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Filling the Blanks With Fuller

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS)


Fuller Theological Seminary, accredited by ATS,  is one of the many contacts for ATS. 

"8. Is Fuller Theological Seminary accredited?

Yes. Fuller Theological Seminary is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada, as well as by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This accreditation also applies to the Individualized Distance Learning program."

From their web site about Theological Schools of North America, Index, 

“This Web resource is provided by Fuller Theological Seminary to assist those who are in search of information regarding graduate theological education. The attempt here is to index graduate, degree-granting Christian and Jewish theological schools. This index includes those schools accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) as well as other institutions not accredited by ATS. Appearance on this index does not constitute any kind of endorsement.”

Association of Theological Schools > >  ATS is an interdenominational consensus builder providing direction and project support for theological schools. The goals include working with government departments in order to become more aligned and acceptable in the public sector. The four core functions of the Association are Accreditation, Leadership Education, Development of Theological Education, and Data and Communications.

Denominations involved in ATS are from across the spectrum of beliefs, ranging from Catholic to Seventh Day Adventist. During the past decade, ATS has received grants from Lilly Endowment, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Teagle Foundation, the Carpenter Foundation, and others. 

From the ATS web site, Denominational Members, found at 

Includes: Baptists, Lutherans, Christian and Missionary Alliance, Presbyterian; Roman Catholic; Interdenominational/Multidenominational; United Church of Canada; Seventh-day Adventist; Anglican Episcopal Church, Pentecostal and so on. Some of the ones we've noted are:

Fuller Theological Seminary [Dr. Richard Mouw]

Regent University School of Divinity ~ Vinson Synan, Dean Of School Of Divinity

Assemblies of God Theological Seminary

George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR) [Quaker]

Haggard School of Theology, Azusa Pacific University [Pew Trusts Grants]
Dallas Theological Seminary [Chuck Swindoll, Walvrood, Ryrie]
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary [Founded by
Billy Graham, Harold Ockenga & Pew Charitable Trusts]
Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary (VA) [
Jerry Falwell, CNP]
Knox Theological Seminary [
D. James Kennedy, CNP] 
Multnomah Biblical Seminary [Joseph Aldrich]
Oral Roberts University School of Theology
Princeton Theological Seminary
Reformed Theological Seminary 
Regent College [associated with Fuller Theological Seminary]
Regent University School of Divinity [
Pat Robertson]
Talbot School of Theology of Biola University

(The) Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley (CA)

The ATS website provides official information regarding the requirements to be accredited by ATS. These excerpts reveal the control of ATS and direction required by schools and leadership in order to be listed as an approved source of religious belief. 

ATS General Institutional Standards

Theological schools accredited by The Association of Theological Schools are special-purpose institutions of post-baccalaureate, higher education. Prior to meeting the standards of accreditation, these schools must demonstrate that they are qualified for membership in the Association by virtue of offering graduate theological degrees, functioning within the Jewish or Christian faiths, and demonstrating that their graduates serve in positions of religious leadership. The purpose of the Association is the improvement of theological education, which is implemented through ATS accreditation and by the programs and services the Association provides to member schools.


"...Schools related to The Association of Theological Schools conduct post-baccalaureate programs for ministerial leadership and in theological disciplines. Their educational programs should continue the heritage of theological scholarship, attend to the religious constituencies served, and respond to the global context of religious service and theological education..."

3.2.4 Globalization Theological teaching, learning, and research require patterns of institutional and educational practice that contribute to an awareness and appreciation of global inter- connectedness and interdependence, particularly as they relate to the mission of the church. These patterns are intended to enhance the ways institutions participate in the ecumenical, dialogical, evangelistic, and justice efforts of the church. The term globalization has been used to identify these patterns and practices collectively. Globalization is cultivated by curricular attention to cross-cultural issues as well as the study of other major religions; by opportunities for cross-cultural experiences; by the composition of the faculty, governing board, and student body; by professional development of faculty members; and by the design of community activities and worship. Schools shall develop practices of teaching, learning, and research (comprehensively understood as theological scholarship) that encourage global awareness and responsiveness."

ATS describes its mission and work in the following manner.


