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Welch College in Gallatin, Tennessee, has been the official college of the Free Will Baptist Denomination since 1942. To find out more information about the school, visit

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Welch Unveils M.A. in Humanities

The inaugural class of the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Humanities recently began studies at Welch College, according to Welch Provost Dr. Matthew McAffee. The 33-semester-hour graduate degree is designed to prepare college graduates who desire additional education in the humanities. It is especially suitable for those seeking a Ph.D. in one of the humanities fields (e.g., English, history, philosophy, politics, the arts, law, and theology) or to obtain a credential as a community college teacher in the humanities.

Coursework for the interdisciplinary degree will integrate the classical disciplines of the humanities: arts, culture, hermeneutics, history, law, literature, philosophy, and theology. Graduates of the program should be able to demonstrate the following objectives:

  • A sound grasp of the philosophical issues undergirding the disciplines of the humanities

  • Knowledge of the major writings in literature of the great tradition, including a knowledge of the underlying issues present in the interpretation of works more generally

  • Critical analysis of culture and its artifacts

  • Competency in original research

“We’re excited about this new degree program,” McAffee said. “We have a lineup of exceptionally qualified faculty members who will help prepare students for Ph.D. work and teaching in the humanities fields. This kind of preparation is important in our day. The university departments in the humanities are most influential in shaping the ideas that drive our culture. We desire to help produce bright, young Christian thinkers who can affect their culture with a Christian worldview, and this program is carefully designed to do just that.”

McAffee continued, “The program is also great for community college teachers and students interested in the humanities but unsure regarding what career they want to pursue. What’s more, it’s very affordable. We encourage students who might be interested in the program to contact program coordinator Matt Bracey at”

The two primary faculty members for the degree will be Matthew Steven Bracey, who will also serve as coordinator for the degree program, and Tyler Flatt. Other faculty from the humanities areas at Welch will also teach in the program.

Matthew Steven Bracey, a native of Ashland City, Tennessee, has taught at Welch for nine years and serves as vice provost for academic administration and assistant professor of theology and culture. A graduate of Welch College, he holds the M.T.S. degree from Beeson Divinity School and the Juris Doctor degree from Cumberland School of Law of Samford University. He is currently completing a Ph.D. in Christian ethics and public policy with a minor in philosophy at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, writing his dissertation on the moral imagination in the thought of Edmund Burke. He is founding co-editor of the Helwys Society Forum ( and is a prolific writer and editor, having co-edited and contributed to two books, Sexuality, Gender, and the Church (Welch College Press) and The Promise of Arminian Theology: Essays in Honor of F. Leroy Forlines (Randall House Academic). Bracey has written for numerous publications, including ONE Magazine, the Journal of Biblical Higher Education, Christian Academia, and the Evangelical Quarterly. He also serves as managing editor of Welch College Press. In his spare time, he enjoys gardening and coaching Welch’s men’s and women’s cross-country teams. He is married to Sarah, who heads the psychology program at Welch.


Dr. Tyler Flatt will serve as adjunct instructor for the new program, teaching summer courses in great texts of the western tradition. He serves full-time as assistant professor of humanities and co-director of the Augustine Honors Collegium at Boyce College of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Flatt holds a Ph.D. in Classics from Harvard University, having earned a B.A. from the University of Waterloo and the M.A. from University of Toronto. Flatt is dedicated to the conservation and ongoing interpretation of the western intellectual and cultural tradition and enthusiastically supports the current revival of interest in classical education in North America. Flatt’s work has appeared in The Classical Journal, Classical World, The Classical Review, The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, and Vigiliae Christianae. Current projects include an edition and translation of Erasmus’s Annotations on the Gospel of John for the Collected Works of Erasmus (University of Toronto Press). He also hosts Daily Dose of Latin, a video series devoted to short explanations of passages from the Vulgate, the Latin Bible of medieval Europe. He is married to his best friend Liz, and when he is not reading or writing, he likes to fish.

The first course, Great Books: Ancient and Medieval, was taught this summer by Dr. Flatt, consisting of online instruction beginning in early July and a week-long, on-campus intensive the first week of August.

For more information on the M.A. in Humanities at Welch, email program coordinator Matthew Bracey at For general information on Welch, visit



Parrish Named Vice President of Institutional Advancement

Todd Parrish assumed a new role as vice president for institutional advancement July 1, following the retirement of David Williford, according to Welch President Matt Pinson.

Parrish came to Welch in January 2018 as director of church relations and major gifts officer before transitioning to the role of associate vice president for institutional advancement. In his new role, he will engage in the overall administration of fundraising and external relations at Welch, working with Tim Owen, director of the Welch Fund. Williford will continue in a part-time fundraising role.

“Todd Parrish is tailor-made for this position,” Pinson noted. “No one loves Welch more than Todd. He combines a deep knowledge of our alumni base and denomination with a singular penchant for ‘friend raising’ and has distinguished himself as an excellent fundraiser in his five years at Welch. He’s known for his hard work and can-do attitude. I’m so glad to have him in this new role.”

Before coming to Welch in 2018, Parrish served as senior pastor of First FWB Church, Washington, North Carolina. A North Carolina native who ministered in churches in North and South Carolina for 26 years, Parrish has served in a number of denominational roles, including director of the South Carolina FWB Children’s Home, assistant moderator of the North Carolina State Association, and vice president of the Welch College Alumni Association (current).

Parrish was ordained under the ministry of Dr. Malcolm C. Fry. A 1989 Welch graduate in Bible and church music, he engaged in graduate study in music at Middle Tennessee State University and obtained the M.A. in mental health counseling from Webster University in 2010 and the M.A. in theology and ministry from Welch in 2018. He is nearing the completion of a doctorate in educational ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is writing his doctoral thesis on the advancement and fundraising function of Welch College.

Parrish and his wife Merinda, Welch’s clinical coordinator for teacher education, have two married daughters, Emily Vickery (Zach) and Ellen Stox (Kevin), both Welch graduates, and two grandchildren, Lucy and Jack.


©2022 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists