Senior Director of Accreditation
Barbara Mutch was appointed to the ATS staff as director of accreditation in September 2015, and was named senior director of accreditation in 2021. She oversees the accrediting staff, who report to her for supervision, goal setting, and development. Her work includes facilitating accrediting reviews, providing education and support to member schools about the process of accreditation, and providing staff support to the work of the Board of Commissioners of the ATS Commission on Accrediting.
Prior to coming to ATS, Mutch completed nearly 20 years of service at Carey Theological College in British Columbia, most recently as chief academic officer. She has taught courses in preaching, spiritual formation, issues in women’s faith and development, supervised ministry, and DMin theological reflection in ministry as well as a doctoral project seminar. She also taught at Regent College from 1996 to 2014, teaching a variety of courses including, most recently, the Seminar in Women’s Faith and Development.
In service to ATS, she contributed a chapter to the book C(H)AOS Theory: Reflections of Chief Academic Officers in Theological Education and an article on “Assessing a Doctor of Ministry Program” in the Theological Education journal. She has also served a full term on the ATS Board of Commissioners as well as on multiple comprehensive accrediting evaluation visits, and on the ATS Faculty Advisory Committee.
A graduate of Briercrest Bible College with both a Bachelor of Religious Education and a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Mutch earned her DMin at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is ordained in the Baptist Union of Western Canada and served as associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Regina, Saskatchewan, for 15 years while pursuing her graduate studies. In 2014, she was recognized as one of Canada’s preeminent preachers with the Lester Randall Preaching Fellowship at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.
Director of Accreditation
Elsie Miranda was named director of accreditation for ATS in July 2018. She is responsible for coordinating evaluation committees, visits, and reports for approximately 20 percent of the nearly 270 member schools accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of ATS. She previously served on the ATS committee for the Revision of Standards from 2012 to 2014, has served on many evaluation teams, and, more recently, she served as a member of a peer group examining programs for Latino/a students as part of the ATS Educational Models and Practices project. She comes to ATS after 22 years at Barry University Department of Theology and Philosophy, serving most recently as associate professor of practical theology and as director of ministerial formation. As a Cuban American and practical theologian, she has focused her research interests on the intersection of faith and how socio-culture and socio-political realities impact both human formation and efforts toward peace and justice at local and global levels.
Miranda is the past president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the United States (ACHTUS), for which she coordinated the first bilingual colloquium in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2016. Currently, she serves on the Formation and Religious Education Committee for the V Encuentro—a national conference on Hispanic Ministry in the United States coordinated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She is also an active member of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Association of Practical Theology. Her scholarship includes contributions to the edited volumes Hispanic Ministry in the 21st Century: Urgent Matters (Convivium Press, 2016) and Hispanic Ministry in the 21st Century: Present and Future (Convivium Press, 2010) and as coeditor and contributor to Calling for Justice Throughout the World, Catholic Women Theologians on the HIV AIDS Pandemic (Continuum Press, 2009). In her research and teaching, she continues to explore contemporary theological issues in the church and the world.
Miranda earned an MA in pastoral ministry from Boston College and a DMin in practical theology from Barry University.
Director Of Accreditation
412-788-6505, ext. 239
James R. Moore was named director of accreditation for ATS in 2021. He is responsible for facilitating accrediting reviews, providing education and support to member schools about the process of accreditation, and providing staff support to the work of the Board of Commissioners of the ATS Commission on Accrediting. Moore comes to ATS after 26 years at Trinity International University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He most recently served as associate professor of educational ministries at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School of Trinity International University. Moore’s other roles have included associate dean of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, assistant dean of Trinity Graduate School, and director of administration for doctoral programs. He has been an active accreditation visitor and provides experience in the Commission’s work with accreditation and with the schools. In 2020, he was elected vice chair of the ATS Board of Commissioners.
Moore also previously served as assistant pastor and director of Christian education at Lifeway Wesleyan Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and he was a public school teacher in Indiana and Illinois. He is an ordained minister in The Wesleyan Church and a member of the Wesleyan Theological Society. His articles appear in the Baker Dictionary of Christian Education, Theological Education, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Wesleyan Theological Journal, and Trinity Journal. He recently contributed “Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi: Advocate for Child-Centered Education” to A Legacy of Christian Educators, edited by Elmer Towns.
Moore earned his MA from Indiana Wesleyan University and his PhD from Trinity International University.