The mission of The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) is to promote the improvement and enhancement of theological schools to the benefit of communities of faith and the broader public. The Association seeks to fulfill this mission by engaging in four core functions of work: (1) accreditation, (2) leadership education for administrative officers and faculty, (3) development of theological education, which involves the study of critical issues in theological education, and (4) data and communications."

Membership ".... In fall 2000, there were 243 member schools of the Association: 209 were Accredited Members, 7 were Candidates for Accredited Membership, and 27 were Associate Members...The member schools include Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox graduate schools of theology that reflect a broad spectrum of doctrinal, ecclesiastical, and theological perspectives."


The ATS Commission on Accrediting accredits institutions and approves degree programs offered by accredited schools. The Association's Commission on Accrediting is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the nongovernmental Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for the accreditation of graduate, professional theological schools in the U.S. The ATS Commission on Accrediting works cooperatively with regional accrediting associations, other professional associations, state departments of education, and other allied organizations in Canada and the United States.


"The Association began in 1918 as a conference of theological schools that met biennially. In 1936 it became an Association, adopted standards for judging quality, and in 1938 established a list of accredited schools...."

Their Plan for the Work of ATS: 2000-2006, includes: 

"The ATS Constitution includes a statement of the purposes of the Association, which number four: "To establish standards of theological education and to maintain a list of institutions accredited on the basis of such standards"; "To provide a continuing forum and entity for its members to confer concerning matters of common interest in the area of theological education"; "To consider issues that may arise as to the relations of such institutions to one another, to other educational institutions or associations, or to ecclesiastical or governmental authorities"; and "In general, without limitation to the foregoing, to promote the improvement of theological education in such ways as it might deem appropriate..."

The Mission of ATS

"...The mission of The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada is to promote the improvement and enhancement of theological schools to the benefit of communities of faith and the broader public."

1.    Theological Schools and the Church. ATS should contribute to the renewed attention of member schools to the fundamental patterns of relationship between theological schools and their respective religious communities....

2.     The Public Character of Theological Schools. ATS should continue its efforts to explore the public character of theological schools, to help schools develop skills to enhance their public presence on behalf of the religious commitments they hold and to educate students for roles that enhance the public presence of religious communities or organizations they will serve...the social location of theological schools in the contexts of changing denominational realities and increasingly secularized higher education, and the many pressing social problems that North American communities are facing create the context in which schools need to develop understanding about their public character, skill in establishing a public presence, and capacity in exercising public leadership. ATS has begun a major project on the public character of the theological school, but a focus on this concern should continue after the conclusion of that project. The voice of religion has diminished or often been assumed by persons who reflect a limited scope of religious conviction and perspective. ... theological schools are largely unknown, .... and the theological resources represented in the faculties and other leaders of these schools are underutilized, if not unused altogether. ATS schools, in the contexts of their own ecclesiastical settings, need to identify their proper public role, assert that role, and educate students to assert leadership proper to the public tasks of the faith communities or organizations they will serve.

3.     Learning for Religious Vocation and Assessing Learning. ATS schools need greater institutional understanding about the kind of learning religious vocation requires and increased skill in the methods by which the evidence of this kind of learning can be identified.

4.     Race and Ethnicity in Theological Education. ATS should help theological schools to improve their ability and capacity to meet the needs of diverse racial/ethnic communities in North America. The population of North America is increasingly diverse in its racial/ethnic composition, and if religion is to be a viable presence in the culture of 2020-2040, it must be broadly inclusive of racial/ethnic constituencies; it must have white leaders who are educated to understand and serve in multiracial and transcultural contexts; it must have leaders of color who are educated for leadership both within racial/ethnic communities and for growing multiracial communities. These future leaders will need racial/ethnic faculty and administrative leaders to teach them and white faculty who understand and appreciate racial/ethnic communities and the changing role of the historic racial majority as racial diversity replaces racial majority in much of North American culture. ATS can support this kind of theological education by providing a venue for gathering and supporting racial/ethnic faculty and administrators, by addressing the issues raised by racial and cultural diversity in the society and the church, and in theological education through the various leadership education events ATS sponsors and through the work of accreditation."

