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In the News

Speaking on behalf of its membership, ATS periodically provides data and insights to various media sources interested in current trends in theological education. See highlights below:

The Washington Post, March 22, 2019 . . . Princeton Seminary students are asking for reparations for school's role in slavery
ATS Executive Director Frank Yamada comments on an uncommon strategy.

Diverse Issues in Higher Education, September 9, 2018 . . . Theological Schools Face Challenges of Diversity and Relevancy
ATS President Brian Blount (Union Presbyterian Seminary) and Dedrick Blue (Oakwood School of Religion) talk about how theological schools are responding to the challenges.

The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2017 . . . Seminaries Reflect Struggles of Mainline Churches: Storied institutions are shutting their doors as enrollment shrinks
In an article focused on the closing of Episcopal Divinity School, former ATS executive director Daniel Aleshire is quoted as say that these are not the end times for theological higher but rather the "evolution of its mission."

"Faith and Leadership, July 25, 2017 . . . Frank Yamada: In the face of challenges, there is hope for theological education
In an interview with Sally Hicks, Frank Yamada talks about his vision for ATS and why he is hopeful about the future of the church and theological education.

Evansville Courier & Press, June 12, 2017 . . . Butler University eyes expansion with purchase of Christian Theological Seminary campus

Inside Higher Ed, May 27, 2017 . . . Traditional theological schools explore mergers and campus sales amid financial pinches
With data and commentary from ATS, Rick Seltzer describes how mainline Protestant theological schools are exploring mergers and campus sales in response to an enrollment and financial pinch, even as experts see smaller institutions bubbling up under different faiths.

WESA 90.5, May 15, 2017 . . . Seminaries Have Changed A Lot In 30 Years Says Outgoing Theological Schools Director
In an interview with Pittsburgh's NPR affiliate, Daniel Aleshire answers questions about the relevance of theological education in today's world.

Baptist News Global, April 25, 2017 . . . Daniel Aleshire: A steady hand for theological schools
Molly T. Marshall, president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary, shares her thoughts on ATS Executive Director Daniel Aleshire and his devotion to theological education.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 22, 2017 . . . Witness to revolution in religious education retiring as head of Association of Theological Schools

The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 10, 2017 . . . Seminaries feel the crunch of a changing faith
Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia will merge with its counterpart in Gettysburg to form United Lutheran Seminary. As Gettysburg's president, Michael Cooper-White observes, “We have to be more creative as the church. “We need more schools making bold moves to teach our students how to lead through the radical changes and challenges the church is facing.”

Religion News Service, February 3, 2017 . . . McCormick President Frank M. Yamada accepts position as executive director of ATS

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 1, 2017 . . . Association of Theological Schools names Chicago seminary president as executive director

The Presbyterian Outlook, January 31, 2017 . . . McCormick president Frank. M. Yamada accepts position as executive director of ATS

Hyde Park Herald, January 31, 2017 . . . McCormick president moves on to executive director role for ATS

Religion News Service, September 15, 2016 . . . Dallas evangelical seminary requires sex abuse awareness training
ATS executive director Daniel Aleshire comments on how one seminary's graduation requirement is unique . . . and valuable.

Inside Higher Ed, May 27, 2016 . . . Seminaries squeezed
Daniel Aleshire comments in an overview of enrollment declines, seminary mergers, and campus sales juxtaposed with the rise of new immigrant seminaries.

The New York Times, March 19, 2016 . . . Theology schools facing lean times look to one another and the web
Seminaries and divinity schools are in a period of unprecedented experimentation, merging, joining together in interfaith consortiums, and moving online.

Christian Century, January 20, 2016 . . . Daniel Aleshire, ATS president, announces retirement
Daniel O. Aleshire, executive director of The Association of Theological Schools, announced that he will retire before June 30, 2017.

Faith & Leadership, May 5, 2015 . . . Daniel O. Aleshire: Some theological schools and programs are growing
The growth of professional master's degrees and the use of technology to offer education in a variety of ways are changing theological education, according to a new study.

Bezinga, April 30, 2015 . . . United Theological Seminary Ranks among Fastest-Growing Seminaries in North America
United Theological Seminary of Dayton, Ohio, was named one of only 12 schools to have grown by at least 50 percent over the past five years. Seminary president Wendy Deichmann attributes much of the school's recent success to its online education programs.

Christian Today, April 10, 2015 . . . 100 seminaries in the United States and Canada see rise in student numbers
Despite reports about declining church attendance in North America, the number of people training for ministry continues to grow in many schools. Recorder, April 10, 2015. . . Midwestern named among fastest-growing seminaries

Baptist Press, April 9, 2015 . . . Midwestern named among fastest-growing seminaries
Thirty-seven percent of ATS's 273 member institutions have grown over the past five years—with 12 experiencing growth of at least 50 percent. Among these 12 schools is Midwestern Seminary.

Baptist News Global, April 9, 2015 . . . Central Seminary among fastest-growing theology schools
The seminary in Shawnee, Kansas, has grown by nearly 180 percent during the past five years due to new degree programs and delivery systems.

