Shenandoah University and Wesley Theological Seminary, both affiliated with the United Methodist Church, have once again partnered to benefit the church and the young leadership coming through their ranks. An agreement between Shenandoah and Wesley offers a streamlined approach for those who feel a call to leading the church and faith-based non-profits from both a clergy and lay perspective.
A 3+3 fast-track agreement will allow Shenandoah University undergraduate students to forgo their senior year and take classes at Wesley Theological Seminary instead. The credits will then transfer back to Shenandoah as electives. The program will begin in Fall 2018.
“This is not the first partnership between the schools,” said Shenandoah University’s Assistant Vice President for Student Life Justin Allen, D.Min. “We partnered on Calling 21, a summer internship opportunity for college students at Virginia Conference United Methodist congregations since 2006, and the Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute, which begins this summer and is funded by a $600,000 Lilly Endowment grant. The Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church has also partnered with both institutions in support of Calling21 and the Youth Theology Institute.”
Shenandoah already offers fast-track approaches from undergraduate to graduate programs as evidenced in several pre-health to professional degree programs. For example, qualified students who seek to become physical therapists or pharmacists can come to Shenandoah to do their undergraduate work and then matriculate into graduate programs after their junior years, before four years of undergraduate work have been completed.
According to Allen, these fast-track programs alleviate educational debt concerns and focus on intensive learning. Wesley Theological Seminary and Shenandoah University have been close partners for many years in helping young men and women hear and answer their call to full-time ministry.
“This new program will help students to enter the ministry sooner and help to reduce student debt,” said the Rev. Dr. David McAllister-Wilson, president of Wesley Theological Seminary. “This agreement is built on the trust and confidence between our two institutions that we can insure the highest quality academic and practical preparation for ministry.”
“We cherish our relationship with the United Methodist Church, and we care about the students who come to Shenandoah with a vision for service and Christian leadership,” said President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D. “We believe this 3 + 3 approach will provide an opportunity for our students to finish their educational requirements one year earlier and start leading our churches and faith-based non-profits. This is good for students and our faith-based institutions, and we are proud to assist in making it happen with Wesley Theological Seminary.”