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Memphis Center for Urban and Theological Studies to merge with Union University

By Updated: April 06, 2019 1:00 AM CT | Published: April 05, 2019 12:22 PM CT
<strong>Lavera Jones listening in a class at the Memphis Center for Urban and Theological Studies (MCUTS) at Union&nbsp;Avenue Baptist Church. MCUTS will merge into Union University in August, and will become&nbsp;Memphis College of Urban and Theological Studies, an academic unit of Union University. The merger will help lower tuition costs for MCUTS' students, provide increased opportunities for scholarships and allow students access to Union University's resources. </strong>(Photo courtesy of MCUTS)

Lavera Jones listening in a class at the Memphis Center for Urban and Theological Studies (MCUTS) at Union Avenue Baptist Church. MCUTS will merge into Union University in August, and will become Memphis College of Urban and Theological Studies, an academic unit of Union University. The merger will help lower tuition costs for MCUTS' students, provide increased opportunities for scholarships and allow students access to Union University's resources. (Photo courtesy of MCUTS)

The Memphis Center for Urban and Theological Studies (MCUTS) will soon merge with Union University to become Memphis College of Urban and Theological Studies, an academic unit of Union University.

The merger will take effect Aug. 1, pending approval by the board of Union’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, at its June meeting, according to a release. 

MCUTS, founded in 2000, currently has 120 students enrolled with 18 full-time faculty and staff, and provides affordable, accessible and accredited theological education and career-oriented degrees for those serving in an urban context to "transform Memphis and the Mid-South for the kingdom of Christ," according to its mission statement. 

<strong>MCUTS' campus, located at Union Avenue Baptist Church, will remain at its location after the merger with Union University.&nbsp;</strong>(Photo courtesy of MCUTS)

MCUTS' campus, located at Union Avenue Baptist Church, will remain at its location after the merger with Union University. (Photo courtesy of MCUTS)

Joe Caldwell, MCUTS president, said in a release that the merger will give MCUTS' students the chance to get a local degree from an institution that is reputable and "better recognized" in Memphis.

“Union brings a known name to the table, so our students have the ability to better project themselves as they are looking for jobs beyond their degree,” Caldwell said in the release.

In addition, Caldwell said the merger will help lower tuition costs for MCUTS’ students and provide increased opportunities for scholarships that were not previously available due to the college being considered an out-of-state institution. 

“That will prevent them from having to take out as many loans, and it will mean they are in less debt on the other side,” Caldwell said. “It will also give our students access to Union’s campus resources, either in Germantown or in Jackson, in a way that they’ve never had.”

<strong>MCUTS currently has 120 students enrolled with&nbsp;18 full-time faculty and staff, and provides affordable, accessible and accredited theological education and career-oriented degrees for those serving in an urban context to "transform Memphis and the Mid-South for the kingdom of Christ." </strong>(Photo courtesy of MCUTS)

MCUTS currently has 120 students enrolled with 18 full-time faculty and staff, and provides affordable, accessible and accredited theological education and career-oriented degrees for those serving in an urban context to "transform Memphis and the Mid-South for the kingdom of Christ." (Photo courtesy of MCUTS)

Union University president, Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver, said in a release the MCUTS merger will add a fourth “stream” to the university that has consisted of three main streams for years: traditional undergraduate, graduate programs and adult degree completion programs.

“What MCUTS has been doing and is doing is really strong and effective,” Oliver said in a release. “They’re coming under the Union umbrella, and we’re expanding our mission to provide Christ-centered education that promotes excellence and character development in service to church and society through this urban emphasis in Memphis.”

Through MCUTS, Union will provide a bachelor of social work in partnership with the School of Social Work; a bachelor of arts in urban theological studies; a bachelor of science in entrepreneurial leadership; a bachelor of science in nonprofit leadership and community transformation; and a bachelor of arts in applied psychology.

MCUTS' campus is located at Union Avenue Baptist Church in Midtown, and will remain at its location after the merger with Union University. 

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Union University
Natalie Martin

Natalie Martin

Natalie Martin is a Memphis native and 2018 graduate of the University of Memphis. She worked at The Daily Helmsman, the U of M's student newspaper, for a year as a reporter and a copy editor and has been published in Memphis Magazine. She is a reporter for The Daily Memphian.


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