The General Theological Seminary, the first seminary founded by The Episcopal Church, will begin implementing hybrid degree programs beginning Fall 2022.
Growing demand for flexible graduate programs and greater online social connectivity presented GTS the opportunity to transition from a residential-only model. Hybrid programs provide the flexibility and cost-efficiency of online educational tools with the spiritual formation available when students come together for prayer, study, and service.
The Rev. Dr. April Stace, Director of Contextual & Competency-Based Learning, believes decentering the classroom and focusing on students and their contexts best supports their development for lay and ordained ministry. “For a long time, seminaries understood formation as something that can only happen in one particular place and in one particular way. That has led to, at times, a tragic disconnect between seminary education and actual, lived ministry. This is a rupture that we can address, in part, by lifting up and centering the diverse contexts of seminary students as meaningful, formational, and, in fact, our conversation partners and guides for teaching the art of ministry.”
Beyond the trend toward distributed learning throughout higher education, GTS is committed to equitable access to theological education. Shifting away from an exclusively residential model is more just for students.
“Even if GTS offered free tuition, housing, and meals – we would still miss many students,” Joshua A. Bruner, Vice President of External Affairs, said. “Too many are called into ministry but often lack the privilege to uproot their lives, jobs, and dependents. Their current context may provide an even more fitting location for their ministry education. Three years disconnected from their communities may or may not reflect the needs of the individual student. Rigidity in one’s life circumstance serves neither the student nor the church.”
Under the guidance of the Very Rev. Michael W. DeLashmutt, Ph.D., Acting Dean and President, the Board of Trustees tasked the faculty with developing a hybrid model that will include:
- Full tuition funded for the first 15 accepted Master of Divinity students for the Fall 2022 school year.
- Student access to synchronous and asynchronous instruction from GTS faculty.
- Week-long intensives three times a year at the Close in Manhattan, beginning August 29, 2022.
- Guidance from a dedicated team of professional and spiritual mentors, ensuring every student’s academic progress and personal well-being.
“Regularly convening students to Chelsea Square honors our Benedictine tradition of welcome,” Dean DeLashmutt said. “Connecting them with New York City’s cultural resources, spiritual diversity, and artistic excellence is an irreplaceable part of the experience. Making General’s faculty, methodology, and campus available to more seminarians enriches the work we all do on behalf of building a loving and inclusive expression of the Reign of Christ.”
Visit gts.edu on December 1 for updated information on General’s shift to hybrid learning and how to apply.
Contact: Joshua Bruner, Vice President, External Affairs & Special Projects
Cell phone: 646-737-2760