When I first started working for Central Seminary, I was asked to develop strategic priorities for the 2017-2018 year. After numerous conversations, strategic thinking, an analysis of the program, and input from various people, I formulated three strategic priorities to help transform the program. Here transformation signifies improvements coupled with new initiatives, which will make the DMin program at Central a quality learning and transforming experience.
My first strategic priority is to grow the English Language Shawnee branch, which is one of the three branches, along with the Korean DMin Program, and MIT (Myanmar Institute of Theology) DMin Program. Central’s DMin Program in Creative Leadership has become a unique attraction with its new curriculum and an emphasis on creative leadership. It offers a healthy combination of theological foundation and creative leadership. Working closely with the seminary’s two recruitment officers, I’ve been involved in every aspect of recruitment. I’ve also begun working with the current students, alums, and leaders at various denominational levels. Furthermore, I’ve formed new relationships with local pastors by visiting their churches, including Burmese pastors. In beefing up the seminary’s recruiting efforts, I’m taking an incarnational approach. I want any and every prospective student to have a great experience whether it’s an inquiry, a campus visit, or admission into the program.
My second strategic priority is to make academic improvements. I’m implementing three initiatives. The first initiative is holding workshops for faculty and field advisors. The workshops will clearly identify expectations, responsibilities, and roles. Faculty and field advisors cannot effectively play their roles unless they are equipped first. The second initiative is requiring faculty and field advisors to submit progress reports. These reports encourage the advisors to intentionally spend time with their students regarding the students’ academic work. These reports also help everyone involved stay on the same page and improve the retention rate as well as the academic progress of the DMin students. The third initiative is to help our students with their research and writing skills. With these initiatives, I intend to raise the academic bar. Quality education, coupled with nurturing relationships between faculty and students, will only help strengthen the program.
My third strategic priority is to enhance the global learning experience of the DMin Program. Central already has strong presence of many ethnic, racial, and linguistic groups. I desire the DMin students to become better global leaders by not only networking with people from various backgrounds but also by participating in travels and events that cultivate their cross-cultural experience and understanding. One such event was An Evening of Global Learning, which was held on October 10. It takes intentionality and a little bit of creativity to enhance global learning.
I pray daily for God’s blessing on the DMin Program. Without God’s presence and blessing, all efforts and successes will last only so long.
Dr. John Park, Des Peres Assistant Professor of Congregational Health and Director of the DMin Program
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