SBTS professors receive awards for instructional development

Communications Staff — January 7, 2005

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Two Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professors were recently honored for excellence in course development by a Louisville-area educational awards program.

Esther Crookshank, Ollie Hale Chiles Professor of Church Music, and Robert Plummer, assistant professor of New Testament interpretation, were among seven professors who received $1,000 Kentuckiana Metroversity Awards for Instructional Development.

Crookshank was recognized for developing a hymnology course teaching students to analyze, evaluate and write Christian hymns. Plummer received an award for developing a curriculum to teach doctoral students about New Testament archaeology and multimedia teaching techniques.

The Kentuckiana Metroversity Awards for Instructional Development have been presented annually for more than 20 years to full-time faculty members at Louisville-area colleges and seminaries who develop creative educational plans.

Crookshank said her proposal is particularly relevant in light of a recent “global worship movement.”

“We are in the middle of a global worship movement that mirrors certain historic hymnic reforms and that demands biblical evaluation and historically-informed understanding from the rising generation of worship leaders,” she said.

Teaching students to analyze worship music biblically will create a generation of ministers who “will engage with and savor hymns more fully in their corporate and private worship and enable their congregations to do the same,” Crookshank said.

Plummer cited an inadequate knowledge of archaeology among many New Testament scholars as grounds for teaching Ph.D. students in New Testament about the most important archeological data relating to their field. His winning proposal designed a one-semester colloquium devoted to the study of archaeology.

As part of the colloquium Plummer also required students to present a lecture using Power Point—a multimedia computer program—in order to prepare them to teach their own classes in the future.

“Many of our students … don’t know how to use Power Point, but they’re going to teach in places where they’re expected to have their lectures on Power Point,” said Plummer, who also received a Kentuckiana Metroversity award in 2003. “So one of the assignments was to create a very nice Power Point lecture related to one site or one problem in archaeology.”

Both Crookshank and Plummer emphasized the need for Christian institutions to engage the culture by participating in programs such as the Kentuckiana Metroversity Awards for Instructional Development.

“I think it is important for Christian schools and seminaries to participate in forums like the Metroversity contest—to show that we view theological education with the utmost seriousness and dedication,” Plummer said. “It is good to demonstrate to the world that theology is not a second-rate discipline, but is, in fact, the most important topic that one can study and must be engaged in with professorial earnest and pedagogical excellence.”

“If we seek to love the Lord, our God, with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, that must include loving Him in the way we teach His Word to others.”

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