PAUL QUINN COLLEGE LAUNCHES INAUGURAL RELIGIOUS STUDIES PROGRAM
Classes Start January 2015
DALLAS – Dec. 18, 2014 – Paul Quinn College is excited to announce the launch of its inaugural Religious Studies program, an inventive area of study that will step outside the box of which most collegiate religious degree programs tend to fit. Classes in the program start in January in conjunction with PQC’s spring 2015 semester.
“Paul Quinn College’s new Religious Studies Program puts it on the cutting edge of education in a world where diverse religions provide meaning, inspiration and controversy in our human culture,” said Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, chairwoman of Paul Quinn’s Board of Trustees and presiding prelate of the Tenth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop McKenzie applauded Paul Quinn’s President Michael J. Sorrell, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Kizuwanda Grant and the program’s new chair, the Rev. Dr. C. Dennis Williams, for taking the bold step of instituting the program at the college.
“President Sorrell reached back into the history of the college to bring forward again a discipline that prepares students for religious vocations as well as enhances studies in business, law and education. Dr. Grant has done a herculean job in pulling the Bachelor of Science degree format together. Her work is stellar and it shows, because the college’s accrediting body, the Transnational Association of Christian College and Schools, swiftly supported the program. And Rev. Williams brings to this new program at its genesis a wealth of education and experience. He has led Doctorate of Ministry cohorts at United Theological Seminary and now will take the helm of this new degree that will provide excellent preparation for the serious servant leader in a pluralistic society,” Bishop McKenzie added.
The fresh new program will examine the role of religion and spirituality in society and articulate the connection between religion and ethical behavior. The program will introduce students to a thorough theological and biblical platform within the context of the African American experience, and focus on guiding students to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.
“Our new Religious Studies program is designed to enable those who have been called in any denomination or faith to construct institutions that are both theologically and economically viable,” President Sorrell said. “This program is yet another example of Paul Quinn College’s focus on developing leaders who are capable of ‘nation building’ in every field.”
A unique feature of the program is the role that entrepreneurship will play in its curriculum structure. The college uses a teaching and learning approach known as Entrepreneurial Thought and Action (ETA). ETA encourages creative, out-of-the-box thinking in order to solve old and new challenges. The Religious Studies program will integrate this approach into its course offerings. In addition, feedback collected during the planning stages for the program showed strong support for an academic program that addressed the business and management side of ministry, Dr. Grant said.
“The Religious Studies major was created not only to provide strong preparation in Biblical studies, Christianity and the history and teachings of the A.M.E. church, but also to coach future church and faith-based organization leaders through the process of planning, implementing and sustaining their ministries and organizations,” Dr. Grant said. “Entrepreneurial thinking, finance, resource management and communication skills are key for anyone in a leadership role, so why not for a pastor or lay leaders in the church?”
Dr. Williams, pastor of Smith Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas, a former member of PQC’s Board of Trustees and an alum of the college, will assume his position as chair of the program on January 1, 2015. Dr. Williams has extensive experience as a pastor with 29 years in the AME Church family and 14 years as a seminary professor. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion from Paul Quinn College, a Master of Biblical Studies degree from Bethany Divinity College and Seminary, a Master of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary. He earned his Doctorate of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary. Dr. Williams will be responsible for teaching, recruiting and program coordination, and will work directly with Dr. Grant to ensure the program is successful and meets the needs of the community.
“The Religious Studies program is designed to prepare leaders to be critical thinkers, entrepreneurs, and biblical apologists and to serve in church ministries, para-church ministries, faith-based community organizations, and church administration,” Dr. Williams said. “Students who complete the program may immediately enter into the career field of their choice or continue on to a graduate level of study in religion, theology, or similar fields. I am truly excited to be a part of such a wonderful opportunity at my alma mater.”
Applications are now being accepted. Classes will begin January 12, 2015; online and weekend class options will be available. Interested students may apply by visiting www.pqc.edu and clicking on the “Apply” tab for more information.
About Paul Quinn College
Paul Quinn College, a finalist on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll and the 2011 HBCU of the Year, is a private, four-year liberal arts-inspired college founded by and affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The College was founded in Austin, Texas, on April 4, 1872, and is one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The College provides a quality, faith‐based education that addresses the academic, social and Christian development of students and prepares them to be servant leaders and agents of change in the global marketplace. Members of the College’s student body, alumni, faculty and staff, called Quinnites, embrace the institutional ethos of “WE over Me” and are dedicated to honoring the “Four Ls of Quinnite Leadership,” which are: Leave places better than you found them; Lead from wherever you are; Live a life that matters; and Love something greater than yourself. Learn more at www.pqc.edu and its online degree completion program at http://onlinebusiness.pqc.edu/.