Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Seminary Criteria

I was just think that this probably should have been my first blog post as I was contemplating seminary. That may have helped with all of the indecisiveness. I think a question I never truly asked myself was "What am I looking for in a Seminary?" I have visited schools and decided  that is or that wasn't what I am looking for, and I have talked to people from different schools and thought, "well that interests me". however I never came up with a list of exactly what I am looking for in a seminary/divinity school/ school of theology etc.

Things I want:
  • Racial/ethnic diversity- I don't want the campus to be a sea of white faces. I've visited some schools where it seemed the student body was primarily white and that is very foreign to me.
  • Multiple faith groups- I do not care what the denominational affiliation of the school is. I want there to be many different denominations represented in the students and staff.
  • Non-christian students- Having Jewish and Muslim students adds to the learneing experience. one of my interests is interfaith dialogue and in order to make this better you need other faiths.
  • A commitment to social justice- classes that are focused on our role as Christians within our world, a focus in classes, in spirital life and in social life on hunger, LGBTQ issues, economic exploitation, etc.
  • A concern for the environment- I like the current school doesn't. I want a school that cares about recycling and preserving our planet and our roles as stewards of God's creation.
  • Classes in topics that interest me- classes on feminist theology, war studies, interreligious dialogue, polity, sex, the theology in other cultures, liberation theology, LGBTQ issues within the church
  • Welcoming churches in the area- They don't have to be PCUSA (though that is prefered), but I need a church that I can go to for three years where I can feel comfortable and feel at home.
  • Reformed theology- I need a school where the beliefs align somewhat with my own. I'm think catholicism and Adventism are out, sorry guys!
  • Active campus life (clubs, events etc)- I want to attend clubs. I haven't had a real chance to in my undergraduate career. clubs on LGBTQ issues, denominational, for things I care about. I want to attend events hosted by faculty, and different clubs. plays, preformances, things that give you the real seminary/ a graduate school experience.
  • A city- I grew up in the city and as much as I love the rural life I still love the city. Seminary in the city makes it easier to get around, easier to attend events, easier to interact with people.
  • Easy to get around the neighboring places- this really means I a place with public transportation. Yes, I have a car but I hate to drive. If I want to go out to a movie or to grab a bite to eat I don't want to have to drive all the time.
  • On-campus housing- It's preferable, but not absolutely necessary
  • Faculty and students interacting- I want to learn from faculty that actually know who I am. I do not want to be just a number to them. I want them to know my name and where I come form and I want to know the same about them.
I guess this is a rough list of what I am looking for in a semiary. Even with just this list I feel that my search is more focused. I do wish that there was a collegeboard type search engine for seminaries. Just put in the info I care about and it pops up with which semianries to look at. But now that I have this list of what I care about maybe my decision making will become easier?

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