Catch a glimpse of SVOTS’ future through Vision 2020

St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (SVOTS) is beginning to roll out Vision 2020, a plan for the future of formation and education at the Seminary.

Vision 2020 incorporates changes in academic and community life at SVOTS to meet the increasingly diverse needs and vocational trajectories of our students. Through Vision 2020, SVOTS is firmly committing itself to residential programs as the ideal for Orthodox Christian theological education and formation in the twenty-first century—but the plan also opens the door for more hybrid/online programs.

Some of Vision 2020’s changes will be implemented starting in the 2018 fall semester. Among them, SVOTS is changing the number of credits required for the Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degrees, previously 60 and 90 credits, to ATS-required standards: 48 and 72 credits. This change is happening, among other reasons, in anticipation of the Seminary designing and implementing hybrid degree programs in the future—a change that would make it possible for students to transition from a residential program or a hybrid program to the other (and back!), all the while continuing to make progress toward completing their degree program. SVOTS is also making adjustments to the daily schedule in order to maximize the effectiveness of residential life for seminarians. Gone are evening class sessions, except for hybrid courses during their onsite intensive; instead, evenings will be kept free after vespers to allow for more study and reflection, family time, and other student and community activities. The brief, thirty-minute lunch-period is also giving way to an extended two-hour, mid-day block that will allow more time for community fellowship and dialogue between students and faculty. Assignment to a chapel choir will continue to be a residential requirement for all Eastern Orthodox students in the M.Div. and M.A. programs; rehearsal will normally meet on Thursday evening.

Other Vision 2020 changes will be implemented in the years ahead, including the implementation of degree concentrations for particular disciplines (e.g., Chaplaincy, Missiology, Sacred Arts, and so forth), to help prepare students for diverse vocations. The Seminary will also be incorporating spiritual formation groups to help further educate, train, and sanctify the entire person—body, mind, and soul—in preparation for a life of service in the Church.

Fall 2018 Class ScheduleFall 2018 Class ScheduleThe Seminary’s emphasis on Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) will continue under Vision 2020, as SVOTS is working towards becoming the first Orthodox center for CPE, a supervised and nationally-recognized program. A full unit of ACPE-accredited CPE requires a minimum of 400 hours, combining no less than 100 hours of instruction (i.e., group work, reflection, and didactics on the practice of ministry) with time in supervised ministry (i.e., the practice of ministry to persons). Additionally, by immediately becoming a satellite CPE center, SVOTS plans to begin offering this fall (and eventually requiring) parish-based CPE. This is a truly noteworthy program (unprecedented in the Orthodox world) for the pastoral and priestly formation of our M.Div. students.

Vision 2020 is all about maintaining and growing SVOTS’ excellent standards in educating and forming servants for the Church in the twenty-first century. Watch this space as Vision 2020 moves forward and more elements are added.