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Study ranks Southwestern 5th in providing theology faculty

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, is among the top five supplier programs of faculty members with doctoral degrees in theological education, according to a study by Auburn Theological Seminary’s Center for the Study of Theological Research. The announcement comes as enrollment in Southwestern’s various doctoral programs tops 400.

Data from the study, “Signs of the Times: Present and Future Theological Faculty,” by Auburn Seminary President Barbara G. Wheeler, Sharon L. Miller and Franciscan Sister Katarina Schuth, appeared in In Trust, a quarterly magazine that reports trends and issues related to theological education for administrators and board members of seminaries and schools of religion.

The study by the seminary, which shares a campus with Union Theological Seminary in New York, was the first to re-examine a topic addressed in a previous study from 1991. In that year, Southwestern Seminary was ranked eighth among providers of faculty members with doctorates in theological education. The 2001 study noted that Southwestern Seminary had risen to fifth in its ranking.

Only the University of Chicago, ranked first, followed by Harvard, Yale, and Princeton Seminary provided more faculty members with earned doctorates to seminaries and schools of religion around the country than did Southwestern. Roman Catholic schools, ranked third in 1991, dropped to ninth in the 2001 study.

Two other Southern Baptist seminaries were among the top 20: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 16th, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 20th.

Southwestern President Paige Patterson said it is “a tribute to all who have gone before that Southwestern has been able to reach that [top-five] level.”

“Of course, what makes Southwestern’s Ph.D.s somewhat different is that the men and women who graduate here end up serving in many capacities other than teaching in a seminary, university or college here in America. Many of them enter the pastorate while others go to the mission field in various capacities. Thus, Southwestern Seminary continues to make one of the most amazing contributions anywhere to the Kingdom of Christ and to the academic preparation of the next generation.”

Southwestern Seminary currently has 406 students enrolled in its doctor of philosophy, doctor of ministry, doctor of educational ministry and doctor of musical arts programs in its theology, educational ministries, evangelism and missions, and church music schools.

The Auburn study, published in the In Trust quarterly’s Spring 2005 issue, also compared the racial diversity of faculties based on religious tradition. Among evangelical schools, roughly 4 percent of faculty members were Hispanic, the study noted. At Southwestern Seminary, however, the number of Hispanic faculty members has risen to 7 percent.

Rudy González, vice president of student services, said the seminary has made a conscious effort to reach out to the Hispanic community and provide theological education to a portion of the church often overlooked.

“It is a very well known fact for Hispanics in the country just how hard it is for us to come together,” González said. “We come from some 20 different countries and it’s hard to define one person to speak for us or one person who is familiar with all of the different cultures represented in Latin America and among Hispanics in the U.S. That is why we have sought out someone from every sector of Latin America or the U.S. Hispanic culture — from the U.S., from Mexico, from the Caribbean and from several locations in South America.”

González said the seminary’s commitment to hire Hispanics “gives us diversity and depth of knowledge” as a unique provider of theological education for Hispanics in the U.S.

In Trust magazine can be accessed at www.intrust.org.
Student count in SWBTS doctoral programs:
THEOLOGY: Ph.D. (67); D.Min. English Language (76); D.Min. Korean Language (89)
CHURCH MUSIC: Ph.D. (5); D.M.A. (15)
(Figures provided by respective doctoral program coordinators.)

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