James Kenneth Echols, president of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, will serve on the Association of Theological Schools' Task Force for Revision of Standards during the four-year review process, 2008 - 2012. Accrediting standards for theological schools were last revised between 1992 and 1996.
Echols served on the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) Executive Committee for six years and has chaired several ATS team visits to member schools seeking ten-year re-accreditation.
Changes in the church and changes in seminaries and theological schools will direct changes to the accreditation standards. The accrediting commission will seek a way to hold schools appropriately accountable while permitting a range of experimentation and innovation needed to prepare leaders in a changing world.
Task Force members are leaders at seminaries and theological schools of many denominations from across the United States and Canada.
James Kenneth Echols is a native of Philadelphia and was dean at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia prior to becoming president of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He is published in the areas of church history, theology and Black American Lutheranism. Echols received his master of divinity degree from at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia and the master of arts, master of philosophy and doctor of philosophy degrees from Yale University. President Echols returned to the classroom in 2005 to team-teach a course on Martin Luther King Jr. He is the editor of I Have a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Future of Multicultural America (Fortress Press, Minneapolis.) He has been president of LSTC since 1997.
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The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.