Thank you for being a part of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary community. We need your continued support to help us prepare men and women to advance Christ’s kingdom, and we greatly appreciate the myriad of ways that you contribute to the Seminary.
To view our 2020 Annual Report, please click below. To view our campus reports, please click on the expanders.
Hamilton Campus Report
Jeffrey Arthurs, Ph.D., Dean of the Hamilton Campus, Professor of Preaching and Communication
Dr. Scott Sunquist is bringing an energetic, godly and hopeful spirit to Gordon-Conwell. His oft-repeated theme of “One Gordon-Conwell” has become part of the vocabulary and mindset of the faculty and staff. He is streamlining processes and bringing continuity to all campuses. An example of this is that all campuses now have a unified academic calendar with the same start and end dates, so that students at any campus can take courses at any other campus.
President Sunquist led an outstanding faculty retreat in the summer of 2019, and the primary focus was spiritual and relational, emphasizing discipleship. Many faculty commented that it was the “best retreat ever.” The President has also made a seemingly small change that is being received very positively. Adjunct faculty are now invited to faculty meetings, and also marched in with the Hamilton faculty at Convocation, the first chapel of the year.
In the past several years the Hamilton campus has experienced a downsizing in faculty. Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger has retired as President, and eight additional professors have retired or moved to other institutions, including Drs. Scott Gibson, Patrick Smith, Jeffrey Niehaus, Richard Lints, Peter Kuzmiç, Thomas Pfizenmaier, Jacqueline Dyer and Pablo Polischuk. Dr. Polischuk is being replaced by Dr. Angie Kim, Assistant Professor of Counseling, who joined the seminary in July.
Dr. Eun Ah Cho has been named Dean of the Ockenga Institute and Assistant Professor of Intercultural Studies, and she also started July 1. Dr. Gerry Wheaton, Assistant Professor of New Testament, has been named Dean of the Charlotte campus, and he also started on July 1. He replaces Dr. Don Fairbairn, who will continue as the Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity.
Additionally, at the direction of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Scott Sunquist has eliminated four faculty salaries, and moved several professors into endowed positions or those funded by outside sources. Dr. Jack Davis is now the Andrew Mutch Distinguished Chair, and Dr. Tim Laniak has moved to the Cooley Center at the Charlotte campus as Senior Professor and Scholar in Residence for Biblical Literacy. Two additional faculty members, Drs. Doug Stuart and Ed Keazirian, are now Senior Professors and will continue to teach some courses in 2020-2021.
The seminary community is exceedingly grateful for the enormous contributions of all these esteemed colleagues and friends.
Natalie Crowson, former Assistant Registrar, has become Registrar for the entire institution. Jana Holiday is the new Dean of Students at the Hamilton campus. Chris Anderson, formerly Director of Marketing and Communications, has been promoted to Executive Director of Admissions and Enrollment, and is now based at the Charlotte campus. Dr. Brad Howell, former Dean of the Jacksonville campus, has been named Dean of Teaching & Learning and Executive Director of the seminary’s Southeast Region based at the Charlotte campus. Dr. Jim Critchlow, Ranked Adjunct Assistant Professor of Old Testament, is now the Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO), and oversees all matters related to accreditation. Dr. Mateus de Campos now heads the “Discipleship Experience.”
Charlotte and Hamilton Counseling Programs are now CACREP accredited. CACREP is a nationally recognized agency that accredits graduate-level counseling programs. Many federal and state agencies now require a CACREP accredited degree for licensure. This achievement means that our graduates will be more marketable and ready to impact the field of professional counseling.
We have reduced the number of degrees from 27 to seven, and the requirements for each degree will be similar across the institution. This streamlining of degrees will mean more efficient administration, and recruiters will find it easier to describe our programs to potential students. The faculty has approved requirements and concentrations for each degree, and the new degrees are awaiting approval by our accreditors. We plan to implement degree changes in the fall of 2021.
