Carson-Newman renames “School of Religion”

Academics | February 28, 2022

Carson-Newman University’s Dr. David Crutchley speaks during a commencement ceremony. Crutchley serves as dean of the University’s renamed "School of Biblical and Theological Studies."

More clearly representing the various opportunities within the field, Carson-Newman University is changing the name of its “School of Religion” to the “School of Biblical and Theological Studies.”

According to the school’s dean, Dr. David Crutchley, the decision originated from department faculty.

“We requested to change our school’s name to align more closely with the heart of our work,” Crutchley said. “The recommendation went from our faculty to Academic Council to the Administration and then to our Board of Trustees where they all enthusiastically supported the change,” the dean said.

Carson-Newman President Charles A. Fowler says the title change is very strategic. “The term “religion” can mean many different things to people. Changing the name to “School of Biblical and Theological Studies anchors both the identity and work of the school in the scriptures,” Fowler said. “It is our goal for every graduate that comes through the School of Biblical and Theological Studies to love Jesus more and trust the scriptures more when they leave Carson-Newman for their next steps in their ministry path.”

Carson-Newman Provost Jeremy Buckner says he’s pleased with the decision, which, according to him, speaks to the University’s mission “emanating from a uniquely Christian worldview.”

“At the center of our faith is the Lord Jesus Christ as evidenced historically and revealed in the Scriptures. The School of Biblical and Theological Studies communicates what has been our practice and gives expression to subject of academic interest within the school particularly, Jesus Christ and the Bible.” 

Crutchley agrees and explains that the name and the school’s programming go hand in hand.

“The name situates well within our broad range of major and minor offerings—biblical languages, biblical studies, children and youth ministry, leadership and ethics, ministry studies, missions, and spirituality and the arts —and our many international studies abroad programs,” Crutchley said.

“Our graduates attest to the caliber and quality of our theological programs,” he said. “Students from our school have multiple options on graduation: ministry in a local church, working with a non-profit organization, or teaching in a Christian school; others have pursued the call to ministry through advanced standing in seminaries and divinity schools throughout the country.”

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts-based university affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The University offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees.