MBU Hosts Watertown Community at Opening Business Breakfast
Masks could not hide the smiles that greeted guests when they entered MBU’s Dining Complex on August 18. MBU was pleased to welcome back the greater Watertown community to its campus and kick-off the 2020-2021 Business Breakfast series. Business breakfasts provide a great opportunity for Maranatha to interact with the Watertown community, and this breakfast was no exception.
Steve Board, Director of Development, opened the breakfast with a few remarks on MBU’s response to COVID-19 and introduced the three speakers: Mrs. Dana Davis, Assistant Vice President of Online and Distance Learning, Dr. William Licht, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Dr. Matt Davis, Executive Vice President of Maranatha.
A PREPARED PROGRAM
Mrs. Dana Davis, Assistant Vice President of Online and Distance Learning, began the presentation with an introduction to Maranatha Online and Distance Learning which has been a part of Maranatha Baptist University for more than 20 years. The program was originally designed to meet a need perceived by the Bible faculty for pastors and ministry leaders to receive an education from wherever they were in the world. As the need was met, and the course of higher education changed, Maranatha Online changed too. Maranatha now offers high school dual enrollment options along with several undergraduate and graduate degrees 100% online. Maranatha Online recently received a high ranking for its bachelor programs from the U.S. News and World Report.
Because of this growth in the program, many main campus faculty had taught online courses and were prepared for the change to come.
A PREPARED FACULTY
Dr. William Licht, Vice President of Academic Affairs, continued the presentation by sharing the faculty’s transition to teaching virtually versus residentially. Licht explained that when the announcement was made for MBU to go completely online, the faculty had little more than two weeks to transfer 300 courses to a virtual learning format. The foundation laid by Maranatha Online, combined with MBU’s Learning Management System (LMS), and already-in-place Zoom technology, made it easier to transfer from the residential format. While teaching online is not ideal, Licht stated that “it worked.”
The same careful preparation that MBU has put into developing programs that suit to meet the ever-changing higher education needs will carry them into Fall 2020.
A PREPARED FUTURE
Dr. Matt Davis, Executive Vice President of Maranatha, finished the presentation by speaking on the difficulty that MBU’s administration had in putting together a plan because of the constantly changing landscape and the ever-growing understanding of the virus and its impact. Early on, MBU created a team to develop a plan for the fall semester and work through the ever-changing regulations and assessing the needs of MBU’s students, faculty, and staff. As the team formulated the plan, they kept the mission of Maranatha at the core of their thinking.
“Why is our mission so important at Maranatha? For us, it’s an eternal mission. We’re developing leaders for the local church and the world to the praise of His glory. And that mission reflects the fact that we believe in something more than this life,” Davis stated.
Davis concluded the breakfast by thanking attendees for coming and assuring them that Maranatha is committed to the health, security, and safety of not only the MBU community but also of the greater Watertown community.