Academic Life at LSTC
Academic study at LSTC springs from the interests and purposes that each person brings to theological education. Some students come to LSTC with a strong sense of calling to ordained ministry. Others hope to become religious educators in local congregations, or serve as college or seminary professors. Still others desire to serve as chaplains, community organizers, counselors, leaders in youth and family ministry, or leaders in environmental ministry and other endeavors that foster peace and justice. Some students come to LSTC uncertain of where their vocational path will lead but deeply motivated to learn by their passionate interest in theology, their desire to serve God and humanity in some meaningful way, and/or their hope to grow in faith.
Whatever motivates you to consider coming to seminary, here is what you can expect of the academic environment at LSTC:
- A full-time faculty of 19 persons is committed to creating an academic environment that will foster your intellectual, moral, and spiritual growth. They bring to this ministry intellectual and spiritual heritages from several communities (African American, Brazilian, Danish, German, Puerto Rican, Swedish; U.S. and international; rural, urban, and suburban), and deep commitment to teaching and learning in and for a multicultural world. The LSTC faculty is living into its identity as one of the most culturally diverse seminary faculties in the U.S. and Canada.
- Six faculty members live full- or part-time in seminary housing, and eleven live in Hyde Park or very nearby Chicago neighborhoods. A few faculty members have homes and loved ones a long distance from the LSTC campus, thus sharing with some commuter students the joys and challenges of honoring the relationship between loyalty to family and loyalty to the call to discipleship.
- There are five seminaries within walking distance of LSTC, making it easy to take advantage of the opportunity to cross-register for courses that is provided by LSTC's participation in the Association for Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS). Altogether, 11 theological schools cooperate in ACTS, making it possible to cross-register free of charge in eleven other seminaries and to take courses at the University of Chicago Divinity School at a reduced rate. Together, the schools within ACTS offer an enormously rich network of resources for theological education, making Chicago one of the leading centers of theological education in the world. The total enrollment of ACTS schools includes over 3500 students and a faculty of some 300. To see the array of courses in ACTS, click on the ACTS Online Catalog.
- Living across the street from a major university divinity school, the LSTC community is enriched by the array of free public lectures and events that take place at the University of Chicago as well as its concerts, its documentary film series, and its new recreational facility.
- Academic study at LSTC is enhanced by the JKM Library, which contains more than 460,000 items and over 900 domestic and foreign periodicals, making it one of the largest theological collections in the United States. LSTC students also have access to the theological libraries of the ACTS member schools, as well as the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago, which is within easy walking distance of the LSTC campus. The Language, Resource, and Writing Center (LRWC) (a joint program of LSTC and McCormick Theological Seminary) offers learning partners who work collaboratively with students who want to improve their writing, research, study, and speaking skills, and houses a computer laboratory in which students may write papers or do Internet research.
- LSTC has a 4-1-4 academic calendar. The fall semester is a 15-week term that includes a four-day orientation, 13 weeks of course instruction, and one reading week/Thanksgiving recess. The interlude between semesters is the January or "J" Term, which offers the opportunity to study one subject in an intensive manner, through travel seminars or on-campus coursework. The spring semester is a 15-week term that includes 13 weeks of instruction, a reading week, and a concluding week between the end of classes and graduation that is set aside for farewell events and end-of-year wrap-ups. Click on Academic Calendar for the specific dates of each term.
- As noted in the preface to this overview, students bring a variety of ministry and academic interests to LSTC. As you read about the various emphases and programs of LSTC, you will also be encouraged to think about academic life at LSTC as an ongoing invitation to bring your unique interests and goals to your academic advisor, as well as your other teachers and the academic dean. You may choose:
- To study abroad for a semester or a year
- To undertake special study in the U.S. for period of time
- To explore subjects you never imagined you'd be interested in
- To explore new ministries through LSTC's "Ministry in Context" and internship programs