Four of the five extension centers of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) in Alabama will remain open, but one center plus six others in the Southeast will close, following a recent vote by the seminary’s executive committee.
The seminary’s Alabama extension centers remaining open are located in Birmingham, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa — which offer both undergraduate and graduate-level courses in theological education — as well as Montgomery, which offers only graduate-level coursework. The Rainsville location will close.
In a virtual meeting April 14–15, NOBTS trustees voted to close the Rainsville extension center as well as centers in Lafayette, Louisiana; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Tampa, Florida; Warner Robins, Georgia; Pensacola, Florida; and Jacksonville, Florida. The seven centers, which have experienced declining enrollment for several years, will close in December 2020.
Teach-out plans will be developed for students affected by the closure to help them finish their degrees.
The extension centers offer the opportunity to earn degrees without relocating to New Orleans.
“The use of extension centers allows NOBTS and Leavell College to provide quality training close to where the student feels called to serve. Therefore, students are not forced to leave their church or ministry calling to attend seminary,” said Norris Grubbs, NOBTS provost. “We bring seminary close to them.”