This is the first of two articles exploring denominational and religious affiliations of students in ATS schools. Thanks to new guidelines created by the Research and Data Advisory Committee under the direction of Deborah H. C. Gin, director of research and faculty development at ATS, individuals may request data for their own research and scholarship.
Recent ATS research on special topics in theological education
Specific lines of inquiry and research methods are built into each major initiative that ATS undertakes with external funding. In addition, the research team and outside consultants engage in special research projects to support a broad understanding of theological education.
As each ATS research project is completed, it is disseminated in a variety of ways to ensure maximum accessibility to the full membership of ATS, not only on this website but also through presentations at ATS education events, Colloquy Online, and in ATS social media channels.
Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers (ECFFM)
Educational Models and Practices (EMP)
Race and ethnicity
Science in Seminaries
Student Questionnaires and Research on Students
Women in Leadership (WIL)
Find out more
- ATS schools' spending amid pandemic sheds light on tough decisions made by leaders—An analysis of expenditures over the last year and in the midst of the pandemic provides some insight into the challenging and important decisions ATS school administrators had to make and continue to make to navigate through these unchartered waters; watch a brief video clip to learn more
- Predicting school closures and merger among the ATS membership—patterns in the last 15 years of data yield statistically significant results that may provide some direction for schools as they consider their futures in the midst of economically challenging times; watch a brief video clip to learn more
- Five things we learned about assessing personal and spiritual formation—what does formation mean in ATS schools, and how do we assess whether it is occurring?
- How ATS schools are responding to COVID-19 crisis—survey asked participants about the challenges their schools are facing, how they are addressing those challenges, lessons they have learned, and questions that remain
- Changing landscapes—insights from ATS studies on leadership—ATS is presently completing studies of six leadership groups to better understand the state of each role and to gather insight into current and future needs and challenges
- Data visualization: 2019–20 enrollment update now available—ATS published an update to the data visualization tool, adding enrollment data that schools submitted for the 2019–20 academic year
- Data visualization: ATS launches interactive tool—the tool allows engagers to slice and view the data in a variety of ways to address questions that are meaningful to them
- Student religious and denominational affiliation trends in ATS schools—the first of two articles exploring denominational and religious affiliations of students in ATS schools
- The priorities you named—ATS collected member schools' responses on the ATS Strategic Priorities Survey, as part of a strategic prioritization process the ATS Board of Directors initiated
- Mission & Money: Are yours in alignment?—a practical approach to ensuring that all your resources are working toward your school’s goals
- Five things we’ve learned about assessing personal and spiritual formation—a survey reveals who’s taking charge of formation, where it is happening, and 28 different tools being used to assess it
- Six ways ARDA can shed light on schools' religious contexts—the ARDA currently offers many free online and interactive resources that can stimulate important conversations
This collection of research on financial issues, conducted by ATS, participating schools, and other entities, includes topics such as educational debt, financial literacy, and the cost and structure of theological schools.
- Economic realities among seminary graduates—a survey of graduates from 2011 and 2015 to determine their experiences with educational debt, strategies schools are using to address financial literacy and student debt, and the impact of debt on financial decision making—available in Powerpoint or video
- Educational debt among recent graduates—six data slides are updated each year with current data
- School practices around money and student debt—an analysis presented at the 2018 Biennial Meeting of data reported by ECFFM participating schools
- Theological Education issue dedicated to ECFFM—articles addressed understanding financial issues, research on the impact of financial issues, and practices to address economic challenges
This four-year project incorporated a series of investigations into how schools are engaging and experimenting with various curricular and extra-curricular programmatic efforts.
- What do alums wish they had learned in seminary?—In 2017, as part of the Educational Models Workforce Mapping project, ATS conducted a study on alums from member schools. One of the survey questions explored the preparation gap of alums with the question “What was not offered, but you wish you could have learned, in seminary/theological school?”
