Educational Philosophy

Our educational philosophy emphasizes the methods and processes of education as much as the content of theological inquiry. Responsive to the individual student’s goals and approaches to learning, the curriculum fosters the integration of study, worship, field education, and community life. While students’ strengths and goals form the cornerstone of this educational endeavor, faculty guidance and evaluation are an integral part of the process.

The academic resources of affiliated schools and field education settings in surrounding communities further enrich the learning experience for students enrolled in our traditional program. Distributive learning students benefit from resources in their home communities and dioceses or judicatories, as well as the online community consisting of their cohort group, faculty advisors, and the simulcast classroom experience.

The educational program acknowledges the variety in students’ social locations, life experiences, preparation, and plans for ministry; the curriculum is therefore competence based. Fulfilling degree requirements involves articulating learning goals and acquiring and demonstrating the skills implicit in those goals, as well as demonstrating competence in seven areas of theological study when studying toward the MDiv degree, and two areas when studying toward the MATS degree. The curriculum includes faculty-student conference groups, which help ensure that students’ programs of study have academic shape, support, and accountability to the curriculum. In these conferences, the integration of learning, working, reflecting, and praying takes place.

Central to EDS’s educational programs and formation is our emphasis on antiracist and multicultural learning. By antiracism, we mean working against the systemic oppression of people of color at the personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural levels. Multiculturalism refers to recognizing, understanding, and appreciating one’s own culture as well as the cultures of others. Multiculturalism stresses the social construction of differences—race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, sexual identity, religion, and physical ability—and the impact of these constructs on our learning, living, and ministry.