Defiance, Ohio’s aptly named Defiance College has had much to boast about in recent years, though it has been teaching primarily Christian students since it’s origination in 1850 as the Defiance Female Seminary. Though coed now, this college’s commitment to an “educational experience of engagement”, not just in learning, but in civic and cultural areas as well has been awarded heavily with notices from both Princeton and the President. It’s motto of “Defy the Ordinary” is shown in programs ranging from the McMaster School for Advancing Humanity (which seeks to improve our overall human quality of life through teaching, service, etc) and the Hench Autism Studies Program (targeting and aiding autistic adolescents as they prepare for the adult world).
As part of the United Church of Christ, its distance learning programs are very religion oriented, made to serve those who wish to continue their religious education in the face of geographical boundaries. Though there are over 40 undergraduate majors (nursing to restoration ecology) and 2 graduate degrees (business and education) offered on campus, with a student/faculty ratio of 13:1 (with an average of 1000 students), the distance learning is tailored more to the Christian aspect of the college.
Called “DESIGN for LEADERSHIP”, Defiance’s one full online major in the area of Christian Religious Education, as well as condensed programs offering Associate degrees in several other areas. The DESIGN program is available to qualified students of any age who are looking for “practical, ministry-based online courses” with “undergraduate level education and professional training in Christian education/faith formation and local church leadership”. Using 21st century methods, DESIGN creates a community of faith based learning meant to strengthen ministries while remaining conveniently available to students anywhere.
The Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education can be achieved through one eight-week intensive course at a time, allowing students to balance their home and work life with school and giving as much as eight years to complete a degree. Intern/real world field work can be accommodated in the church and community the student lives in and can be coordinated through the college to complete the student’s education. Meant for those seeking to teach Christianity, to Youth Pastors looking to further what they can teach the young.
Associate of Arts degrees are also offered, with two year degrees in Church Education, Youth Ministry Leadership, and African-American Ministry Leadership. Meant more to fill in the gaps of understanding or method in areas that ministry professionals have, these programs aid in rounding the teacher who doesn’t have time to become a student full time again. Set up the same as the Christian Education BA program, these programs consists of single class, eight week, intensive programs that can be completed in up to eight years, with online course work and timetables that don’t disrupt daily schedules.
DESIGN has become wildly successful since its inception four decades ago and continues to bring education to those around the country and around the world that are looking for “an avenue for earning associate and bachelor degrees, for completion of a certificate program, or for continuing education and professional development”. Though it is housed at Defiance, it continues to be funded by endowments from churches and religious organizations around the country, all looking to help further education in church based areas for any who wish to move forward.