A seminary occupies a distinct and faithful position that is rooted in both the church and higher education.
You can see the strength of both sides of this heritage in the collaboration between our faculty and the Board of Directors. In the 2022–25 strategic plan, the Board charged the faculty to assess, adapt, and strengthen the curricula in service of our degree-seeking students and the communities they serve. Following a unanimous faculty vote in December, the Board approved a set of changes to the M.Div. curriculum in support of this goal earlier this month.
Starting this fall, our M.Div. degree will require 25 courses instead of the current 30. This change will align the curriculum with the requirements of our accrediting body and many of our peer institutions. Students will take eight courses each in the leadership division, church history/systematic theology division, and Bible division, as well as one team-taught interdisciplinary core elective. More intentional course sequencing will support students’ learning outcomes while maintaining the bedrock academic and theological rigor of the curriculum.
Outside of the classroom, students will continue to pursue contextual learning experiences, but internships and clinical pastoral education will be completed as denominational requirements, not credit-bearing courses. Formalizing a pattern that emerged in recent years, most students will either engage in concurrent internships while taking classes or complete an internship immediately prior to graduation.
These changes are the result of extensive assessment data, insights from our accelerated MDivX pilot program, and deep listening to the church’s leaders about what their communities need from the seminary going forward. But they don’t exist in a vacuum: All across our community, we are working to lower barriers for those who are called to Christian leadership and to build new structures of support for those already in ministry.
Together with the Jubilee Scholarship and our growing Faith+Lead platform, this curricular refresh moves us toward a new vision of accessible, affordable seminary education for a changing world.
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) We do indeed look to the future with hope, giving thanks for the steadfast presence of the Holy Spirit during times of discernment and change. I pray that the same deep sense of hope and trust in God’s promises anchors you throughout this holy season of Lent.
Grace and peace,
Robin J. Steinke, President