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College Theology Society & Shrinking Number of Catholic Colleges, Theology Requirements, and Theology Faculty Members

  • June 18, 2019 11:12 AM
    Message # 7585698

    I suspect that recent news about the closing of Catholic colleges and major changes at others--including the slashing of theology faculty positions and the reduction of theology courses--worries members of our College Theology Society. Of course, some examples come immediately to mind: Marygrove College in Detroit is closing; the College of New Rochelle in New York is closing; Wheeling Jesuit is making drastic reductions. Many of us, including at the larger universities, are also experiencing significant core curricular changes reducing the number of theology courses that undergraduates are expected to take. 

    I am posting this on our Open Forum, inviting your thoughts, questions, and--perhaps most importantly--suggestions (especially with regard to what the College Theology Society's role should be and what it might do, including at upcoming annual conventions).

  • June 19, 2019 5:12 PM
    Reply # 7588359 on 7585698
    George Faithful (Administrator)

    At a nuts and bolts practical level, it would make sense to offer workshops at our next conference(s) on topics like:

    -alternate career paths (esp. for grad students)

    -retirement transitions (in light of our member demographics)

    As theologians, we need to make the case for our relevance. To that end and, more importantly, in light of the moral crises of our day, we need to do more to rock the boat; that is, to speak out as the prophetic voice of the Church, whether in speaking out to society or to the leadership of the Church.

  • June 24, 2019 11:30 AM
    Reply # 7639194 on 7585698

    Thanks, George. I hadn't thought as much about "retirement transitions" as you put it. Other job options for theologians is, indeed, something that comes up, but usually in relation with things like being editors, working for a publishing company, and the like. It would be helpful to explore more options and possibilities. As for moral issues, I consider this to be one, too. Perhaps Jim Keenan's book on university ethics could serve as a springboard for further analysis of this problem.

  • June 06, 2020 7:15 AM
    Reply # 9018776 on 7585698

    I am re-upping this conversation and hoping it will get some traction, especially now that the pace of the "shrinking" will (presumably) be accelerating because of coronavirus shut-downs, dropping enrollments, etc. I do think that helping support doctoral students re alternate career paths is a moral imperative for all of us. I belong to an AAR committee that does a lot with alt-ac, maybe CTS could do something like this? Last year we had 15 conference sessions for attendees about things like careers outside the academy. 

The College Theology Society is a registered, non-profit professional society and a Related Scholarly Organization of the American Academy of Religion.


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