One notable initiative is the “Thriving in Ministry” program led by Dr. Jim Singleton, Associate Professor of Pastoral Leadership and Evangelism. Working with a large Lilly Grant, Jim is creating cohorts in New England composed of lay leaders, pastors, and students. The goal is to help pastors thrive through teaching, coaching, and support. Other initiatives are regularly sponsored by the Ockenga Institute from the various centers such as the Center for the Study of the Black Christian Experience (headed by Dr. Emmett Price), the Robinson Center for Preaching (headed by Dr. Matthew Kim), and the Mockler Center for Faith and Ethics in the Workplace (headed by Dr. Ken Barnes).
Boston Campus Report
Seong Park, Ph.D., Dean of the Boston Campus and Assistant Professor of Old Testament
Gordon-Conwell—Boston (CUME) experienced a full year of growth and transition. We successfully enrolled 287 students in the Fall 2019 semester, which included 135 new students—an achievement celebrated at CUME and the Gordon-Conwell community at large.
Yet the perennial challenge of financial concerns continues to affect our students significantly—especially cohort students. Regardless of these financial difficulties, students from all degree programs and demographics are relentless in pursuing their ministerial training vocation to serve effectively in multiple forms of urban ministry.
Throughout the year, staff, faculty and the board of advisors continued to practice the formation model of a daily noon hymn. A communal scripture reading was added to guide monthly practices for staff while students continued to refine their Rule of Life. In alignment with One Gordon-Conwell, the Boston campus will provide the same degree offerings with an urban emphasis. The Master of Arts in Counseling (MACO) in Boston is transitioning to become a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT).
Several transitions occurred in the Bruce Jackson Library. Cherry Gorton, a long-time CUME library employee retired after more than 20 years of service. The library has transistioned to a fully digital collection of books and journals. Students and other library users no longer need to travel to the Boston campus but can access the materials from their homes and offices.
An additional technological transition included the implementation of a unified phone system called RingCentral. The Boston campus was the central test site before the seminary officially switched all of the campuses to RingCentral. Boston’s central role in early testing was key to the project’s smooth transition. Even with these advancements, we have not lost sight of the importance of cutting costs and monitoring budget spending. We have funneled savings from our frugality to the urban tuition scholarships.
Dr. Jason Hood departed the Boston campus in Spring 2019, and Dr. Jacqueline Dyer departed in June of 2020. Marie East, Michelle Carter, and Hillary V. Gabbidon have joined our staff. Diversity on the Boston staff continues to be as varied as its constituency. Registration took the opportunity to mitigate the need for increased services for our non-English speaking students by adding a bilingual student worker. We look forward to reinforcing and maintaining this form of effective student service to the campus’s Latino constituency, which now represents approximately 50 percent of new applicants.
At the start of Spring 2020, the campus undertook a participatory art project we called “Harmony” (see picture below). All students, staff and faculty participated and each capsule represents a member in the CUME community. The finished piece now hangs on a wall in the lobby where noon hymn is held. A colorful representation of the diversity of the Boston campus, it helps us see that harmony takes our differences as its requisite. This signals the next turn in our pursuit of our formation model needed as a seminary campus in the city.
Conversations continue regarding the development of the Urban League lot (which the Boston campus currently uses for parking) into a residential complex with minimal parking. If the Urban League proceeds with this plan, Gordon-Conwell will need to develop the adjacent vacant plots which were generously donated for the purpose of providing parking for our students.
As we moved to close out the academic year, COVID-19 overwhelmed the nation. The city of Boston was affected deeply, and staff, faculty and students quickly came together across campuses and departments to support the shift from residential to online course instruction mid-semester. With average technology and creative, dedicated minds we were able to make the shift successfully.
One Gordon-Conwell called for many transitions, in particular campus leadership. Campus Dean, Seong H. Park, PhD., transitioned to the office of Cohort-Based Education and Research as Associate Dean; and Dr. Virginia Ward, D.Min., moved to Campus Dean and the newly formed role of Executive Director of Northeast Region. She is the first African-American female and alumni to serve in this role.
We are grateful for our faculty, staff, and student workers—they operate with a selfless spirit and undivided heart, and we praise God for their dedication to the work of his kingdom and the mission of Gordon-Conwell.
Project “harmony” – CUME, January 25, 2020.
Respectfully submitted August 19, 202
Donald Fairbairn, Ph.D., Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity
Dr. Gerry Wheaton, Assistant Professor of New Testament, has been named Dean of the Charlotte campus, effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Fairbairn will continue as Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity.
In 2018, the Charlotte library announced a new partnership with the Digital Theological Library (DTL). The mission of the DTL is to provide its co-owning institutions with the highest quality digital resources in religious and theological studies at the lowest possible costs. When Gordon-Conwell became a DTL partner, eight member schools were enrolled, gaining access to more than 160,000 eBooks, 160 databases, 20,000 journal titles, and 11,000 hours of counseling eVideos.
Now 17 member schools have access to more than 600,000 eBooks in addition to other electronic resources. Gordon-Conwell students anywhere in the world, studying through any campus, have access to DTL content.
One of the features of the Charlotte campus is our annual lecture series, called the “Klipowicz Integrative Events” in honor of retired professor Steve Klipowicz. The 2018-2019 events were a great success:
Charlotte students have been very excited that under the leadership of Dr. Tim Laniak, Professor of Old Testament, the campus began an annual partnership with Passages, a program that provides an innovative experience to exploring the Holy Land at a very reasonable cost.
After an intensive accreditation site visit in May 2019, Charlotte’s MACC program was given full, eight-year accreditation (the longest term offered) by CACREP, the national body for accrediting clinical counseling programs. This accreditation was the culmination of several years of work and was a cause of great rejoicing.
In the fall of 2019, Dr. Brad Howell, formerly Dean of the Jacksonville campus, was appointed Executive Director for the Southeastern Region. Brad and his wife Lynette moved to Charlotte in October. He also serves as Dean of Teaching and Learning for the institution.
Also in the fall of 2019, Dr. Wheaton traveled to Southeast Asia to represent Gordon-Conwell at the World Evangelical Alliance and to meet with church and seminary leaders to learn and explore possibilities for partnerships between Gordon-Conwell and institutions in that region. He also traveled to Ghana to teach a pastor’s conference and pursue partnerships with leaders in that region.
Our Klipowicz Integrative Events continue to be a great success.
In the spring of 2020, COVID-19 had relatively little impact on the way we do education. Even before the virus forced us into social distancing, most of our students attended most of the classes digitally rather than in person. The handful of students who would have been in the room has become zero, but the way our professors handle the classes and the manner of interaction between students and professor has not been changed.
Four important transitions took place among our faculty at the end of the academic year. Don Fairbairn stepped down from his role as Academic Dean and resumed his Chair of Early Christianity. Don will continue to teach in Charlotte and advise the new dean, Gerry Wheaton. He will also begin giving more time to his writing projects.
Tim Laniak became Senior Professor and Scholar in Residence for Biblical Literacy. As part of the Cooley Center, he will work directly with friends of the seminary through Bible Journey. He hopes to foster excitement for biblical literacy, and by extension, for the broader educational mission of the seminary.
Nicole Martin has moved to part-time status with Gordon-Conwell, having accepted a position as Director of U.S. Ministry for American Bible Society. Nicole will continue to teach three courses a year for us and will be an ambassador for the seminary. We are glad to have her continued presence!
Doctor of Ministry and Ockenga Institute
David Currie, Ph.D., Professor of Practical Theology and Dean of the Doctor of Ministry and Ockenga Institute
Professor of Practical Theology, Dean of the Doctor of Ministry and
Doctor of Ministry and the Ockenga Institute (D.Min.-OI) has shared a common purpose in seeking to bring the resources of the seminary to those out in ministry. We have done this through three programs: Doctor of Ministry, Hispanic Ministries and the Shoemaker Center. In all that we do, our ultimate goal has been to be a source for Gordon-Conwell as a whole to grow as a thoughtful, Christ-centered community of global discipleship.
