to the online options.
Below, Walker weighs in on how these online masters programs will impact the college and what the future holds.
LBC | CAPITAL: How will a global vision for LBC | Capital impact students across the world?
BEAU WALKER: The global vision for LBC | Capital is fueled by the unchanging mission of the institution. LBC | Capital has always existed to educate Christian students to think and live a biblical worldview and to proclaim Christ by serving Him in the Church and society. However, the majority of our efforts have been aimed at equipping students in a physical classroom. This model has inherent limitations and allows the mission to be accomplished insofar as students are willing or able to attend our courses in-person. This global vision is really a refocusing on the mission to educate Christian students wherever they may be.
There are Christian students on every major continent (yes, even Antarctica!). There are an estimated 2.3 billion Christians in the world, and the incredible majority of these believers do not have the means nor access to be able to enroll in an LBC | Capital program in-person. We are aiming to take LBC | Capital to the world and make our programs available to those believers who want to serve Christ in the Church and in their societies. Imagine the generational echo that will be created when a parent in an African village enrolls in one of our global programs and plants a church or a young lady in Nepal enrolls in our M.A. in Christian Care program and starts an organization that ends human trafficking in that part of the world. LBC | Capital’s global initiative will not only impact students across the world, it will impact cultures across the world.
LBC: After a unique year that dictated our communication styles, many have realized that studying, interacting and engaging online is not only possible but has benefits. How will LBC | Capital’s online programs make interaction and engagement a priority?
BW: In nearly every conversation I have had with faculty and staff about what makes LBC | Capital unique, I consistently hear it is the “Life-on-Life” approach to education. It is clear that this intentional engagement for intellectual and spiritual transformation is the DNA of the Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School educational experience. Once I realized this, it became clear that we had to be very purposeful in capturing this DNA as we build LBC | Capital’s global, online programs. Yes, this past year has taught us that we can accomplish much more from a distance than many of us previously thought possible. So, our new online classes will have a live (synchronous) session each week where the global faculty will engage students virtually for the purpose of assessing student’s assimilation of the weekly learning content, allowing students to collaboratively reflect and share experiences.
Global faculty will also be able to address any unanticipated gaps in knowledge and understanding.
We are also creating the support infrastructure that allows academic advisors and global faculty to personally and proactively engage students who need academic and/or spiritual support, assistance in planning for the future or might simply need a little cheerleading. We know students choose online programs for a reason. Many have families, jobs, extracurricular activities and an endless to-do list. So we are creating a supportive learning structure that helps already-busy students navigate their educational journey so they can earn their degree and create better lives for themselves and their families—and all while building the kingdom in their spheres of influence. This really will be a much more comprehensive and enriching educational experience compared to nearly every other online learning option available.
LBC: What do you envision as the future of offering more of LBC | Capital’s biblically integrated education online to a global audience?
BW: Currently, the primary objective for the coming academic year is to develop the online equivalent of our already existing graduate and seminary programs. This means that students around the world who could not have otherwise taken our courses or graduated from our programs will now have access to the spiritually transformative education LBC | Capital provides. However, initially, students around the world will have online access to English versions of these programs. We already have established a reach into Brazil where we are offering our Doctor of Ministry degree in residence in the Portuguese language. Now, imagine extending the reach of LBC | Capital globally and providing online access to our programs in an international student’s native language. We are aiming to take LBC | Capital to the world because the world needs LBC | Capital, and students in India or Chile or Togo exist in drastically different cultural contexts. This means we will eventually be creating culturally contextualized courses and programs that equip students to think and live a biblical worldview and proclaim Christ by serving Him in the Church and society—wherever they may be.