Whether it’s teaching Christian ministry courses at New York Theological Seminary, creating children's creative movement dance curriculum, preaching on Sundays at her local church, or in her full-time position as the sales promotion and marketing producer for Fox 5 in New York, Talbot alumna Malachy Williams (Ph.D. ’17) didn’t want to stop her very full life to pursue doctoral studies.
“I really was persuaded [to attend Talbot] after reading a Christian education textbook whose contributors were all from Talbot, and then after learning about the cohort model,” says Williams.
Talbot’s staff told Williams, “If you are already teaching, there’s no sense quitting your job to do studies — we’ll work with you.” Talbot offers two doctoral programs in a hybrid format, combining distance learning and residential coursework. This makes it possible for students to continue ministering with their current organizations while completing their Ph.D.
New student cohorts begin every year in the fall. Students work through the core courses together, with some elective options to fit their study interests.
“What I gained from the program is a group of great friends,” Williams said. “Part of the academic experience is building a community with people to call friend and brothers and sisters in Christ. We struggled together. It was a struggle to do the coursework, maintain my work schedule, go back and forth [from New York to Biola for the summer residency], to do life and do school, but that’s everyone’s schedule. And we were in it with a wonderful group of faculty.”
She realized she wanted to develop coursework for people to pursue ministry. As a professional writer and producer with an interest in children’s education programming and as an assistant pastor, ministry leadership and teaching are her competencies. So whether it’s in academia, pop culture or in the local church, Williams is using her gifts to the fullest.
“Everything is about story and messaging for me,” explains Williams. “To be a television producer, you have to tell a story. A preacher uses story to give a good sermon. As a dancer/choreographer, one uses movement, timing, ow, to tell a story. And to draw in students, a good professor has to have a good story. So story is key.”
After seven years in Talbot’s Ph.D. program in Christian education, Williams graduated in December 2017. “I see that God sent me [to Talbot] and walked me through the whole thing. It has been God keeping me through the process — with great ideas coming out of it.”