Home > announcement, report > ATS Asian/Asian North American seminary faculty consultation (Dec. 7-9, 2007)

ATS Asian/Asian North American seminary faculty consultation (Dec. 7-9, 2007)

Fifty Asian and Asian North American (AANA) seminary faculty gathered in Dallas, Texas on Dec. 7-9, 2007 to discuss how to make Theological Education more effective for AANA seminarians. The findings will be summarized in a report for the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) early in 2008. The ATS credentials seminaries in the United States and Canada, approves their degree programs, and sponsored this consultation. The Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity (ISAAC) facilitated the planning of the consultation and will draft the report. Russell Moy chaired the planning committee, which included Ekron Chen (Logos Evangelical Seminary), Oliver McMahon (Church of God Seminary), Seung Ai Yang (Chicago Theological Semnary), and Timothy Tseng (ISAAC). Daniel Aleshire (Executive Director), Janice Edwards-Armstrong (Director, Leadership Education), and Karen Kuder of the Association of Theological Schools also staffed the consultation. This was the second consultation for AANA faculty organized by the ATS. The first was held in Redondo Beach, California, in 2005.

On Friday, Dan Aleshire started the consultation by providing statistical information about the current status of Asian and Asian North American (AANA) seminarians in ATS seminaries. In 2006, AANAs made up 7.5% of the total ATS student body – which is a higher percentage than their overall population and slightly higher than their percentages in other graduate level programs (6.5%). This is equivalent to the percentage of Visa (or international) students, of whom a large number come from Asian nations. 13% of the total student body are African Americans/Canadians (which is equivalent to their population in North America) and only 3% are Hispanics (compared to their general population of 13%).

Among the AANA seminarians, only 35% are enrolled in M.Div. programs – an indicator that the traditional church ministry route is not as popular as it once was or that churches and ministry organizations are more open to hiring AANA graduates without M.Div. degrees. Approximately 4,000 AANA students attend evangelical seminaries (9% of the student body), 750 attend mainline Protestant seminaries (3.5%), and less than 500 attend Roman Catholic seminaries (6.7%). Interestingly, 6% of the faculty in evangelical seminaries are AANA, 4.7% in mainline Protestant seminaries, and 3% in Roman Catholic seminaries.

Download complete Asian & Asian American Seminarians powerpoint presentation

On Saturday, four seminary educators made brief presentations and facilitated break out groups discussions. Peter Cha (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) gave an overview of the emerging landscape of ministry among Asian Americans. Mai Anh Tran (Pacific School of Religion) engaged the question of inter-generational factors in AANA communities, congregations, and seminarians. Seung Ai Yang (Chicago Theological Seminary) had the group interrogate the complexity of gender and race issues in classroom settings. Tim Tseng (ISAAC) facilitated a conversation around educational assets and stereotypical deficits that AANA students bring to seminaries and encouraged participants to suggest ways that seminaries can more effectively work with these students. On Sunday, the four gave summaries of the break out group discussions. The notes of the discussions will be summarized into a report by ISAAC on behalf of the consultation.

In addition to the opportunities to work together, network and fellowship, the contextualized worship service led by Debbie Gin (Haggard School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University) was another highlight of the consultation. Frank Yamada (Seabury-Western Theological Seminary) accompanied Debbie’s piano with guitar and Diane Chen (Palmer Theological Seminary) gave a thought-provoking homily. A video of the service can be viewed and downloaded at: http://www.4shared.com/file/31926798/dbf0f6a8/ATS_AANA_worship.html?dirPwdVerified=2d3679f6

ISAAC looks forward to developing the consultation report and partnering with ATS and its member schools in the future!

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The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) is a membership organization of more than 250 graduate schools that conduct post-baccalaureate professional and academic degree programs to educate persons for the practice of ministry and for teaching and research in the theological disciplines.

The Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity (ISAAC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit that seeks to advance research in Asian American Christianity and strengthen organizations that serve and minister to Asian American communities.

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  1. December 20, 2007 at 8:00 am

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