Curricular Research and Development Program Basic Issues in Theological Education

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Wed, 07/01/1981
End Date: 
Sun, 01/01/1984

Recognizing in 1981 that the task of improving theological schools required rethinking and recreating the theological course of studies offered at most seminaries, the Association of Theological Schools addressed basic issues in curriculum design in an ambitious, two-stage plan over three years. The project responded to pressures on seminaries to provide instruction to laity as well as clergy and continuing education for veteran ministers (as well as students just out of college). Adding courses was no longer an option for financially strapped schools. The situation required a more innovative approach. In the first phase of this program, ATS selected 26 research groups, each of which spent one or two years in intensive study of a fundamental issue that figured in the curriculum debate of the 1980s. Problems investigated included such questions as: What new forms of ministry will emerge in the new century, and how can students be prepared for these tasks? In an era of fiscal constraint and expanding student expectations, which theological disciplines are essential? What kinds of instruction can be offered more efficiently by colleges and universities? The findings of these "issue research" teams were then shared in ATS publications and in a series of regional and national gatherings. The second phase of the project encouraged at least fifty schools to follow up on the implications of the work of the Issue Research teams for the future renovation of the instructional programs at their respective institutions. The ATS made fifty Curriculum Development grants in 1983 and 1984. (KA)