June 2020   

ATS membership approves once-in-a-generation new Standards of Accreditation during online Biennial Meeting
In an unprecedented moment for ATS, a group of about 200 voters convened online June 24 and 25 to attend the Biennial Meeting and approved the new Standards of Accreditation, new policies in the Policies and Procedures, and revised Commission Bylaws. Read more.  
The year of educating and implementing new ATS Standards of Accreditation
. . . this one reflection summarizes so well what the membership approved so resoundingly on June 25 (by a vote of 198 to 1): "The new Standards are focused not on a fearful future but on a preferred future. They speak to what is best about theological education." Read more. 
Redevelopment Task Force has done its work--yours is just beginning 
Prior to making the motion to adopt the new Standards and Policies during the 2020 ATS/COA Biennial Meeting, Sarah Drummond--chair of the Redevelopment Task Force--gave the following address. Read more.  
Leaving campus or sheltering in place? Student housing amid COVID-19
ATS hosted an online conversation with housing coordinators from four different theological schools that provided insight into the issues around campus housing during the crisis and initial thoughts on potential considerations, should a second wave of the pandemic impact campus housing. Read more. 
Tips to develop and implement online new student orientation experience
As ATS member institutions across the US and Canada prepare for the 2020-2021 academic year, many administrators seek creative solutions to offer a
comprehensive and robust new student orientation program while limiting in-person interactions.
Online offerings bring added benefits
I was a dean at a small Catholic seminary for almost 20 years, and I was there when online learning began to surface in ATS schools several decades ago. The intervening years have shown that online learning is much more robust and effective than many of us imagined in those early days. Read more.
Field education and the impact of COVID-19
Transitioning a school's programs to accommodate for learning at a distance was the topic of a June ATS webinar led by Barbara J. Blodgett, Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, and James Barber. There is some guidance for making remote experiences more meaningful. Read more.    
Theological library role changes due to COVID-19
This spring, as the world began to grapple with the global COVID-19 pandemic, theological institutions and by extension theological librarians and libraries started to make a paradigm shift in their delivery systems. Read more. 
Researchers publish article on chaplaincy education 
Leading researchers in spiritual care have published a new article in the Journal of Pastoral Psychology on the state of chaplaincy education and how it might be improved to better match the reality of contemporary religious-spiritual demographics. The open-access article describes the history of chaplaincy programs in theological education, the content of their curricula, the goals of the programs as described by faculty, and the programs' approaches to issues of spiritual and religious diversity. The researchers found substantial growth in chaplaincy-focused programs in theological schools in the last 20 years as well as the lack of standardization across them that one might expect in a rapidly growing field. The article also describes opportunities for collaboration that might strengthen this emerging field and better position it in the changing religious landscape. Read the article.   

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The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) is a membership organization of graduate theological schools. ATS Programs and Services offers educational events and resources to assist member schools with best practices, development of peer networks, production of research, and exploration of data. The Commission on Accrediting of ATS accredits the schools and approves the degree programs.