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Founded in 1938 as a Pastoral School by resolution of the 6th All-American Sobor of the Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in North America (North American Metropolia), the Seminary has historically grown on the fertile soil of the Orthodox faith, supported by the deep faith and love of several generations of Orthodox people, nourished by its Russian Orthodox roots, and reaching into the deep-flowing waters of a 2000-year spiritual and cultural tradition. Officially transformed from a Pastoral School into a Seminary by the Holy Synod of the Metropolia in 1942, the Seminary has visibly progressed along the educational path determined by its founders.

In 1967, the Seminary was chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A formal credit transfer agreement with Marywood College (now Marywood University), in nearby Scranton, was articulated and signed in 1975. In 1988, the Seminary was authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to award the Master of Divinity (M. Div.) degree to its graduates. The first M. Div. degrees were conferred on the graduating class of 1989.

In June 2004, the Seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS).


Go to Mission & Philosophy

 As an institution of higher education of the Orthodox Church in America, St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary seeks to fulfill its guiding mission – “The primary mission of the Seminary lies in providing the necessary theological, liturgical, spiritual, and moral foundations for Orthodox men to become, as God so wills, good shepherds of His Holy Orthodox Church. At the same time, however, the Seminary also recognizes that many individuals choose to enroll in a professional theological training program for the fulfillment of needs other than those of ordained ministry.”  

Fulfilling this mission for the almost 80 years, St. Tikhon’s Seminary has acted as a major center of formation for those seeking to serve the Orthodox Church in various ministry capacities within North America and abroad. To equip prospective students and institutional observers with accurate information regarding the success of our program in effectively fulfilling our mission, we offer the following information in reference to the effectiveness of our program, with evidence drawn from the findings of student portfolio evaluations, student responses to the Graduating Student Questionnaire (GSQ) developed by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), and data findings related to other assessment instruments utilized by the institution:

  1. Tikhon’s Seminary Master of Divinity Program is situated within a tight-knit community of learning, which members have consistently described as allowing for significant interaction between faculty and students. An internal review of course enrollments from the years 2009-2016, for example, found an average Student-Faculty ratio of 11:1 for all courses taught at the Seminary during this period. This relatively small class size allows our students to have significant interaction with dedicated Faculty, expert in their respective fields, both inside and outside the classroom. As our program also incorporates a field education component, the student-faculty ratio provides for close supervision and guidance in practical, hands-on experiences within ministry settings (i.e., prison, nursing home, and hospital). Due to this tightknit community of learning Student satisfaction of accessibility to faculty members is consistently manifested in student GSQ responses across AY2011-2012 to AY 2014-2015 (Means of 4.0, 4.1, 4.3, and 4.0 respectively with 5.0 =”Very Satisfied” and 4.0=”Satisfied).

 

  1. Seeking to provide for the fullest educational experience possible, as well as to ensure a high quality of instruction, the majority of the Seminary’s graduate level M.Div. courses are taught by members of the full-time Faculty who are specialists in their respective fields possessed of terminal research and professional degrees. An internal review of all M.Div. level courses offered from AY2009-2010 to AY 2015-2016 found that on average 67.7 % of all graduate M.Div. level courses were taught by members of the full-time faculty.

 

  1. Building a graduate level program of pastoral formation that springs from its primary mission, the Seminary’s Master of Divinity Program possesses clearly defined programmatic outcomes which include the following:

Intended Program Outcome 1: Model graduates understand the scholarly literature of the various disciplines of theological and pastoral education and related areas;

Intended Program Outcome 2: Model graduates know how to conduct scholarship in the various theological disciplines. They are able to do this both independently and in collaboration with others;

Intended Program Outcome 3: Model graduates display interest, ability, and quality of participation in the religious and     liturgical life of the ecclesial community;

Intended Program Outcome 4: Model graduates will have begun to assume ecclesial and professional responsibilities. This includes ordination to Holy Orders and/or other professional participation in ecclesial life, service to local parish communities and clergy brotherhoods, as well as diocesan and national ecclesial structures;

