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New chapter for the Doctor of Ministry degree at LPTS

by Louisville Seminary | Nov 16, 2011
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will begin a new chapter in its Doctor of Ministry degree program.

“The Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree program has been a nationally respected part of theological education at Louisville Seminary for a very long time. Over 40 years, the program has consistently offered an excellent opportunity for pastors and church leaders to participate in continuing education leading to a degree that is grounded in practical theological reflection,” said Seminary Dean David C. Hester.

Hester said that the curriculum has undergone several revisions as the Seminary and faculty have worked to strengthen the program to better serve students and Christian ministry practice, to remain relevant to the needs of the church, and to respond to accreditation standards by the Association of Theological Schools.

“In these efforts we have been fortunate to have the leadership of able administrators and teachers,” said Hester, among them, most recently, Dr. David Sawyer, whose contract with the Seminary concludes at the end of January 2012. As Director of Lifelong Learning and Advanced Degrees, Sawyer has managed the DMin program since 2002, offering his experiences as pastor, educator, and administrator to practicing ministers who have desired to strengthen their vocational skills or renew a sense of vocational call.

Among several initiatives, the DMin program recently added a concentration in Black Church Studies to its other offerings, including a focus on intentional interim ministry and pastoral care and counseling, one of the more popular tracks among a nationally representative pool of applicants.

“Our future plans include finding new ways of providing for focused work on interfaith, global, and ecumenical church topics as well,” said Hester, adding that such a focus is a major component of the Seminary’s recently announced new strategic plan.

“As we begin a new chapter in the continuing DMin degree program, David leaves with our thanks for a job well done,” said Hester in a letter to current DMin students. “In keeping with good institutional practices and the expectations of our accrediting bodies, the Seminary intends in the near future to undergo a thorough and careful process of evaluating the effectiveness of the school’s program,” he said.

During this time, the program will be under the leadership and administration of an acting director to be named soon.

Louisville Seminary’s DMin program is offered to men and women who have at least three years of post-Master of Divinity degree experience. The current curriculum utilizes peer learning groups that gather for one- to two-week-long seminars over two years, which are led by a faculty member and rotating pastors and professionals who are active in relevant fields. A final project demonstrating practical theological reflection in ministry is required for the degree. Only 15 students are admitted per class, and four tracks are offered – advanced practice of ministry, pastoral care and counseling, a concentration in black church studies, and intentional interim ministry. Several years ago, in an effort to reduce the cost of the advanced degree, tuition for the degree program was converted to a flat fee, which can be paid in installments.

“During this period of transition, current and new students can be assured of the program’s stability and the Seminary’s support for the new direction that is ahead,” said Hester. “As the Seminary embarks upon its new strategic vision, this is an exciting time to consider new possibilities for strengthening the church’s leadership to meet the complex needs of today and for imagining the still unknown shape of the church in the future.”

Visit the Seminary’s website for more information about the Doctor of Ministry degree and application process.

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