Anticipating and Addressing the Evolving Needs of Students and Graduates
Students often enroll at Central as they seek to live into a call to vocation. In 2023, the students enrolling are more mindful than ever of the changing nature of job opportunities available upon graduation. Many recognize that their pathway may include part-time, bi-vocational ministry, and they are aware that they may need to secure non-ministry employment to meet their financial needs.
Our students are pursuing ministry through more avenues than ever before, including chaplaincy, non-profit leadership, and clinical counseling.
Many of our students prefer shorter degree programs that are less expensive and have more focus on practical application and adaptive leadership.
Educational requirements for ministers seeking ordination or endorsement are changing. Some denominations now accept other credentials as alternatives to the traditional Master of Divinity degree.
The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) reports that less than half of the 2023 Master of Divinity graduates anticipate serving in a congregational/parish ministry context in the next 5 years.
Seminaries across the U.S. are more innovative in their curriculum design and more responsive to the needs of the graduating student seeking employment.
Central is attentive to what congregations need and what students want and need from theological institutions. The seminary is continually assessing our current programs and considering the addition of new programs in order to ensure that our graduates have both the theological foundation and the practical skills necessary to lead and minister in today’s world.
Central’s evaluation and reimagination work focuses on our mission, our marketability, and our financial sustainability. As a seminary, we are also cognizant of the financial requirements to sustain high quality theological education. We further recognize that while there are many innovative educational programming opportunities, Central must move forward in addressing the great needs in our world as well as our ability to generate revenue to resource our programming.