Yale Divinity School will commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 and our own 200th anniversary in 2022. To prepare for these milestones and the future of our school, YDS will embark on an effort to strengthen our leadership position for the 21st century.
Together with the rest of Yale University, we seek to inspire the minds that inspire the world. We aspire to do this by continuing to pursue our mission to foster “the knowledge and love of God through critical engagement with the traditions of the Christian churches in the context of the contemporary world,” and by making a series of strategic additions to enhance our ability to fulfill this lofty mission. YDS has gone through a broadly inclusive process involving all major sectors of the YDS community and developed five pivot points, or goals, that together with our existing programs will chart the direction of the school. (For more on the process, see the acknowledgements section at the end of this document.) Funds to implement the pivot points will be generated through a comprehensive fundraising initiative.
The pivot points are as follows:
Freeing Students from Debt and for Vocation
Fully funding student financial need is critical to strengthening YDS’s capacity to train Christian leaders for the academy, church, and society. Currently, students enter YDS with $28,000 of debt on average, and leave with over $55,000. Financial assistance has consistently been articulated as our top funding priority because of its direct impact on nearly every aspect of what we do. >Read More
Fostering Transformative Leadership
YDS has a long tradition of educating Christian leaders for the churches, for the academy, and for public service more broadly conceived. In a world in which Christianity is changing rapidly, YDS will undertake initiatives designed to equip our students for transformative leadership in these various domains. We will continue to build strong connections with denominations, while creating capacities for reimagining ministry and translating Christianity in new and exciting ways. We will continue to attract and retain world-class faculty, capable of training a future generation of leading scholars. And we will forge stronger links with Yale’s other professional schools and with Christian leaders across the professions to equip our students with new forms of creative and entrepreneurial leadership in a shifting landscape. >Read More
Forging a Diverse Learning Community
YDS’s mission statement describes “a community that welcomes and affirms human diversity.” Diversity is crucial for excellence and effectiveness; we can lead the way in theological education only if our faculty, student body, and curriculum reflect the rich diversity of the world in which we live. Targeted initiatives are needed to increase faculty diversity along several dimensions, as well as to provide ample financial, intellectual, and personal support for students from underrepresented groups and from outside the United States. >Read More
Bridging Faith Traditions
As YDS’s mission statement suggests, the Christian tradition cannot be adequately understood apart from its relations with other religious traditions; nor can Christian leadership be pursued responsibly and effectively in today’s world without attention to Christianity’s multi-faith environment, both nationally and internationally. YDS seeks to assume a position of leadership in multi-faith education by expanding curricular options for the study of non-Christian religions, creating greater opportunities for interfaith engagement, and appointing faculty members who can create programs in this area to reach students in all degree programs, alumni, and the wider community. >Read More
Cultivating Community in a Living-Building Residential Complex
Many generations of YDS students remember vividly the transformative impact of living in the community in which they studied. Today, YDS is in need of a sustainable residential village. But we strive to build more than a dormitory or apartment complex. We envision a 24-hour learning environment that brings people together to study and live in community and model an ethic of environmental stewardship. This will be the most visible manifestation of a more comprehensive effort to promote responsible ecological thinking and practice through our curriculum, our extra-curricular initiatives, and our community life. >Read More