The purpose of the D.Min. program is to inform spiritual passions to nurture passionate, reflective practitioners by forming mentored learning communities, thereby transforming ministers and ministries for a lifetime. A core value of the D.Min. program is that cohorts are key to transforming influence. The experience of studying with the same students and faculty for three years deepens relationships with one another and with Christ.
One example of the transformative power of this context arose during a January residency as students were sharing case studies from their ministries—a practice that students in the cohort process together to help one another address key areas of promise or problem. The case study of a student from Hong Kong explored the significant challenges and opportunities for evangelism and discipleship among the young adults he works with in the midst of ongoing political unrest and violence.
After unpacking multiple theological, spiritual and sociological dynamics with the student and commending him for his creative and faithful approaches, the student broke down and began weeping as he expressed his grief over how difficult the situation he would soon be returning to was for him and his church. Immediately, the rest of the cohort (from Myanmar, the Philippines, Korea, Canada and the USA) and the mentors gathered around him to pray for him and for Hong Kong. It was the embodiment of a thoughtful, loving Christ-centered community of global discipleship.
After a highly fruitful season of 2020 winter residencies and oral defenses, the D.Min. program has faced radical challenges as an inherently in-person program in responding to the travel and gathering restrictions in the wake of COVID-19. All spring and early summer residencies have been postponed 6 to 12 months, though there is some hope that the small size of cohorts (most around 10-12) may still allow for the October residency to proceed. During the postponements, students are gathering online as cohorts and one-on-one with their mentors to work on completing outstanding graduation requirements. Third-year students have been given permission to front-load writing their thesis-projects since these tasks can all be done at a distance, even while sheltering in place. The D.Min. dean provided online writing training for students and coaching for mentors to help adjust to these changes.
The purpose of the Hispanic Ministries Program (HMP) is to provide the highest quality theological education to some of the least served populations as close to their communities as possible. Under the tech-savvy leadership of Associate Dean Pablo Jiménez, even before the pandemic required it, HMP extended its reach through the use of videoconferencing in many classes, which has provided better stewardship in terms of travel for students and faculty. Moreover, the combination of having some students in the classroom with the instructor and others Zooming in from around the world has created an even more global community experience that has enriched everyone, enhancing the key role that HMP plays at Gordon-Conwell as a whole in being a thoughtful, loving Christ-centered community of global discipleship.
As part of larger seminary-wide structural changes, HMP shifted its pedagogical strategy as of July 1, 2020 to implementing a cohort model parallel to D.Min. Deans Jiménez and Currie have been working with D.Min.-OI Director of Operations, Bridget Erickson, and HMP Admissions & Program Manager, Ivette Garcia, to develop a plan to move existing students into cohorts and establish a process for creating new cohorts with new partnerships. Because HMP enrollment tends to be through partnerships as groups, the cohort model serves our constituencies well and makes administration more cost effective, allowing HMP to offer cohorts a stable degree-long tuition structure.
The purpose of the Shoemaker Center is to engage ministry leaders in lifelong personal and corporate renewal. Over the summer of 2019, the Ockenga Fellows Program provided the opportunity for a cohort of young ministry leaders from New England to spend several weeks in China exploring some of the same themes that they have been studying together in their local region related to the interplay of spiritual, sociological, cultural, economic, political, educational and technological dynamics for ministry. The relationships built among the Fellows and with their Chinese counterparts hold promise for lasting fruitfulness in developing global partnerships to make disciples of all nations and in every area of life.
With the new structure for centers as a reconstituted Ockenga Institute in July 2020 under the leadership of Dr. Eun Ah Cho, the Shoemaker Center will no longer be a responsibility of the D.Min.-HMP team. The Center has undergone significant refocusing over the past four years with the goals of simplifying its offerings and of ensuring that all are revenue positive achieved, providing Dr. Cho with a solid foundation for its future effective ministry.
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