An Update on The Faces of United Lutheran Seminary

United Lutheran Seminary will begin with a 19-member faculty that embodies the depth, diversity, and breadth of teaching experience of a leading edge theological school.

Even as final offers from the board and acceptance by those offered positions were pending, the professors who will constitute the initial United Lutheran faculty have been working together shaping the new highly integrative curriculum for launch this summer. Following authorization by the new Board of Trustees in January, contract offers were extended and faculty members had a 30-day period in which to respond. Some current LTSP and LTSG faculty members will retire this summer, and Dr. Nelson Rivera has accepted a theology position at the Moravian Seminary in Bethlehem, PA. The Rev. Dr. Jayakiran Sebastian and the Rev. Dr. Kristin Largen will continue in the role of co-deans through the end of the calendar year, and selection of a permanent dean will involve faculty, the board and new president.

Those who will constitute the first faculty of United Lutheran in full- or part-time positions are:

Richard Carlson, Biblical Studies and Director of Contextual Formation
Wayne Croft, Homiletics and Liturgics in African American Studies
Katie Day, Church in Society
Maria Erling, Modern Church History and Global Missions
Vince Evener, Luther and Reformation Studies
John Hoffmeyer, Systematic Theology
Michael Krentz, Dean of the Chapel (Philadelphia Campus)
Kristin Johnston Largen, Systematic Theology
Charles Leonard, Practical Theology and Director of Field Education
Mark Oldenburg, Worship and Dean of the Chapel (Gettysburg Campus)
Jon Pahl, History of Christianity
J. Paul Rajeshekar, Systematic Theology
Quintin Robertson, African American Studies and Director of Urban Theological Institute
Brooks Schramm, Biblical Studies
Jayakiran Sebastian, Mission and Cultures
Storm Swain, Pastoral Care and Theology and Director of Anglican Studies
Mark Vitalis Hoffman, Biblical Studies
Gilson Waldkoenig, Church in Society and Director of Town & Country Church Institute
Karyn Wiseman, Homiletics

Presidents David Lose (Philadelphia) and Michael Cooper-White (Gettysburg) spoke of the faculty appointed to further shape and launch United Lutheran Seminary, which now has received final authorization from the accrediting agencies and Pennsylvania Department of Education. The two presidents, who will conclude service in June, stated: “This will be a premier cadre of scholar-teachers who bring to bear the rich legacies of two outstanding Lutheran institutions of theological education. The ULS faculty will be marked by diversity and depth, passion for their scholarly disciplines combined with a deep commitment to the formation of churchly leaders. In addition to mentoring students, they will be a great resource to the church, both in the sponsoring Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and in expanding ecumenical circles as well.”

Curriculum that is Integrative, Experiential, and Empowering
This faculty has given shape to a new curriculum that goes beyond a tweaking of the predecessor schools. United Lutheran Seminary will offer both degree and certificate study in expanding modes and locations, including residential, online and a variety of different hybrid courses. Degrees authorized by accreditors and the PA Department of Education include: Master of Divinity (MDiv), Master of Arts in Ministerial Leadership (MAML), Master of Arts (MA) (which will include a specialization in Public Leadership), Master of Sacred Theology (STM), and Doctor of Ministry (DMin). Certificate programs in Church Leadership and Christian Ministry through the Urban Theological Institute will continue as will the Youth Ministry Certification  School and the Certificate in Theological Studies.” The Seminary plans a robust Lifelong Learning program on both campuses. All current students, including PhD program students, will be supported through the completion of their degrees.

With United Lutheran Seminary’s path-breaking approach to theological education, students will be challenged to integrate, embody and demonstrate the capacities required for ministry.  The curriculum is designed to be integrative, experiential, and empowering, in order to form leaders who can step boldly into the current realities of ministry today, and who will be dynamic leaders for the church’s future.

Theological education is a holistic endeavor that includes not only classroom study, but also a variety of field education settings, connecting  the conceptual with the experiential, the science with the art of ministry. This innovative curriculum is designed to help students acquire and perfect skills they need for ministry. United Lutheran envisions preparing graduates in such a way that they can immediately step into a ministry setting with confidence that they can lead and inspire others. Watch for more detail about the exciting new approach to the ULS learning environment.

Presidential Search & Staff Organization
The fall launch of a presidential search also proceeds on schedule. Chair of the presidential search committee, the Rev. Charles Miller, reports that finalists have been selected from a strong field of candidates and are being interviewed. He remains optimistic that the committee will be able to recommend a candidate for election by the Board of Trustees at its April 20-21 meeting. If all proceeds as hoped, inauguration of the new president is scheduled for November 2nd.

The staff hiring also proceeds apace, with a number of key administrative staff positions now filled by current employees from both schools. Staff has been selected in admissions, advancement, academic and student services, communications and technology and other areas, with more interviews scheduled. An open search is underway for the Director of the Library (combining Krauth and Wentz libraries), who is expected to be named later this spring.