Educational innovation tops Board's spring agenda


At the conclusion of an intensive, nine-month visioning process designed to lay the groundwork for long-term financial stability and to anticipate the leadership needs of the global Church, McCormick Theological Seminary is implementing a multi-year plan to strengthen and expand on its model of theological education as Reformed, urban, ecumenical, and cross-cultural.

Gathering for its annual spring meeting, the Board of Trustees approved several proposals from a special working group commissioned last fall to identify opportunities for growth in several key areas of seminary life. The proposals include:

Increased enrollment in the Doctor of Ministry Program
Since first pioneering the Doctor of Ministry degree more than 30 years ago, McCormick’s program has become renowned for its practical, contextual pedagogy. The current program offers three concentrations: Parish Revitalization, Pastoral and Spiritual Care in a Congregational Context, and Building Beloved Community. Recognizing the need to serve an increasingly diversified Church, the program is planning to offer a new area of concentration every third year as well as a series of incentives to increase enrollment.

Further development of specialized leadership certificate programs

The demand for intensive lay leadership training is on the rise and McCormick has responded with the development of two new professional certificates: The Certificate in Executive Leadership and the Certificate in Environmental Ministry and Leadership. The Seminary is working toward offering at least three certificates in a calendar year.

Expand continuing education through congregational partnerships
One of McCormick’s distinctive characteristics is the diversity not only of its campus community, but also its partners in ministry. Within the next three years, the seminary will expand its continuing education offerings to pastors and lay leaders by partnering with at least three high-profile churches in the Chicago area with longstanding connections to the seminary.

Build on the faculty’s aptitude for teaching in multicultural classrooms
Renowned for its model of cross-cultural theological education, McCormick’s faculty is committed to ongoing training in cross-cultural, anti-racist approaches and methods to teaching. In the next three years, the faculty will begin organizing annual consultations on the state of cross-cultural theological education in North American seminaries and will develop an academic journal reporting on the evolution of the subject.

Introduction of online and hybrid courses into McCormick’s curriculum
A significant upgrade to the seminary’s classroom technology is only one way teaching and learning at McCormick are advancing. Within the next three years, courses conducted entirely online as well as hybrid courses – partially online and partially in a traditional classroom setting – will find their way into the seminary’s curriculum, enabling McCormick to serve the needs of an even broader audience called to Christian ministry.

Fundraising for special projects
At the heart of all of McCormick’s development efforts is the desire to partner with individuals and organizations who share a desire to provide world-class, affordable education for those whom God calls to service. To this end, the seminary has committed to raising support within the next three to five years for a number of initiatives designed to: maintain and enhance the quality of the seminary’s faculty and it’s ability to serve multicultural student bodies; to leverage the power of the very best educational technology available; to increase student financial aid and scholarships; and to enhance the seminary’s ability to offer spiritual direction and vocational planning as students complete their course work and seek calls.

“The creativity at the heart of this process gives me great confidence in McCormick’s ability to serve the Church well into the future,” said President Cynthia Campbell. “We’re clearer about our gifts and our growing edges and, with the strong leadership of our Board, we have plans to reinvest our financial and human resources in ways that more effectively fulfill our mission commitments in this 21st century context.”

For more news from McCormick’s recent Board of Trustees meeting, visit .

About McCormick Theological Seminary
An important part of Chicago’s religious life since its move to the city in 1859, McCormick Theological Seminary has a long history of engagement with ecumenical and urban concerns and is renowned for its cultural diversity. In order to prepare women and men for cross-cultural Christian ministry in a variety of settings, the seminary offers several degrees including the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts in Discipleship Development, the Master of Arts in Urban Ministry, the Master of Theological Studies, the Doctor of Ministry, and the ACTS Doctor of Ministry in Preaching.

Founded in 1829, McCormick is one of 12 schools related to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and is an accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and is affiliated with the University of Chicago, the Hyde Park Cluster of Theological Schools and the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS).