In collaboration with various faculty members, Fuller’s Department of Vocation Formation has been awarded two grants from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), both funded through an ATS project to promote innovation called “Educational Models and Practices in Theological Education.”
Ryan Bolger, associate professor of church in contemporary culture, Jude Tiersma-Watson, associate professor of urban mission, Mike McNichols, director of Fuller Orange County, and Amy Drennan, executive director of vocation and formation, will facilitate the first grant for $15,000. This one-year grant equips seminary professors with spiritually formative elements, reflective practices, and peer support to sustain them in their vocation. Twelve Fuller faculty are currently participating in a Faculty Formation Group cohort to support and sustain their calling as educators. The resources gained in this context will then inform the way instructors engage students to promote deep learning and development. The assumption of this project is that teaching and learning in a seminary context requires transformation in professors, who then catalyze and nourish a rich educational environment for students.
Erin Dufault-Hunter, assistant professor of Christian ethics, and Drennan will direct the second one-year $45,000 grant. Focused particularly on Fuller’s Integrative Studies courses, the overarching goal of this project is to equip faculty with the content and tools they need to promote embedded and embodied pedagogy. This project will help faculty to model and enact this adaptivity by reshaping their pedagogy while being supported by a community of teacher-learners. More broadly, the project hopes to contribute to the reshaping of seminary education so that it fosters skills and habits in students for lifelong integration of theological learning.
Reflecting on these grants, Drennan said: “These grants are important in that they allow us to explore how the challenges facing theological education also afford us an opportunity to rethink and reshape how we do student—and faculty—formation.”