Director of Accreditation
412-788-6505, ext. 220
Valerie Rempel was named director of accreditation for ATS in 2021. She is responsible for facilitating accrediting reviews, providing education and support to member schools about the process of accreditation, and providing staff support to the work of the Board of Commissioners of the ATS Commission on Accrediting. Prior to accepting her role at ATS, Rempel most recently served as vice president and dean of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary at Fresno Pacific University. She joined the seminary faculty in 1996, was appointed dean in 2014, and became vice president in 2019.
Rempel also served at Fresno as associate professor and J.B. Toews Chair of History and Theology, and she was a past director of the Center for Anabaptist Studies. She is an experienced accreditation visitor and was a member of the ATS Redevelopment Task Force. Rempel was elected to the ATS Board of Commissioners in 2020. Her scholarship includes contributions to the California Mennonite Historical Society Bulletin, Direction, Conrad Grebel Review, and the Global Dictionary of Theology.
Rempel earned an MA from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (now Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary), and an MA and PhD from Vanderbilt University.
Director of Accreditation and Global Engagement
Director of Accreditation
412-788-6505, ext. 229
Tom Tanner joined the ATS staff in August 2012 after serving for 33 years in various academic leadership roles at Lincoln (IL) Christian University. As a director of accreditation, his work includes facilitating accrediting reviews, providing education and support to member schools about the process of accreditation, and providing staff support to the work of the Board of Commissioners of the ATS Commission on Accrediting.
Tanner served on many accreditation visits for decades before joining the ATS staff—for the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) since 1984 and for ATS since 2006—as well as serving on several joint regional accreditation visits with SACS and HLC. He has presented numerous self-study workshops for ATS, ABHE, and HLC. He also served as a board member and commission member for ABHE. Tanner is a licensed minister among Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, having served as resident and visiting minister for several congregations in Illinois. His published works include two books (What Ministers Know and Verses and Voices), numerous articles for various journals, and former editorship of the Journal for Biblical Higher Education. In addition, he has published numerous articles in Colloquy Online, the Association's newsletter
A graduate of Lincoln Christian University (BA and MDiv) and the University of Illinois (MA, MLIS, and PhD), Tanner holds degrees in ministry, New Testament, classical philology, and library and information science.
Director of Commission Information Services
Christopher The joined the staff of The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) as director, commission information services in February 2017. He is responsible for managing the official records of the ATS Commission on Accrediting, handling requests for Commission-related information, processing reports, petitions, and other Commission-required documents, and supporting the work of the ATS Board of Commissioners and the organization’s accrediting functions.
He came to ATS from Fuller Theological Seminary, where he served on staff as student records coordinator, as communications center officer, and as recorder in the Office of the Registrar. As a rising second-year doctoral student in 2014, The was invited by the Forum for Theological Exploration to participate in the Summit for Future Theological Educators of Color and the Summit on Christian Leadership. Subsequently, he was invited to serve on the editorial board for the Indonesian Journal of Theology, in which he has authored an article on practical theological resourcing of immigrant churches for civic engagement.
In 2016, he was named a fellow of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, which promotes First Amendment ideals through education and advocacy. Ordained in 2010 in the Assemblies of God, The has served as associate pastor to two southern California congregations, and he has been a featured speaker and has provided pulpit supply to a number of congregations in the San Gabriel Valley.
The earned an MAR in theology and ethics from Azusa Pacific University, an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, and he is presently a candidate for a PhD in practical theology.
Senior Director and COO
412-788-6505, ext. 232
Chris A. Meinzer, senior director and COO for The Association of Theological Schools (ATS), is a CPA with more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Since joining the ATS staff in 1999, he has provided oversight of ATS financial and business affairs as well as the ATS institutional database—a repository of institutional, enrollment, personnel, financial, and development data provided by ATS members. Meinzer has done extensive analysis and research of this data and presented his findings in a variety of settings to administrators and boards of theological schools.
In addition, he has provided counsel to ATS member schools on issues of finances, organizational planning, and strategic thinking. Through discussions with theological schools and their leadership, Meinzer has encouraged reflection on intergenerational stewardship and its impact on both academics and economics within these schools. He has designed and implemented a revision of the ATS Strategic Information Report, a useful strategic tool that provides ATS member schools with peer and industry data on a variety of market fundamentals.
