As the ATS Committee on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) infuses new energy into its programming,it is worth reviewing the research findings that are driving the initiative.
Committee on Race and Ethnicity
The work of the ATS Committee on Race and Ethnicity in Theological Education (CORE) addresses both the concerns of racial/ethnic persons in theological education and institutional practices. The purpose of the committee includes leadership development of racial/ethnic persons; collecting data on the hiring, retention, and promotion of racial/ethnic persons at member schools; and emphasizing mentoring by and for racial/ethnic persons to ensure their retention and enhance their well-being.
In light of this, ATS facilitated a series of webinars throughout 2013–2015 to provide ongoing support for the 40 schools that participated in the "Preparing for 2040" consultations. The goal was to provide schools with resources that would (1) enable schools to define success in their efforts related to racial/ethnic diversity; (2) help schools think critically and theologically about issues related to race, ethnicity, and diversity; and (3) guide schools with regard to practical institutional or educational steps to take on issues related to race and ethnicity.
A major evaluation of the impact of 14 years of CORE work was conducted during the 2016 biennium. The results of the evaluation efforts were drawn from the reflections of the CORE and its consultants, the constituent survey, the consultation with faculty and staff, and the consultation with students and recent graduates. These varied data gathering processes helped to shape priorities for a grant proposal to fund the focus of the work moving forward. The current work of the ATS staff and CORE advisory committee involves the following areas as priorities:
- providing resources for schools such as Engage ATS (an online community for those who work at ATS member schools to network and share resources) as they encounter different institutional tasks related to race, ethnicity, and diversity; the resources will provide the basis for ongoing support of schools;
- working with an identified group of member schools on educational effectiveness with racial/ethnic students; teams of faculty and students from participating schools will work with coaches and consultants for two years to identify educational issues of importance for each participating school and develop strategies that address those issues; and
- engaging activities to strengthen collaborative relationships with HTIC, FTE, Louisville Institute, HSP, AETH, In Trust, Wabash Center, and other entities regarding overall systems of support and engagement for racial/ethnic seminary students, PhD students, faculty, administrative staff, and institutions committed to serving racial/ethnic constituencies.