Advent Calendar Day 15: Virginia Theological Seminary

Virginia Theological Seminary

We have a strong connection to Virginia Theological Seminary. Our bishop, James R. Mathes, our rector, Lane, and our two associates, Troy and Brian, are graduates of VTS. Our seminarian, Shivaun Wilkinson, is completing her second year of studies at VTS. ~dan rondeau

Mission Statement

I. To form men and women for lay and ordained leadership within community, with particular attention to raising leaders for the Episcopal Church.

II. To provide continuing theological education for all people (clergy and laity of all denominations).

III. To serve the Anglican Communion and the wider Church.

IV. To provide an ecumenical, international, and cross-cultural context for theological education.

V. To be an outstanding theological resource.

VI. To be a racially and ethnically diverse community in living out our mission.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees May 2008

For the rest of the story: Virginia Theological Seminary

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For further reflection

Under construction: Master of Arts Program

The world is changing rapidly, driven significantly by the intersecting forces of politics, economics, demographics, religion and, of course, technology. Globalization, driven by appetites for freer, faster, and cheaper goods and services, is changing life in every sector. The metrics of excellence in all areas of higher education are being tested and, at times reluctantly, redefined. Theological education is not exempt from this redefinition. VTS is actively responding to a demand for quality, affordable theological education that does not require full-time residency.

The newly accredited M.A. program that has replaced the former M.T.S. (Masters in Theological Studies) and M.A.C.E. (Masters in Christian Education) degrees offers increased flexibility and depth of study in preparation for innovative, transformational Christian leadership. The degree design, especially the summative project, prepares students to continue a rigorous academic path, perhaps toward doctoral work, or to apply new learning to current and future ministry. The program combines the strengths of residential formation with the flexibility of contemporary technologies. Working with a faculty advisor, students design a program plan with an identified area of concentration to meet their learning goals and life situation. They can enroll full or part-time and register for courses delivered in a traditional classroom format, during intensive residencies in January and Summer terms, or in a hybrid manner, which is a combination of face-to-face and online instruction. The M.A. program makes use of creative instructional technologies such as the seminary’s new Jenzabar course management platform, video conferencing, and electronic portfolios.

While the structure of the M.A. degree is an important and exciting step for VTS, it is just the beginning of the Seminary’s innovative use of educational technology. Advances in web technology have introduced user-centered capacities that have forever changed teaching and learning. What is commonly referred to as the Web 2.0 has introduced features and functionality that stimulate the creation and consumption of information through collaborative platforms. Today, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are ordinary tools of daily living. Virtual communities exist in every domain of human interest, and digital video technologies keep families and friends connected across the globe. Ideas and conversations fill blogs and wikis. Video, music, and photo file sharing is considered a standard of practice in most American households. Being a healthy seminary today means interacting confidently with all of these technologies and having a vital presence on the global Web.

Beyond degree programs, people are living longer and more interested in lifelong continuing education than ever before. With access to the Web anyone can study anything 24/7. It is possible to construct a rigorous curriculum on any subject, using open-source or free Web resources such as university courses, e-books and journals from premier libraries and research institutions, educational programming from international museums, video presentations by world leaders, scholars and artists, and of course, virtual tours! With the expertise of the VTS faculty and staff, the depth of our library collection, and the vision of its board VTS is positioned to facilitate extraordinarily rich opportunities for online biblical and theological learning.

I look forward to participating in the ongoing discernment and innovation that is required to ensure VTS remains a trusted leader in an increasingly creative and competitive climate of global theological education. We welcome your ideas. How can VTS best support local congregations and dioceses/judicatories in the preparation of lay and ordained leaders for Christian mission? How can we partner with you to serve God more faithfully and more effectively? Tell us. We’re listening!

Lisa Kimball, Ph.D.
Chair, M.A. Committee,
Director, Center for the Ministry of
Teaching, and Professor of Christian
Formation & Congregational Leadership

This article appeared in the Virginia Theological Seminary Journal, Fall 2011. Lisa Kimball was the featured speaker at the San Diego Clergy Conference this year at the invitation of Bishop Mathes (Oct 2011).

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (from the Diocese of San Diego; "Retired" due to illness).

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