The Myth of the Shrinking Faculty

Date: April 3, 2023

Last week, I did address the perception raised at Dean’s Table about the size of the Faculty. In terms of salary lines, I explained that actually the Faculty is slightly larger. Yet the perception continues. So I thought one further commentary might assist the conversation.

What is true is that the shape of the Faculty has changed. And the community might well disagree about the direction that Melody and I have taken, but it is worth explaining so that at least we all understand the situation. Melody and I are seeking to broaden the canon of topics that make up a seminary education. So key appointments include the Rev. Dr. Joseph Thompson in the area of Race and Ethnicity Studies, Dr. Sharon Heaney as an Assistant Professor of Theology and Latin American Studies, and the Rev. Rachelle Sam who will be teaching in the area of Chaplaincy (a key growth area for us) and is doing a doctorate in Educational Leadership. These appointments stretch the curriculum in a healthy way, while adding to our depth in key administrative areas.

In addition, when I arrived we did not have a professor of liturgy on the Faculty, now we have two. The Theology team still includes the Rev. Dr. Kate Sonderegger and the Sprigg Visiting Professor of Philosophical Theology and Ethics, Dr. John Knight. We still have three in Old Testament; and our director of CACS, the Rev. Dr. Kathy Grieb, is still teaching alongside the Rev. Dr. John Yieh. And just to reassure you all, we have more than sufficient faculty to teach our relatively small Masters’ students – remember the load for a regular Faculty is five courses; so our Faculty Student ratio remains excellent.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President of Virginia Theological Seminary and President of The General Theological Seminary

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