By Janel Shoun on 3/11/2011
Lipscomb University announces the accreditation of the Hazelip School of Theology by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), making it the first faith-based university in Middle Tennessee to achieve this prestigious mark of achievement.
The school’s accreditation follows closely the establishment of Lipscomb’s Doctor of Ministry, a degree unique in its equal emphasis on missional and spiritual formation.
ATS, the premier national accrediting body for seminaries, specifically recognized Lipscomb’s faculty as being “grounded in both the academy and practical ministry, which enhances the ability to educate students who are preparing for either academic or ministry-oriented careers.”
All Hazelip School of Theology faculty have worked as practicing ministers, and their theological training comes from highly respected universities and seminaries such as Fuller, Notre Dame, Emory and Princeton.
Lipscomb and Vanderbilt University are now the only two ATS accredited universities in Middle Tennessee.
“From as far back as the epidemic-filled 1880s to last year’s city-wide flood, Lipscomb has always been a university that is about not just knowing, but doing,” said Mark Black, director of the Hazelip school. “That tradition of living out our theological teachings in the community continues today in our graduate education which focuses on preparing theologians to impact the world through well-grounded spiritual knowledge, continuous practice and deep faith.”
The graduate school has almost 140 students enrolled in three master’s programs: the Master of Divinity, the Master of Theological Studies and the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry. It is currently accepting applications for the first Doctor of Ministry cohort to begin classes this fall.
“ATS accreditation gives us access to numerous grants as well as the latest research and resources for training students in theology and ministry,” Black said. “Most importantly, the high standards of this accrediting body ensure that our students will receive an education on par with the finest schools of theology in the U.S. and will be able to move on to Ph.D. and other advanced programs in top universities nationwide.”
“Our current students come from diverse fields ranging from traditional ministry to secular fields such as banking, nursing and even retirees,” he said. “ATS accreditation opens a new door to Middle Tennesseans looking for faith-grounded graduate programs to ensure a successful career in ministry or simply to have a better understanding of their own faith.”