- Mapping survey of program developments and plans—an online survey of 226 schools to determine the full range of programs—beyond degree programs—and their effectiveness, featuring the input of deans and program directors
- Research reports from 18 peer groups—investigations of particular kinds of innovations such as accelerated programs, programs for special constituencies, global engagement, new institutional structures, and alternate delivery methods
- Workforce mapping study—a survey of more than 940 graduates of member schools to determine where they are serving and in what capacities as well as required competencies and adequacy of their preparation—also available is a full report on competencies
- ATS analyzes fall 2020 admissions statistics of member schools—Did the positive news in overall enrollment increases from fall 2020 result from a good year in new admissions or something else? Perhaps a little bit of both. Watch a brief video clip to learn more.
- An enrollment surprise—more ATS schools grow than decline for first time since 2006—In terms of a year-over-year comparison by school, 54% of ATS schools had enrollment increases and 46% of ATS schools had enrollment decreases; watch a brief video clip to learn more
- Reports of the MDiv's death are greatly exaggerated—“If the MDiv is ‘dying,’ why do 40% of all ATS students continue to enroll in it?”
- Enrollment projections suggest continued long-term shifts among degree programs—with 85% of schools reporting, the news is not so much about totals as it is about distribution
- ATS provides preview of 2018–2019 enrollment—with two-thirds of member schools reporting so far, some patterns have emerged that include both upticks and declines
- Luce Fellowship’s quarter-century impact on the public square—ATS undertook a three-phased research project in the 2019–20 academic year to assess the impact of the ATS Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology Program (Luce Fellowship) that ran from 1994 to 2018
- Faculty development—a three-phase investigation looking at understandings of collective vocation, motivations for scholarship, and perceptions of online teaching—available in a full-length report or a short summary
- Faculty engagement with multicultural education—a survey of faculty that identifies two models of faculty engagement of diversity inclusivity
- Changes in faculty work—a 2011 survey of 192 faculty members about their work and attitudes in an environment of change
- ATS work through the Committee on Race and Ethnicity, 2000-2014—an in-depth examination of history, accomplishments, and future plans in the Theological Education journal
- How well are we doing on race? A realistic assessment rooted in research—results from a 2014-2015 survey of more than 175 past CORE participants
- How'd We Do? A Review of the Research of ATS' Work through CORE—an illustrated presentation on results from a 2014-2015 survey of more than 175 past CORE participants
A three-phase project designed to understand the baseline of faculty and institutional engagement at the intersection of science and theology
- Engaging Science in Seminaries Phase 1: Faculty Perceptions—a survey of 739 faculty members at 186 Protestant member institutions regarding the extent of science engagement in the classroom, student interest in scientific topics, potential controversies at the intersection of faith and science, and science and faculty scholarship, featured in both the Theological Education journal and Colloquy Online.
- Engaging Science in Seminaries Phase 2: Institutional Engagement—interviews with key informants at 30 Protestant theological schools featured both in Colloquy Online and a full report
- Engaging Science in Seminaries Phase 3: Document Review—an in-depth look at course syllabi, websites, partnerships, and conferences that evidence institutional engagement featured in Colloquy Online and a full report
- Engaging Science in Seminaries Final Report—the collective findings of all phases of the research project
- What do seminary graduates want to do with their degrees?”—ATS recently compiled data from the Graduating Student Questionnaires (GSQ) administered from 2001 through 2017 to understand the vocational goals of graduates and the implication of these goals for theological education
- Lower debt, more hybrid courses, and shifts in vocational goals: A report from the 2018-2019 ATS graduates—feedback from the ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire provides graduate perceptions of their experiences of theological education, and these perceptions help us to evaluate our institutions to improve and enhance how we accomplish our missions as theological schools.
- Getting there: seven practices to support successful women in theological education—a survey of nearly 600 women reveals the personal habits and institutional practices that work for women aspiring to positions of leadership
- Women in Leadership survey: what we found may not be what you think—a summary of the impact of 20 years of programming
- In Your Own Words—an in-depth look at the perspectives of women in theological education, presented at the WIL 20th Anniversary Celebration
- Women in ATS schools: 8 data points for conversation—select data about women in ATS member schools and religious higher education