Christianity Today, January 28, 2015 . . . New Innovations in Theological Education: An Interview With Kent Anderson
Northwest Baptist Seminary in Langley, BC, offers an innovative outcomes-based MDiv program approved by the ATS Commission on Accrediting as an experiment.

Huffington Post, January 17, 2015 . . . An Open Letter to Presidents and Deans of Theological Schools in the United States
Thirty-one African American presidents and deans recently wrote an open letter calling for action to promote justice in the face of continued violence nationwide.

Baptist News Global, October 28, 2014 . . . Shifting sands: Seminaries are at a crossroads
A reporter for Baptist News Global captures Daniel Aleshire’s latest thoughts on how shifts in American religious life have theological institutions navigating unfamiliar landscape.

Religion News Service, September 22, 2014 . . . Mental illness rarely addressed by churches
In an article on the lack of attention to issues of mental illness in congregations, Daniel Aleshire cites the number of ATS schools offering degrees in marriage and family counseling.

Religion News Service, September 22, 2014 . . . Tim Keller’s Redeemer Church and Reformed Theological Seminary to launch NYC campus
As plans unfold for a new seminary in New York City, Daniel Aleshire comments on the viability of new schools that cater to particular constituencies.

Chicago Sun-Times, August 30, 2014 . . . Women at work: Female ministers find obstacles on path to pulpit
Women have made greater inroads serving in lesser ministerial roles, with nearly a third of congregations reporting they have clergy women on their staff, but not necessarily serving as the head person.

MarketPlace, August 21, 2014 . . . Teaching Theology . . . For Profit?
For-profit colleges are not exactly known for leafy campuses or lofty philosophical discussions. Most of their marketing focuses on getting a practical degree—like business or medical assisting—in hopes of getting a better job. But one for-profit university based in Savannah, Georgia, is venturing into new territory: offering theology degrees to aspiring clergy members.

The New York Times, August 17, 2014 . . . Despite a Turbulent Work Life, a Minister Doesn’t Question Her Calling
Profound social and economic changes are upending the working lives of many young ministers who feel called to a full-time religious life. Declining attendance has forced some churches to close or shift to part-time pastors, and the economic turbulence of recent years has made some older ministers reluctant to retire, leaving fewer vacancies for young clergy members to fill.

The Christian Century, September 12, 2013 . . . Seminaries expand online options
Changes in the ATS accrediting standards have opened the door for fully online MDivs and professional MAs. A few schools have already stepped in.

Faith & Leadership, August 6, 2013 . . . One God, two questions, and three things the church needs
Daniel Aleshire makes three points for new seminary graduates about ministry in a time that has no name, for a future that is not yet here.

Christianity Today, May 23, 2013 . . . The seminary gender gap
Sharon Miller writes about why we should be concerned that women remain outnumbered in theological education.

The Washington Post, May 20, 2013 . . . Seminary graduates not always ministering from the pulpit 
A growing number of divinity students don't plan to become pastors but instead envision using their degrees to "minister" in a variety of professions.

The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2013 . . . For Second Careers, A Leap of Faith
Growing numbers of people see retirement as a chance to “do good” and are turning to divinity schools and a more spiritual life. Personal accounts and statistics tell the story. (Viewable only by WSJ subscribers.)

Inside Higher Ed, March 29, 2013 . . . The Struggling Seminaries
With declining enrollments, rising costs, and ballooning student debt, seminaries face continued challenges. Inside Higher Ed cites the recent experience at one school as well as the overall trends across all ATS member schools.

The Christian Century, October 31, 2011 . . . US Seminaries consider radical changes
For more than 200 years, Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS) has trained future pastors to have expertise in biblical studies, pastoral care, and preaching. But in today's world, the nation's oldest school of theology has decided that's no longer enough, and other schools are starting to agree.

Inside Higher Ed, October 25, 2011 . . . Pastors and Rabbis and Imams
Eventually, the borders of the 16-acre California campus of Claremont Lincoln University will be marked by the architectural features of the world's religions, with a cross next to a minaret next to a Buddhist pagoda. At the heart of campus, students of all faiths will gather in one space for prayer and meditation.

CTV News British Columbia, July 22, 2011 . . . Students follow a divine calling at midlife
Baby boomers return to school after accomplished careers not only to study ministry but also to find a higher meaning to their lives. Many discover, however, that they are forced to reformulate their views of the world and some struggle with the challenge of unmaking a view of God that had sustained them for many years.

Time, January 31, 2011 . . . Holy Enrollers: Why Boomers are Going to Divinity School
Baby boomers are the fastest-growing demographic at theological schools in the United States and Canada.

Time, August 22, 2010 . . . Training pastors, rabbis, and imams together
When low enrollment and books in the red threatened to close Claremont School of Theology, the school established a "theological university" to train future pastors, imams, and rabbis under one roof.

The New York Times, May 15, 2009 (print May 16) . . . Economy intrudes on a haven of faith
Samuel Freedman examines the challenges faced by graduating seminarians in a shrinking job market.


Eliza Smith Brown
Director of Communications and External Relations