Dr. David M. Mellott will direct a $275,000 national project exploring the future of theological education. Funded by a grant from The Henry Luce Foundation, the three-year project will bring together innovative leaders and researchers in theological education to share research, discuss teaching methods and program designs, and explore factors that shape future theological work.
“This project is a groundbreaking, collaborative approach that will give us a broad view of what’s working and help us better understand how to adapt theological education to address the needs of a changing world,” said Mellott, Lancaster Theological Seminary Dean and VP for Academic Affairs. “We need sophisticated, mature religious leaders who can engage the social, political, economic, and spiritual needs of the world in the 21st century. It’s clear that we can no longer sustain educational models from prior centuries.”
Twice a year for three years, from June 2017 to June 2020, experts and invited guests will meet for two-day consultations in major U.S. cities. Co-facilitating the meetings with Mellott will be Dr. Deborah Flemister Mullen, Columbia Theological Seminary VP for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and Associate Professor of American Christianity and Black Church Studies.
"There is no lack of responsiveness to the changing nature of theological education," Mullen said. "What has been missing is a central place for those engaged in gathering and analyzing data to meet together and share their findings in order to better inform the future shape and form of theological education in North America. These consultations will fill that void.”
The project also funds a compilation of theological education innovations in schools accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, non-accredited schools and programs, and a review of how theological education programs engage diversities and oppressions.