In 2012 the Wabash Center gathered representatives from 7 schools to discuss the grant projects each of these schools has undertaken through Wabash funding. The cohort group was led through a process to refine the design, implementation, and assessment of their grant projects.
Each of these 7 projects shared a common focus: to explore the process of teaching ministry formation in contexts outside of the classroom.
Their task was to address pedagogical strategies enabled by these non-classroom contexts with each school's understanding of ministry formation and the well-formed minister.
Meeting Dates: May 15-17, 2012
Sarah Drummond, Academic Dean - Andover Newton Theological School
Nadine Pence, Director - Wabash Center
Paul Myhre, Associate Director - Wabash Center
Thomas Pearson, Associate Director - Wabash Center
Aquinas Institute of Theology (Project Director: Marian Love)
"Lay Ministry Formation for Hybrid Pedagogy: Building a Quality Formation Opportunity for Students at a Distance""
We wish to develop a formation program for an increasing number of non-cohort students in the Masters in Pastoral Studies who live at a distance and take courses according to a hybrid formula of online work in combination with mid-course intensive face-to-face seminars. Our priorities include 1) consistent and frequent experience of community, 2) affirmation and critical feedback with prayer and discussion, and 3) formative experiences that will be meaningful to individual online students while being expressive of community. Working with the American Bishops’ document on formation for lay ecclesial ministry, Co-Workers in the Vineyard, we will ensure that all four areas of formation—spiritual, human, intellectual, and pastoral—are addressed. We seek to gather information about best practices, engage a knowledgeable dialogue partner with whom our Director of Lay Spiritual Formation can develop the formation activities, and launch a pilot program in academic years 2013–2014 and 2014–2015.
Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (Project Director: Caleb Oladipo)
"A Leap of Faith: Transforming Seminary Cultural Immersion Programs to New Heights of Pedagogy"
Learning Abstract: The Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond hosted the first workshop for five MIE coordinators in the last week of September 2012. The coordinators came from five countries to Richmond for training and workshop sessions. It was the first time the seminary had offered such a workshop to foster conversations about transformative pedagogies in cross-cultural settings.
The interaction between the coordinators and students was mutually beneficial as students anticipated their future MIE, and as coordinators became more connected with BTSR intellectual and pedagogical culture. The events strengthened the coordinators' commitments to BTSR and its students. It also became clear that the MIE will continue to feature prominently in the seminary's intellectual life and propel its curricular to new heights of pedagogy.
We learned that preparation for Christian calling requires a more comprehensive pedagogical approach that will involve not just the students, but also faculty, staff, administration and the MIE coordinators overseas. The Wabash grant strengthened our MIE program by helping our coordinators abroad to see beyond receiving American ministerial students; they now see our seminary students as partners in global Christian ministry.
Bethany Theological Seminary (Project Director: Tara Hornbacker)
"Exploring Incarnational Ministry Formation through Contextual Pedagogy"
Learning Abstract: Our research indicates that skills in relationships, technology, and multicultural awareness are most important to current and proposed ministry settings in the formation of ministers in the 21st century. With the interviews being couched in terms of what is different from past education for ministry, most people in our interviews assumed competency in biblical studies, preaching, teaching, etc., and did not name them in their responses. Assessment for skills in relationship was embedded in the evaluation process for Bethany Theological Seminary's Ministry Formation and modeled in the teaching methods for learning in community. The curriculum structure and pedagogical strategies will need to be continually assessed to assure that we are teaching toward and assessing for these competencies in our offerings throughout the educational process and across the academic disciplines.
Hebrew College/Andover Newton Theological School (Project Directors: Or Rose and Jennifer Peace)
"Religious Leadership Formation in an Inter-Religious Context"
Learning Abstract: Through our grant, we learned that there is genuine interest among the vast majority of the faculty at our schools in advancing the interreligious educational work we have been developing over the last decade. Our colleagues are committed to helping train future religious leaders to serve effectively in a multi-religious society. In an effort to deepen and refine this sacred work, we will continue to explore productive ways for our faculties to work collaboratively, further developing their interreligious pedagogic craft and serving as models and guides for our students. In invoking the classical Jewish model of havruta (peer) learning in this context, our colleagues and we seek to foster intentional and respectful relationships that allow for open discussion of commonalities and differences across religious and institutional lines. We are excited that a new group of faculty havrutot will be team-teaching courses over the next three years as we continue to hone our collective vision for interreligious education and leadership formation.
Iliff School of Theology (Project Directors: Katherine Turpin and Deborah Creamer)
"Born Digital: Negotiating Formation in the Hybrid/Online Classroom"
Learning Abstract: Faculty members from the Iliff School of Theology gathered in retreat format to explore the unique capacities of the digital environment to support intellectual and professional formation of ministry students with divergent religious and cultural backgrounds, vocational goals, and institutional locations. By engaging in internal faculty collaboration and experimentation over a year concerning hybrid/online pedagogical strategies, participants began to identify unique solutions to the negotiations of student formation in such a rapidly changing context. By addressing faculty fears about student commitment and engagement, by identifying ways to have more spontaneous and complex forms of interaction between students and course content, and by increasing links between the online classroom and the external world, faculty began to shift from translation of residential pedagogical thinking to transformed pedagogy germane to the capacities of the online environment.
Jewish Theological Seminary of America (Project Directors: Mychal Springer and Ute Steyer)
Wake Forest University School of Divinity (Project Director: John Senior)
"Ministry Formation in Jewishly-Grounded, Seminary-Based Clinical Pastoral Education"
Learning Abstract: As a result of this grant, we gained valuable insight about the impact of clinical pastoral education (CPE) on ministry formation, and ideas about how these insights can be adapted to advance ministry formation for Jewish students more broadly. The results of this study will help enhance Jewish CPE programs and other elements of clergy training at JTS and begin to fill a void in the field of ministry formation, where research specific to a Jewish context is lacking.
"Partners in Ministerial Formation: Shifting the Pedagogical Center"
This project proposes a new model for creating cooperative pedagogical spaces for ministry formation. Wake Forest University School of Divinity will convene a year-long seminar in 2012-13 for ministry leaders and theological educators to develop cooperative pedagogies of ministerial formation, which will be implemented in newly designed courses to be offered in the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years. These courses will shift the conventional center of theological education pedagogies from the classroom to the ministry site, positioning faculty and clergy as partners in ministerial formation.
Nadine S. Pence
Director, Wabash Center