Studies regarding the future of higher education and which schools will thrive highlight the value of collaboration and partnerships between organizations and institutions. In their view, schools that seek partners in offering varied and quality academic programming deliver more appeal to prospective students and more value to graduates. Central agrees and actively pursues these strategic partnerships.
Of course, partnering with other schools is nothing new for the seminary. Our current partnership with Myanmar Institute of Theology in Yangon, Myanmar has its roots in collaboration from the 1950’s. In the 1990’s, Central and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary worked together on a joint Doctor of Ministry program.
In 2018, Central hosted Calvin University students in Chicago for cultural exchange. Further conversations led to a memorandum of understanding in which the two schools agreed to explore more ways to achieve our shared mission of educating students. The result was a second memorandum of understanding to work toward a joint Doctor of Ministry program. The approval process for this new program is ongoing.
In 2017 Central Seminary began a three-year initiative exploring possibilities for cultivating global education with schools around the world. In May of that year Dr. Samuel Park, Director of Korean Programs, visited Calvin University in Seoul, Korea, with the idea of developing an educational partnership.
In February of 2018 Calvin University delegates visited Central Seminary and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the transfer of credits that would enable students to complete a bachelor of theology at Calvin. In May 2019 Central Provost, Dr. Robert E. Johnson, and Dr. Park visited CU to explore additional partnering opportunities.
August 15-17 delegates from Calvin University, including President Keun Soo Kim and faculty members Dr. Julia K. Han and Dr. Samuel J. Kim, visited the Central Seminary campus to further partnership efforts. On August 16 delegates from both schools signed an official MOU to offer a cooperative Doctor of Ministry program on the campus of Calvin University upon approval from Central’s accrediting agencies.
Dr. John Park, director of Central’s Doctor of Ministry program, made this observation about the partnership:
I am excited about the prospect of Central’s making an impact in the lives and ministries of Korean ministry leaders there. I am hoping that Central’s DMin Program will make a “holy dent” in the Korean churches and beyond so that churches can be shaped and humanity served. Animo Central!
The cooperative ventures between the two schools is evidence of how Central has expanded its vision from preparing ministry leaders regionally to a vision of international ministry leader preparation. As Dr. Samuel Park, director of Central’s Korean programs, said, “It is a real joy to birth a promising program in a country like Korea. This endeavor helps not only to broaden Central’s educational horizon but also to make Central a globally engaged community for theological education.”
Central President Dr. Molly T. Marshall agreed:
Once again Central demonstrates its commitment to global Christianity. We know that we cannot be the Body of Christ if we function in an insular way. This MOU furthers the intent of Jesus’ prayer “that they might be one.”