Earlier this year, Reformed Theological Seminary hosted visitation teams from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). These accreditation visits, which happen once every 10 years, involve peer reviews of our educational curricula, student services, and financial practices. In addition to measuring compliance to established standards, SACS invites each school to identify an area it seeks to improve through a carefully crafted five-year Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). Last spring, RTS presented a plan to integrate the Westminster Standards even more fully into its Master of Divinity (MDiv) curriculum.
In 2020, five RTS faculty members (Dr. John Fesko, Dr. Tommy Keene, Mr. John Muether [chair], Dr. Blair Smith, and Dr. Charlie Wingard) joined Angela Queen, Director of Academic Administration, to form the QEP Steering Committee. A cross-section of four campuses (Jackson, Orlando, Charlotte, and Washington, D.C.) and three fields (biblical studies, systematic and historical theology, and pastoral theology) were all represented on the committee.
Over the course of two years, the committee reviewed where the Westminster Standards touched the MDiv curriculum, surveyed graduates, and conducted focus group meetings with alumni. Based on the data gathered, the committee developed a plan for more comprehensive coverage of the standards beyond systematic theology and church history courses. In addition to a general competency in the standards, the focus fell on equipping students to practice the standards in pastoral ministry, including worship, prayer, preaching, discipleship, and counseling. In these areas, the temptation is strong to separate Reformed faith and practice. RTS is excited about deepening the imprint of the Westminster Standards in its MDiv curriculum.