|Free Will Baptist Bible College|
|Motto||O Send out Thy Light and Thy Truth|
|Affiliation||National Association of Free Will Baptists|
|Free Will Baptist|
|President||Dr. J. Matthew Pinson|
|Provost||Dr. Greg Ketteman|
|Location||Nashville, Tennessee, United States
|Colors||Blue, white & gold|
Welch College, formerly the Free Will Baptist Bible College, is a private four-year college in Nashville, Tennessee, founded in 1942. It is one of several higher learning institutions associated with the National Association of Free Will Baptists.
Welch College serves more than 300 students and is the national college of the 300,000-member Free Will Baptist denomination. The mission of Welch College is to educate leaders to serve Christ, His Church, and His world through Biblical thought and life.
The National Association of Free Will Baptists in general session in Nashville, Tennessee, called for the creation of Free Will Baptist Bible College and its doors opened in 1942 as a two-year institution. Dr. Linton C. Johnson was its first President. Eight students composed the original student body. The college added a third year of study in 1949, a fourth year in 1950 and awarded its first Bachelor's degrees to five students in 1951.
In August 2008 the college purchased a 66-acre (270,000 m2) tract in Gallatin, Tennessee, to become the site of a larger campus. The college has sold its West End Avenue campus and is in the process of constructing a new campus on the Gallatin site.
In July 2012 at the National Association of Free Will Baptist in Memphis, the denomination voted to change the name of the college to Welch College.
Welch College is located on a 9-acre (36,000 m2) campus in Nashville, Tennessee, on West End Avenue near Interstate 440. There are twelve buildings on campus, including the three-story Johnson Academic Building, Welch Library, and men's and women's residence halls. However, Welch College is in a period of transitioning to a new campus in Gallatin, Tennessee, which as of 2016[update] is under construction.
The Gallatin campus will provide for increased enrollment, meet the needs of the physically challenged, and provide space for student recreation and athletic activities—all important elements for a complete campus experience. The first phase of this 66-acre (270,000 m2) campus will provide a technologically up-to-date atmosphere in which to live and study, campus-wide Internet access, residence halls with generous living quarters for students, a library to house more than 70,000 volumes with room and plans to expand, spacious classrooms and laboratories, a modern dining hall, student center, athletic center, and more.
The college offers Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Music Education degree programs. Two- and three-year associate degree programs are also offered.
Welch College offers over forty academic majors. The college maintains a strong core in biblical and theological studies, and around one-third of Welch College students major in programs of study that lead to full-time church vocations. Welch College also maintains a growing Music Department to train vocalists and instrumentalists. The college's Teacher Education program provides teachers for public and private schools. The school also produces Business Department graduates. Welch College is expanding its Adult Degree and distance learning programs. In the fall of 2013 they will begin offering Bachelor's degrees in their online learning program.
Welch College is both regionally and nationally accredited and is a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). It is approved by the Tennessee State Department of Education to offer degrees leading to teacher education licensure in grades PreK-12. The college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. This is the regional accrediting agency in the southeast. Of longest standing, the college is accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), approved by CHEA to accredit baccalaureate degree-granting Bible colleges in the United States and Canada.
The athletic teams of Welch College are called the "Flames" and compete in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Currently there are five varsity teams.
In lieu of the traditional Greek letter organizations, Welch sponsors student-led "societies" that serve a similar social networking function to the Greek system. There are currently four men's societies and four women's societies. Most students are required to participate in societies. They serve as some of the college's most visible student-led organizations.
Societies are kicked off with Rush Week at the beginning of the school year. Each day a society presents itself to the freshman class. Rush Week culminates in Rush Night, where each freshman chooses which society they would like to join. Once a student joins a society, they attend monthly meetings and can participate in society sports, service projects, and other on- and off-campus activities. Available societies are:
- John Bunyan Society
- Pi Gamma Chi Society
- William Jennings Bryan Society
- Alpha Chi Omega Society
- Christina Rossetti Society
- Charlotte Bronte Society
- Louisa Mae Alcott Society
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning Society
As a community of faith and learning, Welch College emphasizes spiritual development as much as academic studies, and that is one of the special reasons students come here. For this reason, daily chapel attendance is mandatory. Students will enroll in 30 hours worth of Theological Studies classes and graduate with a double major in Theological studies and whatever other degree or degrees they are pursuing. A weekly Christian Service assignment is also required of every student, along with attending church weekly.
Most students are required to live on campus, and those who do are required to be in their residence halls by 11:30 p.m. every night. Except in certain open house events, men and women are not allowed to visit one another's dorm rooms.
Welch has a no smoking policy on campus. Disciplinary action may be taken against students who use illegal drugs whether on or off campus. The consumption of alcohol is also prohibited for students and faculty both on and off campus. A violation of this policy usually results in expulsion for one semester.
Welch requires faculty and students to dress professionally when attending class and chapel. Other dress code requirements are enforced during non-school hours.
- Rev. Linton C. Johnson (1942–1944, 1947–1979)
- Rev. L. R. Ennis (1944–1947)
- Dr. Charles A. Thigpen (1979–1990)
- Rev. C. Thomas Malone (1990–2002)
- Dr. J. Matthew Pinson (2002–present)
- "Welch College". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- Pinson, J. Matthew (February 13, 2013). "Relocation Update from President J. Matthew Pinson". Welch College. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
- "Free Will Baptist Bible College Changes Name". Welch College. July 18, 2012. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
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