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Online Professor Questions

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#1 Nathan Parker

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 08:29 PM

Not sure where else to post this, so posting this here. I'm asking these questions to a few of my online professors, and just in case there's some online professors here as well that could assist me in answering some of them, I'd really appreciate it as well.


I am currently attending LRU and am a semester away from my BARM degree. After I complete my bachelor's degree program, I want to work at getting both my master's degree and my doctorate.

I have been discussing with John Roland at LRU about career opportunities, and I explained to him that I feel that the Lord is calling me to do professor work primarily online as an adjunct professor. I also plan to serve in the church possibly on a church's media ministry, but that will probably be more volunteer work. I do not feel called to be a full time pastor of a church. With a few health issues I have, I know that being a full-time pastor would be overwhelming and lead to burnout quickly.
On the other hand, I am a gifted teacher, and feel strongly that I could serve as a seminary and Bible college professor, especially online.
My primary question is, as I continue my studies toward becoming a professor, what degree track as I pursue a master's and doctorate do I need to look into, as well as are there any specific courses, electives, or anything else I need to do during the process that will better qualify me as a seminary professor? I want to ensure the time I spend in college and seminary better equips and qualifies me for the task as a seminary professor, and I simply do not wish to take courses just for the sake of being there. I want my studies to really mean something and better enable me for the work the Lord has called me to do.
Another question I have is, do I need to start with an MA track and progress toward an MDiv? Would that be a stronger degree track to pursue? On the MA track, would I need to look into Christian Studies or Leadership?
After my master's is completed, do I need to look into a DMin for my doctorate, or do I need to look into some other form of doctorate better geared toward teaching?
Since I also own my own IT firm, I am also looking at going for an MBA to further my business/administrative skills as well. 
A little background on my specialities:
My main area of expertise would be geared toward Theological courses (Theology Survey, Eschatology, Christology, Ecclesiology, etc., Bibliology is a major passion of mine when it comes to textual comparison, etc.). I am also deepening my knowledge of the church and Church Planning, Church Administration, etc. I have knowledge in administration/legal information. I could also teach courses in: Hermeneutics, Leadership, OT/NT Surveys, Life of Christ, Spiritual Formation, Personal Evangelism, and Bible Book-related classes. I am also wanting to learn the Biblical languages and become proficient enough in Hebrew and Greek where I could teach it if need be.
Other possible courses/fields I could teach if need be are: Music Appreciation (I was a member of the NFSM for 10 years at the national level and earned my Paderewski gold medal the 10th year), technology/computer related courses, Physical Science (depending on the curriculum), English Composition, Christian Education (if it has to do with ministry foundations), Apologetics (While not a subject I would major in, I could minority teach Apologetics on the side as building upon Theological courses), and Creationism. 
Additionally, I feel that I would be well suited for the online environment as an adjunct professor, and I could even work alongside a college's IT department as a "technologically knowledgeable professor" if need be. In addition to owning Mallard Computer, Inc., I have had years of experience with both Windows and Macintosh (both Mac OS X and the classic Mac OS, both on PowerPC and Intel processors), I am increasing my knowledge in Linux (both RPM and Debian/Ubuntu-based distos), I have had years of experience on iOS and am beginning to learn Android OS now, I am increasing my knowledge of web services, web applications, HTML, XML, CSS, and JavaScript as I can (fairly limited for now, but I'm learning). Currently, I have built a Moodle installation successfully on a server once, as well as have proficient experience with WordPress and NING, some experience with Drupal, and increasing my knowledge on Oxwall, OwnCloud, and a few other web services. I have had years of experience with DSL and setting up Ethernet and Wireless networks, am beginning to go into learning how to build computer hardware, have some knowledge of cloud-based PBX systems, and have knowledge of the major cloud infrastructure services and wireless chipset and computer microprocessor design. I could also record my lectures in video format easily and could work with live streaming services as well.
That is a little background of me and my skills and what direction I feel the Lord is calling me in to be an online professor. If you have any information you could provide me that would be of a benefit to me, as well as if you wish to share this with anyone else or point me toward someone else I could talk to as well that would benefit me, I would really appreciate it.

Nathan Parker



Mallard Computer, Inc.

#2 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 08:01 AM

Hi, Nathan!


While I appreciate your need for counsel in career choices, I'm not sure this is the proper forum for it. Facebook would be a better place to solicit advice from those who know you, while LinkedIn is a  better place to network for those seeking jobs (and career advice). In the real world, the LRU profs that know you are probably the best source of career counsel.


That said, I recommend you get a bit more focused before spending more money on education. IT can be a very profitable career and there are lots of openings; people earn a good income from it every day and the educational requirements are minimal (BA). You can always teach in a local church, serve as a church elder, etc.


Teaching in biblical studies or related fields in college/seminary, even as an adjunct and online, usually requires a doctorate (and not an D.Min.). This is an expensive and time-consuming educational requirement. The job market is flooded with unemployed Ph.D.s—and adjunct work pays very, very little.


Besides these facts, I observe that your interests in religion remain very broad, too broad, in fact, to pursue anything more focused than an MA in Religious Studies or an MDiv. The former should be considered a "hobby" degree, unless followed by a Ph.D. and a genuine commitment to teach. I recommend against it unless you just have money to burn. The latter would qualify you for pastoral work and [eventually] ordination in your denomination. If that interests you, seek counsel from your denominational officials and your church about your suitability as a pastoral candidate. Pastoral work is demanding, but also very satisfying. Pay and job security varies wildly from denomination to denomination.


Good luck!

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#3 Nathan Parker

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 01:16 AM

Hi there!


Thanks for the information! I'm emailing some of my professors and academic advisors at LRU as well, as well as emailing other friends of mine in the academic field and messaging people on other social networks as well. I know this forum is mainly for Bible Software, but since some professors and scholars frequent it, I thought it'd be interesting to get some of their opinions while doing all my research.


I haven't thought about pursuing a degree in IT, but it is something to keep in mind. I have a very solid head start there, and it wouldn't take me much to solidify my knowledge there.


My other professors were telling me the same thing as well on the doctorate that I'd need a Ph.D and not a D.Min for academic work. Thanks for the heads up on the pay of adjunct work. If you have some more information you could PM me on what the base salary of an adjunct professor would be, that'd be beneficial to me as well. I haven't researched it enough to really know.


That's another area I'm seeing an issue. I have a broad level of interests, and it'd be very hard to pinpoint down exactly what my main interest would be. While I've been able to narrow down what I wouldn't be interested in teaching, my lists of interests is still lengthy and broad. :-)


As for pastoral work, while it would be rewarding, I know I couldn't be a full-time pastor. I have some health issues that would lead to me quickly burning out if I were to tackle full time pastoral work. Since I have a business/administration oriented mind, it's possible I could serve in a church on an administrative level as well.


Thanks for the information! It's given me some things to ponder for sure.

Nathan Parker



Mallard Computer, Inc.

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