The Future is Central – Major Initiatives Announced
For 122 years, Central Seminary has been an adaptive, responsive theological institution. We anticipate what is most needed by our students and address emerging congregational and societal changes with imagination, creativity, and hope. More than 30 years ago, Central launched a Long Distance Learning program that provided class lectures on VHS tapes, which were mailed to students. As technology changed, the seminary began offering asynchronous online education, with students accessing class information, completing assignments, and engaging in discussion boards on their own time schedule. In 2011, Central started a Korean language program and over time added 7 new learning sites for students in that program. Four years later, the seminary moved to synchronous online learning, with students logging in via Zoom to participate in live instruction and class discussions. In 2016, Central became one of the first seminaries in the United States to offer a fully accredited online Master of Divinity program. When the global pandemic forced schools to move to online educational delivery in 2020, Central was well positioned to continue resourcing our students almost without interruption.
Central’s virtual educational delivery has opened opportunities for the seminary to provide theological training for students living across the United States and around the world and to create beautifully diverse cross-cultural learning communities. For decades now, Central has chosen to take theological education to our students instead of expecting students to come to us. That decision has made all the difference.
In 2023, Central leadership is again seeking the best way forward for the seminary’s future. The Board of Directors has charged President Pamela R. Durso, the administration, and the faculty with the responsibility of leading the seminary into its next season of providing Christ-centered, mission-focused theological education.
In response to that charge, we are pleased to announce, “The Future is Central,” three strategic initiatives designed to lead us into the future, continuing the seminary’s commitment to delivering excellent theological education while also addressing the shifting ministry needs of our world. These initiatives will allow Central to remain laser-focused on our mission of preparing leaders for seeking God, shaping the church, and serving humanity and all creation. The courageous implementation of these initiatives will ensure that our seminary will continue to serve the church and the world for many decades to come.
INITIATIVE #1 – Embracing and Enhancing Virtual Learning as the Future of Theological Education at Central and Beyond
INITIATIVE #2 – Anticipating and Addressing the Evolving Needs of Students and Graduates
INITIATIVE #3 – Resourcing Students who Struggle to Afford Seminary