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ATS Adopts New Accreditation Standards
Online education and reduced residency requirements make training more accessible
Stan Hamm, Seminary dean, and David Johnson, interim president, attended the biennial meeting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), June 19-23, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Through a rigourous peer review process ATS accredits most graduate theological education in North America. Providence Theological Seminary has been accredited by ATS since 1992.
The main focus of the meeting was the revision of the standards of accreditation. The membership voted to adopt new standards to replace the standards which have been in place since 1996. The main changes allow for schools to be more flexible in course delivery. The membership thought these changes necessary given the new technology to deliver courses via the Internet. Because of varied modes of course delivery now available, definitions of residency were also changed. Students are now able to complete two-thirds of their degree program at a distance. Online education and reduced residency requirements will make theological education and ministry training more accessible to a wider range of students.
Dr Hamm and Dr Johnson also attended various workshops in areas such as distance education, student and faculty profiles, strategic planning, and governance in stressful times. There was a plenary panel discussion by members of the three main constituencies of the ATS, Catholic, Mainline Protestant, and Evangelical. There was also time at meals for networking with colleagues from across North America.
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