When Wake Forest University School of Divinity opened its doors in 1999, theological education and congregational life were changing. The entering class embarked on a theological journey where the future of traditional Christian ministry was anything but certain. A quarter of a century later, theological education and congregation life have transformed dramatically.
Wake Forest University School of Divinity set out on an audacious mission in 1999. Now, as then, we are guided by our audacious mission in challenging and complex times as we equip new generations of students to be ‘agents of justice, reconciliation, and compassion for Christian ministries and other ministries.Corey D. B. Walker, Dean of the School of Divinity and Wake Forest Professor of the Humanities
Today, students enter Wake Divinity dedicated to serve dynamic congregations as well as to assume positions as nonprofit leaders, educators, legal professionals, counselors, entrepreneurs, and many other nontraditional ministry roles. Wake Divinity students have used and continue to use their theological education in ways that redefine Christian ministry and service.
On the cusp of its 25th anniversary, Wake Divinity is once again charting a distinctive path in a changing landscape of theological education with a newly reimagined Master of Divinity (MDiv) curriculum. The new curriculum is grounded in a recognition of the plurality of Christian traditions and a commitment to theological reflection that is dialogical, collaborative, and engaged with a diversity of historical and contemporary voices and perspectives.
Our faculty embraced the challenge and opportunity of taking a leading role in charting a distinctive future for graduate theological education. We are committed to forming faith leaders who embody the work of justice, reconciliation, and compassion. The new curriculum offers more paths to see that goal flourish in ways that honor the vocational journey of each student.Elizabeth O’Donnell Gandolfo, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Earley Associate Professor of Catholic and Latin American Studies
The reimagined MDiv curriculum provides an integrative, interdisciplinary, and individualized theological education. These principles of the new curriculum are aligned with Wake Forest University’s strategic framework as well as the School of Divinity’s mission and its signature Wake Divinity Experience.
The cornerstone of the school’s reimagined curriculum is integration – a seamless blend of theological education, congregational engagement, and community involvement. This strategic approach equips students to meet the challenges of 21st-century ministry by fostering a diverse learning community inclusive of internal and external partnerships.
The reimagined curriculum embodies the School’s core mission of “justice, reconciliation, and compassion” across its core requirements in courses in biblical studies, contextual theology, historical studies and cultural analysis, religion, ethics, and society, and interfaith, ministerial, and spirituality studies. Congregation and community partnerships play a vital role in integrating local knowledge and lived experience into the very fabric of the Master of Divinity degree, ensuring a holistic educational experience.
In response to the evolving landscape of theological education, Wake Forest University School of Divinity fully embraces an interdisciplinary approach. The reimagined MDiv program highlights and enhances interdisciplinarity within the program itself, through a reimagined curriculum that breaks down disciplinary boundaries and encourages inquiry through inclusive conversation and equitable collaboration amongst a diverse community of scholars and practitioners.
Students also take advantage of access to leading scholars and peers across graduate programs at the university. By participating in conversations with scholarly communities from diverse fields across the arts and sciences, business, law, and medicine Wake Divinity students gain deeper knowledge, innovative perspectives, and unique skills to better equip them for ministry in its varied forms.
Recognizing the diversity of contexts in which students will serve and vocational paths that students may take, the reimagined curriculum at Wake Divinity opens up space for an individualized pathway through the MDiv program. As an integral part of the Wake Divinity Experience, the new curriculum enhances inclusion and belonging by providing each and every student with diverse opportunities for intellectual exploration, spiritual growth, and vocational formation that are uniquely customized to their particular journey. Individualization occurs in a tailored experience that students shape not only through their coursework, but through participation in student leadership groups, mentorship, and vocational exploration outside the classroom. An increased emphasis on the School’s Art of Ministry program will facilitate and deepen these learning experiences. A robust combination of curricular and extracurricular opportunities for individualization nurtures a sense of belonging in which all members of the community are not only welcomed but encouraged to pursue their unique calling.
“We are excited to offer our students the opportunity to experience a curriculum that responds to the many pathways that are opened with theological education,” said Dean Walker. “The reimagined curriculum provides distinctive ways for students to experience an individualized and curated learning experience that creatively responds to their unique call and ministerial goals.”
A Continuous Process
Wake Forest University School of Divinity’s reimagined Master of Divinity curriculum attests to its commitment to constant renewal. The world needs capable faith leaders able to respond to the challenges of our time. By embracing integration, interdisciplinary exploration, and individualized learning, Wake Divinity is dedicated to preparing a new generation of faith leaders who will navigate the complexities of the 21st century.
As Wake Divinity continues its audacious journey, its commitment to shaping transformative leaders remains unwavering, ensuring that graduates will be faithful leaders dedicated to justice, reconciliation, and compassion for all humanity.
Learn more about the reimagined Master of Divinity at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, by visiting divinity.wfu.edu/academics/reimagined.