Andover Newton, the oldest independent Protestant seminary in the US has just announced its planning to make some big changes in its future.
from their website:
Today, Andover Newton leadership and trustees shared with the community its plans to move in a bold new direction to ensure the school’s 208-year commitment to our work and mission continue to thrive. This plan will include either significantly narrowing the school’s focus or embedding with a similar institution such as Yale Divinity School. While discussions are ongoing, we believe these options offer Andover Newton the best opportunity to fulfill its mission in new, creative ways.
The two options were described this way in a letter sent to stakeholders;
Therefore, the Trustees are exploring two new directions that have the potential of fulfilling Andover Newton’s mission in creative new ways while greatly reducing student debt.
Narrow the Focus of the School: In pursuing this option, Andover Newton would offer fewer programs to fewer students. The focal program would be a cooperative Master of Divinity along with some complementary programs. Andover Newton would frame its mission more narrowly on preparation for authorized Christian and Unitarian Universalist ministry in an increasingly religiously diverse world.
Become Embedded in Another Institution of Higher Learning: Andover Newton will seriously consider becoming embedded in another school — that is, retaining some independence as a school within a school — if such an affiliation would enable Andover Newton to pursue its historic mission, and if the missions of the two schools were symbiotic.
Regarding this potential option, Andover Newton has had preliminary conversations with Yale Divinity School, a school with both historic ties and missional affinities with Andover Newton
It is no secret that schools of theological education are needing to change to remain viable. This marks two seminaries this week making announcements of their plans to maintain their mission by making bold changes and letting go of important pieces of their past to forge a more relevant future.