We must re-‐envision the Ph.D. program while maintaining its current level of admissions.
The Seminary’s Ph.D. program should be designed to nurture excellence in research and writing, teaching, and academic citizenship. Its purpose should be to form scholars, servants, and leaders of the church through constructive, critical engagement with the Christian tradition in its complexity and diversity. Given the shrinking of M.Div. enrollments and the decline in the 7 academic job market, most of our peer schools have significantly reduced admissions to their Ph.D. programs to levels approximating our own and are considering how to sustain appropriately sized cohort groups for doctoral seminars. Impetus comes not only from cost, but also from a wish to re-‐envisage what a truly excellent Ph.D. program hosted by a seminary should look like today.
Within this context of shrinking demand, there remains the need to foster the core skills of doctoral students who are emerging faculty members. We must reshape our doctoral program to be more efficient, to structure it so that it can be completed in 5 years, and to provide proficiency in teaching, course planning, and the skills needed to leverage opportunities for distance learning.