Intended Program Outcome 5: Model graduates have developed interest and ability in communicating in appropriate ways with a variety of audiences. This variety of audiences includes clergy audiences, audiences of professionals specializing in theological and religious education and related fields, and lay audiences;

Professional Competency 1: The ability to integrate and synthesize Orthodox theological understanding with reference to Scriptural revelation, apostolic preaching and patristic teaching, in the context of the historical experience of the Church and practical situations of contemporary Christian living;

Professional Competency 2: The ability to engage, on personal and community levels, in prayer and theological reflection through familiarity with the liturgical and doctrinal content of the Orthodox Faith, and with methods of patristic spirituality;

Professional Competency 3: The ability to clearly articulate essential theological concepts of Orthodox doctrine and praxis through preaching, teaching, and writing; and to provide necessary leadership and counsel in the exercise of the public ministry of the Church;

Professional Competency 4: The ability to understand in theological terms the historical contexts and cultural frameworks within which the Church is called to live and minister; and

Professional Competency 5: The ability to understand and practice ministry in an appropriate professional style.

Faculty evaluation of student attainment of these outcomes through the direct assessment of student work product provided in the form of portfolios submitted at the end of a M.Div. course of study reveals consistent manifestations of the outcomes intended to be achieved and competencies intended to be instilled within our graduates. Faculty evaluator data from portfolio assessments for the classes of 2012 -2015 reveals aggregated mean scores 3.46, 3.60, 3.52; and 3.67 respectively across all programmatic outcome areas, with 4.0 indicating “Excellent” manifestations of an intended outcome within submitted portfolio works.    

  1. Through the blending of experiences in communal worship with academic experiences that integrate theory and practice, we believe that our Seminary provides a learning environment in which our students become deeply immersed in the Orthodox Tradition, and a synthesis of theoretical and practical knowledge necessary for ministry takes place. We can note here that several data points give us reason to draw this conclusion. In GSQ responses from AY2011-2012 and AY2012-2013, students describe having a stronger respect for their own religious tradition through the program (means of 4.8 and 4.1 respectively with 5.0 indicating “Much Stronger”; see GSQ Data Report Table 12 for both years). GSQ responses from AY2013-2014 and 2014-2015 also describe the program as being effective in developing understandings of one’s own religious tradition (means of 3.6 and 4.5 respectively with 5.0 indicating “Very Effective”). In the recent Tikhon’s Seminary Alumni Survey of Seminary Experience, 95.4% of graduate participants reported receiving superior or Adequate preparation (63.9% and 30.6% respectively) in sharing the theology and tradition of the Church with parishioners, and 83.3% described receiving superior or adequate preparation (44.4% and 38.9% respectively) in sharing the theology and Tradition of the Church with those outside the Orthodox Faith. In terms of the integration of theory and practice, GSQ results find students describing strong agreement with the statement: “I have been able to integrate the theology and practice of ministry (means of 4.3 among AY2011-2012 respondents; 4.1 among AY2012-2013 respondents; 4.8 among 2013-2014 respondents; and 4.7 among AY2014-2015 respondents, with 5.0= ”Strongly Agree”).      

 

  1. The Seminary’s academic program is supported by a library collection that fully supports M.Div. level research which is presently accessible on a 24 hour basis, seven days a week. A recent 2016 survey of Library services responded to by 28 members of the Seminary community, showed an overall satisfaction rate of 89.2% with the library and the services it provides; 92.8% with the assistance of Library Staff; a 88.8% level of satisfaction with the hours of operation; and 74.9% describing satisfaction with the computer services provided within the library. Beyond this, 82% of respondents described the collection as adequate for their research needs; 82.1% described the library staff as approachable, knowledgeable, and helpful; and 89% described the hours of operation as being convenient to their study schedule.

 

  1. As for the perspectives to the overall Seminary experience, Student GSQ data consistently reveals the highest student satisfaction with our program providing for experiences that are integral to the formation and development of vocation shown below:

 

GSQ Responses Concerning Development of Key Ministerial Capacities

 

Area

AY2011-2012

(8 Resp.)

