The future of theological education

The news broke a couple of weeks ago that Fuller Seminary would close several satellite campuses. Fuller, headquartered in Pasadena CA, will be closing its regional campuses in Seattle, Menlo Park, and Orange County CA. It also will discontinue offering the MDiv, MAT, MATM, and MAICS degree programs in its Phoenix AZ campus, however the MFT program at Phoenix will continue to be offered.

Provost Joel Green wrote:

In 2010, the Fuller Seminary faculty voted to mainstream online education by adopting a faculty-intensive approach to teaching and learning and by raising the number of units our students could complete online. At the time, we wondered if we might be able to offer 100 courses online, with room for enrollments of 2500 each year. We could not have imagined that, today, we would be contemplating 260 courses online, with enrollments reaching some 6500 in a year. Nor could we have anticipated the mile marker we reached in the 2016 Fall Quarter, when Fuller Online out-enrolled all other Fuller Seminary campuses.

This is a remarkable development. Fuller is a mainstream seminary with close to a one hundred year track record of educating pastors. With the expansion of Fuller Online, it becomes the first seminary with such a robust online offering.

An interesting question that’s related is: what is the future of textbooks? Will academic publishers become multimedia companies that partner to produce the content and material used in online spaces? I think there’s a strong chance that the answer will be yes for some companies.

Whatever the future, it’s an exciting time to be in publishing.



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