Meinzer holds an accounting degree from The Pennsylvania State University and a Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Director of Information Technology
Chris Olsztyn joined the ATS staff in 2004. He is responsible for providing service and production support throughout the Association, managing hardware and software, network services, and data administration. In addition to determining strategies for the use of hardware and software within ATS, he maintains the Association’s computer network and manages the ATS database and website.
Prior to ATS, he was employed by the Pittsburgh CPA firm, Maher Duessel, as its director of information systems. He managed the technology services group, provided network and technology consulting services to clients, and assisted them in strategic technology planning and budgeting, as well as providing day-to-day technical support for the firm.
Olsztyn attended the University of Michigan, received his certificate from Computer Tech in Pittsburgh (majoring in network management/computer maintenance and repair), and has earned a CNE (Certified Novell Engineer) and his MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional).
Manager of Data and Reporting
Alissa Horton joined the staff of The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in 2010 to support the ATS business office and the information technology department. She was named manager of data and reporting in 2021 to take on new responsibilities that include collaborating on research projects through data scrubbing, manipulation, and visualization. She also oversees the Annual Report Form data collection, vetting, and reporting, and continues to support the information technology department.
Carola Molinares-Risch joined the ATS staff in October 2016. She works on the procurement of hotel contracts for all ATS meetings and acts as a liaison between hotels and ATS. In addition, she supports the work of Women in Leadership, the Committee on Race and Ethnicity, African American, Asian-descent, and Latino(a) presidents and deans, the Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers project, and global initiatives.
Molinares was a global account director for HPN Global prior to ATS, and brings more than 15 years of management experience in hospitality and meeting planning. A native of Colombia and bilingual in English and Spanish, she earned a degree in business administration and international relations from the Universidad Externado de Colombia.
Strategic Director of Design
Manager of Member Engagement
Director of Institutional Initiatives and Student Research
412-788-6505, ext. 248
Jo Ann Deasy joined the ATS staff in June 2014 as director, institutional initiatives and student research. Her responsibilities include coordinating the Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers initiative as well as the management, collection, and interpretation of data for the Entering Student, Graduating Student, and Alumni/ae Questionnaires. She also serves on the research team at ATS and recently contributed to research projects related to assessing spiritual and personal formation, women in leadership in theological education, and mapping the graduate workforce of ATS.
Deasy served for seven years as the dean of students and community life at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church, she has also served on staff at congregations in Duluth, Minnesota, and Mercer Island, Washington, and came to ATS from Sojourner Covenant Church in Evanston, Illinois, where she served as lead pastor for four years.
Deasy graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary with a PhD in congregational studies with an emphasis in congregational leadership and contextual theologies.
Director of Research and Faculty Development
Deborah H. C. Gin joined the ATS staff in August 2014 as director of research and faculty development. In addition to launching the Association’s new research initiative and directing programs for faculty, she contributes to the ongoing dialogue about educational models that will have future viability and sustainability. Gin came to ATS from Azusa Pacific University, where she served as a senior faculty fellow in the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment and as associate professor of ministry at Azusa Pacific Seminary. She previously served as director of assessment analysis and education and as director of diversity studies at Azusa.
Gin's areas of research include pedagogy, higher education administration, multicultural education engagement, and diversity inclusivity. Prior to coming to ATS, she received a research grant to pursue Asian American faculty perspectives on the pursuit of administration in higher education and presented at an international conference on multicultural education in Seoul, Korea. Her articles have appeared in To Improve the Academy, Theological Education, and Multicultural Education Review. Chapters she has published include ““Ruth: Identity and Leadership from Multivocal Spaces,” In Mirrored Reflections: Reframing Biblical Characters; “Loving My Neighbor,” in Strength to Be Holy; and “Asian American Ethnic/Racial Identity Development,” in Asian American Christianity: A Reader.
Gin is a regular blogger on leadership issues related to Asian American women, has been a frequent invited speaker on topics related to race, excellence, and inclusion, and is a member of the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ VALUE initiative Intercultural Competence rubric development team. She earned an MDiv from Haggard Graduate School of Theology, a master’s of music degree in vocal performance from the University of Southern California, and a PhD in higher education from Claremont Graduate University.
Strategic Director of Context and Continuity
Director of Leadership Education
Program Assistant for Initiatives and Faculty Development
Coordinator for Student Personnel and Questionnaires