AY2012-2013

(8 Resp.)

AY 2013-2014

(5 Resp.)

AY 2014-2015

(4 Resp.)

AY11-12 to 14-15

(25 Resp.)

Ability to preach well

 

Ability to use and interpret Scripture

 

Ability to give spiritual direction

 

Knowledge of church doctrine and history

 

Ability to work effectively within my own religious tradition

 

Ability to work effectively with both women and men

 

 

Ability to think theologically

4.0

 

4.0

 

3.8

 

4.4

 

 

4.4

 

 

--

 

 

4.2

4.3

 

3.8

 

3.8

 

4.0

 

 

4.1

 

 

--

 

 

4.3

4.4

 

4.2

 

3.8

 

3.8

 

 

3.6

 

 

3.8

 

 

4.4

4.7

 

4.0

 

3.7

 

4.0

 

 

4.0

 

 

4.0

 

 

4.3

4.35

 

4.0

 

3.8

 

4.1

 

 

4.0

 

 

3.9

 

 

4.3

 

In the Likert Response Scale 5.0 = “Very Effective” (AY2013-2014; AY2014-2015); “Very Satisfied “(2011-2012;2012-2013)

 

  1. The Seminary community is diverse in its makeup which has been manifest across its history in enrolling students from all parts of the world who belong to numerous Patriarchates and Autocephalous Orthodox Churches. This list includes students from all regions of the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Albania, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Georgia, Serbia, Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Student perceptions of the diversity of our community has been acknowledged in GSQ findings as well, with consistent student agreement with the statements: “The school has tried to be a diverse and inclusive community” (mean of 4.3 among respondents for AY2011-2012; 3.3 for AY 2012-2013; 4.3 for AY2013-2014; 4.3 for AY2014-2015, with 5.0=Strongly Agree); and, “I have come to know students from other ethnic groups (mean of 4.9 among AY2011-2012 respondents; 4.0 AY2012-2013; 4.7 AY2013-2014; and 4.8 AY2014-2015, with 5.0= “Strongly Agree”). Further diversity has been added by the presence of women students in the classes of 2014 and 2017 as well.

 

The diversity of our Seminary is also manifest in the ministry experiences of our graduates. St. Tikhon’s graduates serve in ministry capacities within the Orthodox Church in America, as well as in various Orthodox Church communities. These communities include parishes and institutions of the Antiochian and Greek Archdioceses, the Moscow Patriarchate, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, the Romanian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, as well as of the Malankara Orthodox Church.

 

  1. The effectiveness of the program can also be measured in terms of the percentage of graduates that have gone on to fulfill an active ministry within the Church. From 2002-2016, 192 students have graduated from the Seminary’s Master of Divinity Program. Alumni data shows that 157 of these graduates (81.7%) have gone to serve the Church in a significant ministry capacity. 135 of graduates from 2002 to 2016 (70.3%) have gone on to serve the needs of the Church in an ordained ministry. Another 22 graduates (11.4%) have gone on to serve in a significant lay capacity. These lay ministries have included individuals serving as choir directors, lay missionaries, monastics, those in youth ministry, as well as those serving within Orthodox service institutions and seminaries. Through institutional experience, we anticipate that the percentage of recent graduates who go on to an ordained ministry will rise beyond present levels as diocesan hierarchs fill pressing pastoral needs and graduates solidify personal situations and seek ordination.

To continue ensure the efficacy of our program, St. Tikhon’s Seminary utilizes a variety of assessment measures that seek to gather information from our students and from our graduates. These measures act as a basis for collecting perspectives that help inform and shape institutional decision-making processes regarding our policies and program, and help provided the perspectives presented above.

Fall 2017

 

 
 

 
Contact the Seminary

   Post Office Box 130
   South Canaan, PA 18459

   Phone:  570-561-1818

   info@stots.edu
 
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