Wake Forest University School of Divinity is launching two new joint degree programs for future religious leaders. The Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Sustainability is designed for students who seek careers in faith-based contexts where sustainability is an emerging emphasis. The Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Education is for students who are interested in bi-vocational career options that link public school teaching with religious leadership in congregational or non-profit settings.
“Joint degrees are excellent vocational choices for students,” says Jill Crainshaw, associate dean for academic affairs and Blackburn professor of worship and liturgical theology. “Religious leaders are challenged to respond to countless contemporary challenges. Our two new joint degrees will equip students to join other public leaders in wrestling with critical ecological, social, and educational issues. They will also prepare students to lead congregations and other ministry organizations who want to respond to these concerns. These joint degrees create opportunities that enhance what each degree offers on its own.”
Both degree programs will begin accepting applications this year.
A distinctive degree program designed with Wake Forest’s Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (CEES), the Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Sustainability will satisfy the growing demand for professional religious leaders who have the knowledge and skills to lead communities to respond to critical ecological and environmental issues.
Increasingly, School of Divinity students have sought opportunities to gain skills and credentials for jobs in sectors where religious and sustainability concerns intersect. In the 2012 and 2013 graduating classes, ten percent of alumni are employed in non-profit or faith-based work that focuses on sustainability.
Sustainability programs are also growing on college and university campuses nationwide. In 2012, the School of Divinity launched the Food, Faith, and Religious Leadership Initiative, which works to provide current and future religious leaders with the knowledge and skills to lead their congregations and religious communities around food issues. It is the first of its kind in the country. The School’s student group, Eco-Theo, provides a variety of educational and hands-on sustainability-focused learning opportunities, and the University’s Office of Sustainability develops initiatives for integrating principles of sustainability into programs across the campus.
With access to these resources, the Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Sustainability degree will help religious leaders and their communities imagine and implement long-term strategies in areas where religious organizations can give leadership for a more sustainable future.
As the religious landscape in the United States continues to change over the next decade, an increasing number of religious leaders may find themselves called to serve as pastors of congregations or leaders of non-profit organizations while deriving a portion of their income from other sources. Education is a natural partner with ministry.
A collaborative effort with the Wake Forest Department of Education, the Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Education is a distinctive degree program that will prepare students who have a dual vocational identity with education and religious leadership.
“The joint degree with the Department of Education will help students meet the challenges of 21st-century classrooms,” says Crainshaw. “Being equipped to teach in public schools gives Wake Forest students an opportunity to pursue both their passion for ministry and their love of teaching youth and adolescents.”
Religious leaders are often called upon to be teachers in their communities. Courses in the Master of Arts in Education program will provide excellent preparation for these responsibilities as well as for public leadership more broadly.
The School currently offers a curricular concentration within the Master of Divinity degree so that students who already hold teaching certificates can qualify for a Master’s level certification in the licensure areas offered at Wake Forest (English, Math, Social Studies, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, French and Spanish).
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|Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Sustainability|
|Master of Divinity/Master of Arts in Education|
Media Contact: Mark Batten