Maranatha’s tradition of training Christian leaders for both full-time ministry and other vocations dates back to the founding of the College. The course listing for the fall of 1968, when Maranatha opened, included classes in history, sociology, education, psychology, science, and mathematics in addition to the Bible and pastoral studies courses.
Those academic opportunities have continued to expand. Today, Maranatha offers 29 majors, 42 minors, and five Seminary programs. Some degree options added for the 2009-10 academic year proved to be quite popular, and those classes filled quickly. The Business Department has since added Accounting and Sport Management to its program list for 2010-11.
Let’s explore some of the more recent additions to Maranatha’s programs, and how they will help prepare Christian leaders for both career fields and local churches.
Opportunities in accounting careers are exploding. Economic globalization means businesses are scrambling to find employees who can both implement sound practices that meet international accounting standards as well as employ tax strategies that can save their companies thousands, or even millions, of dollars. U.S. News and World Report, quoting Bureau of Labor Statistics data, reported a projected auditor employment growth rate of 22 percent between 2008 and 2018.
The reality of this emerging job market, and the ministry opportunities that go along with it, have led Maranatha’s Business Department to add an Accounting major for the 2010-11 academic year. Maranatha is the only college among those defining themselves as “fundamentalist” that can offer a regionally accredited CPA track program.
“Our business students have been telling us pretty consistently in recent years of their desire to have a CPA track program available to them,” Business Department Chair Dr. Corey Pfaffe said. “Now they can do so while simultaneously getting a Bible education. That’s huge to me.”
The 150-hour Accounting major will put students on track to fulfill Wisconsin’s requirements for earning a state CPA license. The state requires that those credits be earned at a regionally accredited college like Maranatha.
The business of sports offers plenty of opportunities for potential college graduates. Maranatha’s new Sport Management major and minor will help students pursue careers in sports marketing, management, and administration as well as fitness-related occupations.
Christian young people are uniquely positioned to impact the world through ministries made available to them through sports. People are drawn to recreational and physical fitness activities, and well-trained, others-oriented Christians can be a positive testimony to those around them. Outreach opportunities abound for Christians involved in sports, recreation, and physical fitness careers.
The program combines core requirements in Bible, General Studies, Business, Sport Management, and additional electives. A one-semester internship is required at the conclusion of the program.
Sport Management courses scheduled to be offered include Leadership and Ethics in Sport, Financing Sport Operations, Sport Marketing and Public Relations, Facilities Design and Management, Event Planning and Production, and Sport and Society.
Pre-Medical and Other Tracks
The incorporation of a Pre-Medical track to the Biology major in 2009-10 gave another option to students who desire to pursue medical careers after graduating from college. The previous option, a Humanities major with an Applied Science track, remains in place.
The Pre-Medical track, by its name alone, helped clear the misconception that aspiring professionals must look elsewhere to pursue undergraduate degrees. Maranatha has graduated future doctors, lawyers, and scientists for years, but still finds parents and students who are surprised to discover that a Bible college offers as many courses of study outside of vocational ministry.
“You don’t need to go through a ‘pre-med’ program to get into med school,” science program coordinator Dr. Paul Molitor said. “You need to get the core courses they require, pass the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) and fill out applications. Both this new track and Humanities/Applied Science are good paths to take if you want to get into med school, dental school, or veterinary school.”
Environmental Science and Molecular Biology tracks have also been added. They can serve effectively as pre-professional degrees for those aspiring to enter marine biology, genetics and bioengineering.
New Media Marketing
The Business Department added a New Media Marketing major for 2009-10. The course sequence combines business management and marketing classes with basic skills in communications, web design, and video production.
“We recognized the synergy there,” Pfaffe said. “This is a great opportunity for business majors to get sound marketing theory and also gain the technology and communication skills for application of those concepts.”
The New Media Marketing major follows by one year the addition of the New Media Communications minor, which has already proven to be a popular option for Maranatha students.
Global Ministry and the Big Picture
Bible Department Chair Brian Trainer noted that Christians working in fields such as linguistics, cultural anthropology and cross-cultural communication can often gain entry to “restricted access” countries where missionaries are turned away. That was part of the motivation for adding the Cross Cultural Studies minor.
Faculty member Tim Mielke’s photography program includes courses in design, event photography, lighting and portraits, and video production.
“We deal with the practical skills, but we also deal with the big picture as well—copyright laws, photojournalism ethics, etc.,” Mielke said. “Our students learn how to properly prepare a portfolio, and there is a significant capstone project.”
The Spanish programs, led by professor Dr. Manuel Morales, have expanded significantly during the last two years. There are now minors in Spanish and TESOL and concentration options available for those in other majors.