FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Southwestern Seminary was one of 16 schools to receive a $15,000 grant in order to learn how better to prepare doctoral students for teaching within academia. The grant was provided by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.
As part of its effort to prepare doctoral students for future teaching appointments, Southwestern hosted a “Graduate Programs Teaching Initiative” conference, Sept. 22-23. The seminary invited nine Southwestern graduates who hold teaching posts, and these graduates dialogued with representatives from the Wabash Center as well as seminary faculty and administrators. They also conversed with current doctoral students, advising them about how they can better prepare for future teaching assignments.
According to Edward Pauley, the seminary’s vice provost for academic programs, many doctoral students felt that the conference helped them better understand how to prepare for teaching in academia. He also said that he and other administrators left the conference with new insights for improving the seminary’s preparation of future professors.
“I am an enthusiast about this,” said Pauley, who sees teaching posts within academia as platforms for fulfilling the Great Commission. Among their other tasks, Christian teachers will build relationships, share the Gospel, show young disciples how to follow Christ, and help them relate specific fields of study to the Christian faith.
“That is really what Christian higher education is about,” Pauley said. For this reason, doctoral students must be well equipped for their teaching assignments.
“The significance of this conference was to allow us to examine our practices here, as to how we carry out doctoral-level education,” Pauley said. “And, in particular, how do we prepare people for a calling to teach or a calling to become professors? We want to be sure that people are receiving the tools that they need, the background information that they need, in order to be well-prepared even in their very first teaching positions.”
According to Pauley, Southwestern will host future events that will allow the seminary to follow up with and implement what they learned during the Wabash Center conference.