Naturally, all of us closely associated with Perkins regard our school as a dynamic and vital partner with the church. Nevertheless, it is important from time to time to have the value of one’s work assessed by an impartial source. For that reason, last year all 13 United Methodist schools of theology commissioned a detailed study by Dr. Daniel O. Aleshire, who until recently served as the Executive Director of The Association of Theological Schools. (Dr. Aleshire worked for ATS for 27 years and is the preeminent authority on theological education in America.)
The new study comes at a challenging time for seminaries. One issue it addressed concerns the fact that there are 13 United Methodist seminaries in the U.S., including Perkins.
Given widespread decline in enrollment (though Perkins itself has bucked this trend in recent years) and denominational discord, is that number justifiable? The results suggest that each of the U.M. theological schools plays a crucial role in developing Wesleyan church leaders – including the majority of United Methodist ordination candidates. The long-term picture, however, is less clear.