Grace College Akron commemorated its first year of operation in January while welcoming two new staff members. The school, which opened at Grace Church, Bath Campus, in January 2018, offers a bachelor of science in biblical studies program and is preparing to offer a second degree program in fall, 2019.
The partnership between Grace College and Seminary and Grace Church has gone “extremely well” over the past year, according to Grace College and Seminary president, Dr. Bill Katip.
“We believe we’re in the perfect location for training the next generation of church leaders. With the continual growth of Grace Church and the leadership of Senior Pastor Jeff Bogue, we’ve had a strong first year of enrollment and attracted top-notch faculty and staff,” Katip said.
Grace College is pleased to welcome Pam Bucha as Akron site coordinator and Dr. Gary Colledge as faculty support specialist.
Bucha, who is a founding member of Grace Church, brings more than 25 years of experience in leadership development to Grace College Akron. Her career, which has included work for Fortune 500 companies, retail services, and non-profit organizations, has centered around identifying needs and developing solutions to achieve organizational goals.
“We’re delighted to have Pam in this important role,” said Dr. Tim Ziebarth, executive dean of the School of Professional and Online Education at Grace College. “Her ability to see what is and imagine what could be will help her connect with the students and grow the Akron program for future competent, caring ministry leaders.”
Dr. Gary Colledge will continue to teach in the biblical studies program while taking on the new role of faculty support specialist. Dr. Colledge has taught and pastored for more than 40 years; he has also created and developed distance learning courses for higher education institutions.
Colledge says the unique academic program, educational philosophy, excellent faculty and strong support from Grace Church are what attracted him to Grace College Akron. “The students are engaged and keen learners,” he added. “I look forward to being with these students every time I walk into the classroom.”
The biblical studies program at Grace College Akron prepares students to be servant-leaders both in church and society. Classes focus on the Old and New Testaments, theology, church history, intercultural studies, preaching, spiritual formation, and apologetics. Classes meet on Saturday mornings and one to two evenings per week at Grace Church, 754 Ghent Rd., Fairlawn, Ohio.
Current student Ben Shbeeb says, “The simple class schedule is perfect for me since I work full-time and am a full-time student. Those two advantages of Grace College Akron made it an easy choice as I work toward my degree without having to press pause on my life.”
According to student Lauren Hradil, the program is “an amazing mix of school and ministry that allows us to learn in complete depth about the Bible and then go out and apply what we are learning in our ministry.” Hradil adds, “The small class sizes encourage real community and intentionality between professors and students.”
Next fall, Grace College Akron plans to offer a bachelor degree completion program to serve adult students who previously started college but had to put their education on hold. Students with some college credit who wish to complete their degree can earn a bachelor of science in ministry leadership at Grace College Akron while maintaining family and career responsibilities.