Karen Walker Freeburg
Dean of Academic Programs, Associate Professor of Ministry and Christian Spirituality
D. Min. Northern Baptist Seminary
M. Div. Northern Baptist Seminary
B. A. University of Puget Sound
Born in Evanston, IL, Dr. Karen Walker Freeburg was raised in an American Baptist family and a multi-cultural congregation in a Chicago, North Shore Baptist Church. The pastor who baptized her, Dr. William Meyers, would later become President of Northern Seminary. By the age of 16, Dr. Walker Freeburg knew she had received a calling from God to serve Him in ministry. Upon graduation from the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, Dr. Walker Freeburg served as an admissions officer for several universities and had become President of the Association of Chicago Area Colleges and Universities. She married her best friend from church, Keith Freeburg, and they have been blessed with three wonderful children.
As many seminary students understand from their own personal experience, it took Dr. Walker Freeburg approximately ten years to respond to God’s calling by attending seminary. During a church revival meeting in 1985, a member of the Northern Seminary community came to her church as a guest speaker. He preached about God’s calling to vocational ministry. That ‘jogged’ her memory and commitment to obedience and within weeks she was enrolled in graduate studies.
Upon graduation from Northern with a Master of Divinity, Dr. Karen Walker Freeburg was brought to the seminary in 1995 to lead the Admissions Office ministry. She became both Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. Her home church, Marley Community Church, Mokena, IL ordained her to Christian ministry in 1996. Under her leadership, the seminary developed a streamlined marketing program and developed the Presidential Scholar program which met the institutional goal for increasing the number of recent college graduates attending seminary. In support of the program, the development and admissions offices developed a proposal to the Lilly Foundation requesting 1.25 million dollars to support this initiative. The seminary was truly blessed by receiving this coveted grant funding.
During her tenure Northern significantly grew through the enrollment of a student population which more greatly reflected the growing diversity of the evangelical community in metropolitan Chicago. It was with much prayer Dr. Walker Freeburg decided to pursue post graduate studies and serve God through the development of a spiritual formation model which might lead to greater professional and spiritual growth among seminary students. In 2002, the seminary invited Dr. Walker Freeburg to join the faculty as Assistant Professor of Ministry and Spirituality and to become the Director of Supervised Ministry.
In the past four years, Dr. Walker Freeburg has: Developed an assessment program which accurately assesses our incoming student’s readiness for ministry; Recruited and trained a team of qualified regional pastors to serve as Formation for Christian Ministry professors - pastors whose diversity reflects the student body; Firmly established the seminary’s commitment to the Baptist church by proposing and leading the development of the Baptist Studies Emphasis of Northern’s M. Div; Established the seminary’s leadership in the integration of spiritual formation
- Spiritual formation
- Christian vocational counseling
- Christian perspectives of human sexuality
- Baptist polity
- Myers Briggs Personality inventory trainer and church conflict negotiator
- Church-state separation issues for parents: What can your children say and do in school?
- Writing devotional books for women in ministry