Seminary news

May 27, 2014

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Theological Seminary President the Rev. William J. Carl III has announced that he will retire in mid-2015. Carl has served the Seminary since 2005.

“During President Carl’s tenure as head of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, he led the seminary into a successful capital campaign and re-accreditation, positioning PTS to thrive in a volatile economic environment. His contributions to the institution and the church have been many,” said John S. Isherwood, chairman of the board of directors.

“It has been a joy and an honor to serve in a leadership position with Jack Isherwood as we have worked together with an outstanding board and remarkably gifted professors, administrators, and staff,” said Carl. “I look forward to seeing what a new era at PTS will bring as we transition this next year into a time of new leadership.”

During Carl’s tenure, he:

  • Led the largest capital campaign in the Seminary's 220 year history, raising more than $20 million for student scholarships, faculty chairs, and campus improvements.
  • Oversaw the school’s successful renewal of decennial accreditation by the Association of Theological Schools and Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
  • Worked with the Board and leadership on a new strategic plan, mission/vision statement, seal, and brand.
  • Encouraged the first and only Doctor of Ministry focus on science and theology in North America, and the creation of additional sites for students studying in the D.Min. program in Phoenix; Charleston, S.C.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; and Aberdeen and Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • Approved the M.Div. program with emphasis in church planting and started and funded the Church Planting Initiative.
  • Opened the Seminary’s main entrance to be more welcoming to visitors and neighbors and renovated the Hicks Memorial Chapel sanctuary to make it a more flexible space with new liturgical furniture.
  • Approved the hiring of eight new faculty members and built a strong and active board of directors with meetings focused on strategic direction.
  • Developed key relationships with international communities, mostly in Russia and other parts of Asia.

Before coming to the seminary, Carl served as pastor of the 1,700-member First Presbyterian Church in Dallas for 22 years, and was associate professor of homiletics and worship at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va., for seven years before that. Carl earned degrees from the University of Tulsa, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the University of Pittsburgh where he also taught as an instructor. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1973.

A search committee has been appointed to name the Seminary’s sixth president.

SAN ANSELMO, Calif. ― The board of trustees of San Francisco Theological Seminary has approved a new Master of Divinity curriculum.

Features of the new curriculum include:

  • Reduction in the number of required credit hours from 81 to 72 ― the revision redistributes requirements and electives, and includes a new requirement in spirituality.
  • Incorporation of a tutorial model ― in addition to maintaining seminar-size courses, the new curriculum will feature the “Oxford-Cambridge” tutorial model, in which small groups of students meet regularly with a professor to master a specific subject through a mentorship-style learning experience.
  • Weekly interdisciplinary campus-wide lectures ― under this new model, all M.Div. students and professors will participate in a weekly interdisciplinary lecture given by a different professor each week using a common theme each semester. This series will

provide valuable context and an opportunity for dialogue that supplement the core courses of the M.Div. program.

  • Adoption of an externship model ― replacing the third-year internship program is an externship model of education, which will offer students the opportunity to apply for ordainable, yearlong positions after completing the classroom requirements of the degree. This new model, once it is in place, will provide students the benefits of an internship, with the added benefit of earning an income while engaging in on-the-job learning.
    • Additional opportunities for online courses ― four courses of the M.Div. curriculum will be placed online throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, greatly increasing student flexibility.

CHICAGO ― McCormick Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of the Rev.  Steed Vernyl Davidson as associate professor of Hebrew Bible. He will join the McCormick faculty in July of 2015.

Currently, Davidson teaches at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., as an associate professor of Old Testament. Davidson is an ordained clergyperson within the United Methodist Church.

McCormick President Frank Yamada said, “Dr. Davidson brings the kind of scholarly expertise, passion for the church, and excellence in the classroom that makes him a perfect fit for McCormick Seminary.”

Davidson is the author of Empire and Exile: Postcolonial Readings of Selected Texts of the Book of Jeremiah and a co-editor of the forthcoming book, Islands, Islanders and the Bible: RumiNations. He has authored various essays that explore the Hebrew Bible from postcolonial and gendered perspectives.

Davidson, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, earned a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from Union Theological Seminary in New York.  He also holds advanced degrees from Boston University and the University of the West Indies, where he also received his B.A.

A member of the Society of Biblical Literature, Davidson is on the steering committee of the Israelite Prophetic Literature Section as well as the Postcolonial Studies and Biblical Studies Section. He serves on the editorial board of Black Theology: An International Journal.

  1. Dr. Carl's retirement is a great loss to PTS--but he has clearly helped to build a great foundation for her future. Dr. S. V. Davidson's appointment to the MTS faculty is an exciting step! LSL

    by Louis S. Lunardini

    May 29, 2014

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