The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) has received a gift of $500,000 to promote experimentation and new approaches to education for ministry. The Lyn C. and Stewart W. Herman Jr. Fund for Innovation in Theological Education was established by Dr. Stewart W. Herman III in thanksgiving for the life and witness of his parents. The endowment will provide funding for faculty projects to enrich the seminary curriculum by encouraging the development of bold ideas and new directions in preparing leaders for new forms of ministry.
“Dr. Herman has done something rare in the world of theological education by providing the resources for faculty members to design new approaches to instruction attentive to issues that are only still unfolding,” said James Nieman, president of LSTC. “The creation of the Fund comes at an opportune moment, just as our faculty is redesigning the curriculum to form leaders better able to foster a ‘public church’ deeply engaged with our wider cultural context and its emerging ministry needs.”
Examples of the type of projects faculty may propose include community involvement in Chicago and the region, developing innovative pedagogies, exploring forms of contextual learning that involve local ministers, enriching teaching by sending an LSTC faculty member to teach abroad, encouraging student-driven educational experiments overseen by a professor, and exposing students to new voices through residency programs.
Reflecting on his purposes in establishing the Fund, Herman noted the values of his father, the Rev. Dr. Stewart Herman Jr., who became the first president of LSTC exactly fifty years ago. “My father shaped LSTC to be a dynamic, forward-looking presence of the church in the city. He encouraged faculty and students to look out through the thin glass walls that separated the school from Hyde Park and envision how new forms of ministry might develop.”
“What I received as a gift, I feel obliged to pass on as a gift. It is my hope that students and faculty will be inspired by this steady stream of significant funding to come up with ambitious new ideas and projects which otherwise would not be possible,” Herman continued. “These projects should demonstrate how the church can be a creative, reconciling agent in the world.”
A granting committee consisting of the president and three faculty members will oversee the Fund’s administration, review faculty proposals, and award the grants. Projects will be chosen for their positive impact on the learning and formation of students preparing for ministry. Grant proposals from LSTC faculty members will be submitted by May 2014, with awards for the 2014-15 academic year announced during the ensuing summer.
Mark Van Scharrel
Vice President for Advancement
Director of Communication and Marketing
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.