Williams Baptist to offer online degrees

WALNUT RIDGE – A Williams Baptist College (WBC) has announced that it will offer online degrees starting in coming weeks.

Williams is launching online degree completion programs in both psychology and pastoral ministries in March, with a program in business set to begin in May. The programs will allow students to complete their bachelor’s degrees through entirely online classes.

“In order to accomplish our mission completely, we have developed strategies that will expose us to a broader range of students,” said Williams President Tom Jones. “The WBC online degree program will make our Christian college experience available to those who are not able to attend the Williams on-campus program.”

The online program has been developed during the past 13 months under the direction of Eric Turner, dean of adult education. Turner said the program is for adult students, 23 years of age and older, who have successfully completed at least 45 hours of college.

Both Turner and Jones said that adults compose a sizable majority of today’s college students. Some 80 percent of the current college market is 25 years of age or older, and they typically have a learning style that differs from traditional college students.

“Typically, an adult learner is older and has significant responsibilities in their community, church, family and job,” Turner said. “These experiences have provided them knowledge and experiences that impact the way they learn. Their lifestyles often require a learning environment that is compact, intense and accessible.”

Turner pointed out that while the content of WBC’s online classes is the same as what is offered in the classroom, the online courses are better suited to the busy schedules of adult students.

“The format is asynchronous. In other words, students do not have to log in at set times,” he said. “While there are certain class participation requirements and due dates, students can accomplish these things at their convenience.”

The adult online program is designed to be an extension of Williams in every facet, and Jones emphasized that that the online format is not a “sidebar” activity for the college.

“Our online program will have the same high standards, personal approach and Christian basis for which Williams is known. Students will receive personal attention through an administrative and educational process that will accommodate their busy lives,” said Thomas.

Turner said the personal and spiritual dimensions for which WBC is known will be conveyed through the virtual campus (VC).

“The VC provides an interactive community: special interest groups like campus ministries, chapel streaming, and academic interest groups, that students can take advantage of,” he said.

“Students of any age desire to be part of a community of learners. Adults especially do not want to feel alone in their learning community and the VC attempts to build this community within the online environment.”

The program is fully accredited through the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting agency for higher education in this part of the nation. The HLC extended its approval to the Williams online program following a site team visit last fall.

More information is available at


Mom’s Day of Prayer set for Jan. 18

Mom’s Day of Prayer (MDOP), which began in Fort Smith through the efforts of an Arkansas Baptist in the 1990s, has spiraled into a worldwide event held every January.

The date for this year’s event is Jan. 18. However, Kathy Coleman, founder of MDOP, said MDOP events can be hosted on other dates if the set date is not convenient.

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Fort Smith CWJC celebrates Christmas

Valerie Fitch, Fort Smith Christian Women's Job Corps (FSCWJC) executive director, addresses those in attendance at FSCWJC’s Christmas party. About 60 people attended the party, which took place Dec. 9 at Oaks Manor Conference and Retreat Center in Van Buren. The event included a meal, a speaker, music and gifts. It also served as a time to celebrate God’s work in the lives of the women and families involved with FSCWJC in 2013.


Donation largest ever for Baptist Memorial

JONESBORO – A $5 million donation by an Arkansas couple announced Dec. 10 is the largest gift to Baptist Memorial Health Care in the Memphis-based hospital system’s 101-year history, according to hospital officals.

FowlerWallace and Jama Fowler of Jonesboro donated $5 million to the NEA Baptist Charitable Foundation. The money will be used to create the Fowler Family Patient Assistance Endowment, a fund that will expand support services for the health care center's cancer patients. A new cancer center at NEA Baptist's new medical campus at 4800 E. Johnson in Jonesboro will be named the Fowler Family Center for Cancer Care, NEA Baptist said.

"It is an honor to receive such a generous gift from the Fowler family for the new cancer center at NEA Baptist," said Brad Parsons, CEO and administrator of NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital. "The Fowlers have given to many great initiatives in our community and this is no different. This gift will help transform cancer care in northeast Arkansas for generations to come."

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new hospital in Jonesboro, which opens in January, was held Dec. 10.

The 80-acre campus features a 550,000-square-foot hospital, 212,000 square feet of clinic space and the 34,000-square-foot cancer center. NEA said 500 jobs in health care are being created as a result of the $400 million project.

All components of cancer care are being placed under one roof, including diagnostics and chemotherapy treatments, as a result of the Fowler Family Center for Cancer Care. The center has 22 chemotherapy infusion suites.

"We look forward to working with NEA/Baptist and the cancer center to help provide additional support for patients and their families," Wallace Fowler said.

Wallace Fowler is a business owner and banker. Earlier this year, Fowler sold his privately-held bank company Liberty Bancshares to publicly traded Home BancShares Inc. of Conway for $280 million, according to Arkansas Business. The deal marked the largest in-state bank transaction in Arkansas history.


Coronado Baptist dedicates new facility

Members of Coronado Baptist Church, Hot Springs Village, celebrated the completion of their new facility with a dedication service Oct. 20. Since the church’s inception in 2005, they had been meeting at Hot Springs Village’s Coronado Center. Now they have their own facility.

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