The Office of Institutional Effectiveness oversees institutional research and assessment programs at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Educational effectiveness reflects the strength and integrity of educational programs. Academic programs and administrative units establish learning outcomes and objectives, identify appropriate measures and set achievement targets. Student and unit performance are assessed annually and the findings are used to improve programs and service offerings. Southern also evaluates its institution-wide performance through ongoing strategic planning processes led by the Office of the President.
Southern Seminary’s mission is, “to be totally committed to the Bible as the Word of God, to the Great Commission as our mandate, and to be a servant of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention by training, educating, and preparing ministers of the gospel for more faithful service.” To serve the convention’s churches, the seminary needs to maintain stable program enrollments, ensure students finish their studies in a timely way, and ensure students have the resources to seek and find ministry placement. In keeping with its mission, Southern has identified program enrollment, time-to-completion and placement as appropriate indicators of student achievement.
In keeping with common practice, Southern Seminary uses non-duplicating fall enrollment data, gathered in mid-September (after the drop/add period), to establish enrollment goals and measure achievement. Some doctoral programs meet in the winter term and thus use a census date of late October, as noted below. Enrollment goals and actual enrollments show that Southern has met its goals relative to this mark of student achievement.
|Degree||Fall 2018 Goal||Fall 2018 Headcount|
|Associate of Arts||25||39|
|Bachelor of Arts||250||353|
|Bachelor of Science||450||534|
|Master of Divinity||1,660||1,752|
|Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling||120||151|
|Master of Arts in Christian Education||20||38|
|Master of Arts in Church Ministries||20||33|
|Master of Arts in Discipleship and Family Ministry||20||22|
|Master of Arts in Leadership and Family Ministry||20||23|
|Master of Arts in Missiology||20||32|
|Master of Arts in Worship Leadership||20||36|
|Master of Arts (Theological Studies)||120||208|
|Master of Arts (Islamic Studies)||12||12|
|Master of Arts (Apologetics)||12||18|
|Master of Church Music||8||11|
|Master of Theology||50||59|
|Doctor of Ministry||175||188|
|Doctor of Educational Ministry||120||162|
|Doctor of Missiology||10||15*|
|Doctor of Education||35||36*|
|Doctor of Philosophy||200||203|
*Gathered using late October census date.
For 2017–2018, 91 percent of undergraduate completers finished their program in five years or less. Among master’s students, 80 percent of master of divinity students completed their program in five years while 75 percent of students in all other master’s programs completed their degrees in five years. Within the area of doctoral studies, 83 percent of professional doctoral students completed their program within five years while 84 percent of research doctoral students earned their degree within five years. These findings indicate that Southern exceeded its time-to-completion goals during 2017–18.
Southern Seminary’s primary mission is to train graduate students for ministry and for its graduate programs, Southern considers student placement as an indicator of effectiveness. Consistent with denominational tradition and ecclesiology, Southern Baptist churches are independent congregations and Southern cannot guarantee students placement, yet Southern seeks to place at least 60 percent of its graduate students who are pursuing placement. Among self-reporting completers from the 2016–17 academic year, 72 percent of graduates had found or were not seeking placement; 8 percent were pursuing another degree; and 20 percent were seeking placement. Southern met its achievement goal with regard to placement.