Carl McRoy, of Maryland, originally learned about Bethany from a Google search about graduate programs related to social justice. After conversations with Bethany faculty and staff, he chose to enroll in the Master of Arts in Theopoetics and Writing — a natural choice for a published author who serves as director of literature services for the North American Division of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
“I have opportunities to mentor and recruit writers for our denomination,” says McRoy. “I believe this program will help me be more effective in that role.”
McRoy hopes that his Bethany studies will provide opportunities for new creative endeavors and the inspiration to experiment with new genres. Although he is fairly new to the program, he appreciates that faculty members are attuned to students’ interests, and that they truly want to help students reach their own goals.
“Scott Holland and Ben Brazil (of Earlham School of Religion) are very student-centered,” says McRoy. “They will really tailor things to help you achieve.”
McRoy served as a pastoral minister before answering the call to serve his denomination in the publishing sector. At Bethany, he hopes to explore a wide range of writing genres, including creative nonfiction.
As a distance learning student, McRoy has enjoyed engaging with classmates, noting that a course over Zoom can be very intellectually engaging. He notes that in a course he is currently taking, there is usually a lively exchange of ideas in the chat function during class meetings.
“It’s almost like a whole other course,” he says, noting that a classmate created a Google Doc to assemble and preserve the ideas that bounce around during those conversations.
McRoy also appreciates that combination of intensive and semester-long courses, noting that his commitments to his wife, two teenagers, and a full-time job necessitate that he proceed slowly, taking a single course at a time.
“I decided to start with the training wheels,” he jokes. “I am privileged to have some flexibility in my work schedule, so I can take a class at a time without a major reconstruction of everything else in my life. I also think Bethany does a good job of keeping its programs affordable. I am not yet sure where this degree will take me, but I am really enjoying connecting with faculty and students — and being introduced to new ideas.”