Nation’s Oldest School of Theology Relocates to Yale

Yale Divinity School. (Photo courtesy of Yale)
Yale Divinity School. (Photo courtesy of Yale)

The nation’s oldest graduate school of theology is planning to relocate from Newton, Mass., to New Haven, Conn., where a small remnant of the faculty will teach on the campus of Yale Divinity School.

On Monday (May 2), Martin Copenhaver, president of Andover Newton Theological School, said he and the dean of the Yale Divinity School have forged a partnership that, if finalized, will phase out the Massachusetts campus and phase in a presence at Yale with a 2018 launch date.

In its new location, Andover Newton will function as a school within a school, to be known as “Andover Newton at Yale.” The school will shrink to a fraction of its current size as students take most of their courses with Yale professors.

The planned affiliation comes as mainline Protestant seminaries, squeezed by the economics of denominational decline, seek new lifelines in partnerships. Over the past 10 years, more than 10 independent theological schools have sought financial stability by teaming up with larger educational institutions, according to Daniel Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools.

As part of the partnership, 29 of Andover Newton’s 32 teaching positions, including tenured and short-term faculty, visiting professors and adjuncts, will be phased out. Andover Newton at Yale expects to employ four administrators, two professors and one temporary faculty member whose appointment will expire within four years.

“We would be getting smaller in any case because frankly, the demand is less,” Copenhaver said. “We have to be more focused … not just because of the finances, but more focused in order to fulfill our founding mission.”

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SOURCE: Religion News Service
G. Jeffrey MacDonald

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