Educating Clergy Grants

2006 Educating Clergy Conferences

Grant Program

In the winter and spring of 2006, the Wabash Center sponsored a series of six conferences to gather representatives from nearly 60 theological schools for several days of presentations and peer-to-peer conversations about the findings of two recently published studies:

The purpose of the conferences was two-fold:

  • To review findings and explore implications from the two studies
  • To develop strategies for strengthening educational programs and faculty teaching practices

The conference developed strategies to strengthening educational programs and faculty teaching practices in the education of clergy, rabbis, and other ministry professionals.

Leadership for each conference was provided by the directors of the two studies:

  • Barbara Wheeler and Sharon Miller, Center for the Study of Theological Education, Auburn Theological Seminary
  • Charles Foster, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Each participating school was eligible for a follow-up grant of $2000 to share and apply learnings from the Auburn and Carnegie research projects on their own campuses in ways that would enhance the preparation of clergy.

Participating Schools

January 19-20, 2006

Aquinas Institute of Theology
Canadian Theological Seminary
Christian Theological Seminary
Columbia Theological Seminary
Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary (ON)
Emmanuel School of Religion
Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico
Franciscan School of Theology
Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
New York Theological Seminary
Northern Baptist Theological Seminary
Oblate School of Theology
Saint Francis Seminary
Saint Meinrad School of Theology
Saint Paul School of Theology
St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary
SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary
Talbot School of Theology of Biola University
University of Dubuque Theological Seminary

February 20-21, 2006

Ashland Theological Seminary
Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Atlantic School of Theology
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Bexley Hall Seminary
Central Baptist Theological Seminary
Ecumenical Theological Seminary
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
Meadville Lombard Theological School
Memphis Theological Seminary
Michigan Theological Seminary
Moravian Theological Seminary
Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary
Oral Roberts University School of Theology
Seabury-Western Theological Seminary
St. John’s Seminary in California
Wesley Biblical Seminary
Western Theological Seminary

February 23-24, 2006

Brite Divinity School
Catholic University of America
Claremont School of Theology
Concordia Seminary (MO)
Dallas Theological Seminary
Drew Theological Seminary
Fuller Theological Seminary
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Graduate Theological Union
Harvard University the Divinity School
Hebrew Union College – NY Jewish Institute of Religion
Iliff School of Theology
Princeton Theological Seminary
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Union Theological Seminary Presbyterian School of Christian Education
University of Chicago Divinity School
University of St. Michael’s College
Vanderbilt University The Divinity School

March 9-10, 2006

Associated Canadian Theological Schools of Trinity Western University
Baptist Theological Seminary of Richmond
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
Concordia Theological Seminary (IN)
Denver Seminary
Eastern Mennonite Seminary
George Fox Evangelical Seminary
Hartford Seminary
Knox College
Lancaster Theological Seminary
Lexington Theological Seminary
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
McCormick Theological Seminary
North Park Theological Seminary
Providence College and Seminary
Seminary of the Immaculate Conception
St. Andrew’s College
St. Patrick’s Seminary
United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
Wesley Theological Seminary

March 13-14, 2006

Acadia Divinity College
Andover Newton Theological School
Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
Bethany Theological Seminary
Bethel Seminary of the East
Bethel Seminary San Diego
Bethel Theological Seminary
Campbell University Divinity School
Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary
Chapman School of Religious Studies Oakland City University
Concordia Lutheran Seminary (AB)
Erskine Theological Seminary
Evangelical School of Theology
Heritage Theological Seminary
Huron University College Theological School
Interdenominational Theological Center
Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia
Queen’s Theological College
Regis College
Sacred Heart Major Seminary
Trinity Lutheran Seminary
Vancouver School of Theology
Wartburg Theological Seminary

March 27-28, 2006

Anderson University School of Theology
Boston University School of Theology
Capital Bible Seminary
Huron University College Faculty of Theology
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
Logsdon Seminary of logsdon School of Theology of Hardin-Simmons University
McMaster Divinity College
Methodist Theological School in Ohio
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Regent University School of Divinity
Sacred Heart School of Theology
Tyndale University College and Seminary
Union Theological Seminary, NY
University of St. Mary of The Lake, Mundelein Seminary
Yale Divinity School
Yeshivat Chovevi Torah Rabbinical School

More about the Educating Clergy Study

Sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Scope of the study: This study is one phase of comprehensive project comparing legal, engineering, medical, nursing, and clergy education called Preparation for the Professions. Eighteen theological schools identified as being engaged in a lively conversation about teaching and learning and covering a wide spectrum of Jewish and Christian traditions participated in the study.

Goal of the study: to understand, broadly, how Jewish and Christian seminary education fosters the development of a pastoral, priestly, or rabbinic imagination that has the capacity to integrate professional knowledge and skills with moral integrity and religious commitment. Focus of the study: to identify and describe individual and collective pedagogical practices of faculty members and schools and their role in fostering a pastoral, priestly, or rabbinic imagination for clergy practice.

Description of the study: Research elements included an extensive literature review of all traditions of theological education; a web based survey of eight faculty members, eight graduating seniors and eight alumni/ae with five or six years of clergy experience from each of the eighteen schools, participation in the survey of half of all faculty members in U.S. and Canadian theological schools conducted by the Center for the Study of Theological Education; and three day site visits in ten of the eighteen schools. These visits included with interviews, classroom and program observations, and focus groups of students, faculty, and administrators.

More about the Signs of the Times study

Signs of the Times: Present and Future Theological Faculty, Barbara Wheeler, Sharon Miller. and Katarina Schuth (Auburn Studies no. 10, Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education, 2005)

Sponsor: Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education
Research Team:
Barbara Wheeler, Sharon Miller

Description of the study:
This research on faculty teaching in Protestant, Catholic and Jewish theological institutions, and the doctoral students who will be the theological faculty of the future, revisits topics first studied ten years ago by the Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education.

The study consisted of three parts:

  1. analysis of the faculty database collected by the Association of Theological Schools (N=3,835 full-time faculty in 227 institutions);
  2. analysis of a survey sent to a random sample of faculty drawn from the above database (N=876); and
  3. analysis of data collected from religion and theology doctoral students who are enrolled in the top twenty-five institutions that supply theological faculty to North American institutions (N=332).

The findings of the present study, compared with those of Auburn’s earlier research, suggest that theological education is, on the whole, a stable enterprise. On many items and indicators, theological faculty and doctoral students today look and sound very much like those surveyed ten years ago. In some other areas there are slight but steady changes over the decade that may indicate new trends, and a few dramatic changes that invite analysis and interpretation. This research also addresses a new topic—theological faculty members’ teaching practices and attitudes toward teaching. The previous reports on theological faculty, “True and False,” and “Tending Talents,” as well as all back issues of Auburn Studies may be found on the Center’s website:

Conference Resources

Conference Schedule

Session I. – Introduction and Research Overview

Questions for Discussion:

  • When did you decide to teach in a seminary setting?
  • What assumptions about teaching and yourself as a teacher did you bring from your graduate school education?
  • To what extent and in what ways does your first teaching assignment continue to influence what and how you teach?
  • How did the seminary tradition of the school in which you were teaching influence your expectations of what and how you teach?
  • How did the school in which you were teaching support your teaching and cultivate your effectiveness as a teacher?
  • Summarize insights about influences on your teaching.

Session II. – From the Beginning: Sources and Formation of Theological and Rabbinical Faculties

Session III. – Teaching Cultures

Session IV. – Learning Cultures

Session V. – Effectiveness: Is Clergy Education Good Enough?

Paul Myhre
Associate Director, Wabash Center


Wabash Center