5.     Education for Administrative Leaders and Development for Faculty. ATS should make it possible for senior administrative leaders to be well-educated regarding their roles and responsibilities as institutional leaders, and for faculty to have development opportunities that will enhance their skills as faculty and nurture their understanding of the aims and purposes of theological education...

6.     Women in Leadership in Theological Education. The number of women in faculty and senior administrative leadership positions in theological education remains small by comparison to the number of women enrolled in theological schools, and ATS needs to give attention to the support of women in theological education and to assist schools in efforts to cultivate women for leadership positions....

7.     Technology and Educational Practices. ATS schools need to make the transitions necessary to accommodate and maximize the use of information technology to enhance educational practices and institutional administration...

The efforts that ATS undertakes with regard to these areas of work will be in the context of the core functions of the Association.

ATS Developmental Goals projects include one project headed by Richard Mouw, President of Fuller Theological Seminary.

The area of ATS work described as Development of Theological Education is intended to focus sustained attention on issues in theological education that have been considered basic or critical to the work of the schools. In its planning framework for initiatives in this area during 2000-2006, the ATS Executive Committee approved the following emphases:

  • A Project on the Nature and Character of Learning for Religious Vocation. One of the most critical needs facing ATS schools concerns the educational practices that can nurture the kind of learning the standards of accreditation identify as appropriate for the theological curriculum, and the skills and knowledge necessary to assess effectively the attainment of that kind of learning. ATS plans to engage a major project that will address these two issues, commencing in 2001.
  • The Public Character of Theological Education Project. >This project began its second program year in 1999-2000 and will continue through 2002. The project co-directors are Richard J. Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and Robin W. Lovin, dean of Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The project focuses on the nature, characteristics, and issues related to the public character and citizenship of theological schools in their communities. Four study groups are addressing the issues from the contexts of Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical Protestant, and University-Related schools. The project will also provide small grants for ATS member schools to engage in experimental projects on the public character of theological education to commence in the 2000-2001 academic year.
  • Information Technology and Educational Practices. The impact of information and educational technology has only begun to be felt in theological education. Quite apart from the implications for extension education and distance learning, information technology--digital information--has the potential of changing the way in which theological discourse is engaged. In 2002, ATS plans to initiate a program that will explore what information technology will mean for learning, for publication, for teaching, and for sustaining theological discourse." ;

"....The ATS function of Association Support does not directly relate to any of the targeted areas of work, although it should indirectly contribute to all of them. There are three areas of work proposed for special attention during 2000-2006.

5.1 Funding Partners and ATS Support. The work of ATS, since the 1960s, has been heavily dependent on grant funding. Throughout the 1990s, grant funding accounted for more than 60% of the ATS budget. During the past decade, ATS has received grants from Lilly Endowment, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Teagle Foundation, the Carpenter Foundation, and a local Southwestern Pennsylvania foundation. ATS planning anticipates the possibility of continued funding by each of these agencies, assuming appropriate and well-constructed proposals, with the exception of the Pew Charitable Trusts. However, ATS needs to expand the number of potential funding partners, and major effort needs to be undertaken between 2001-2004 to identify these potential partners. At the same time, ATS needs to add to the resources available in the Program Support Fund so ATS can self-fund more of the ongoing activities of its core function operations. As part of the Association's effort to expand the number of its funding partners, ATS will also give attention to encouraging foundations to include theological schools in their grant-making initiatives.

"...Since the 1980s, ATS has been involved in the effort to establish a worldwide venue for exchange of information and issues regarding theological education. The World Conference of Associations of Theological Institutions has conducted two world "congresses" and is planning a third in South Korea for 2001. The organization is at a critical point, and ATS can help by contributing to WOCATI for the next four years from the ATS Program Support Fund...."

ATS received a grant from PEW Charitable Trust in 1996,

The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
06/13/1996 - Pittsburgh, PA
For a project designed to facilitate the incorporation of global perspectives in theological education.
$ 412,000/3 yrs.

ATS Faculty Grants include recipients from Jesuits to Evangelicals and are for those in leadership positions." ...funding sources for scholarship and research for those teaching theology or religion in graduate institutions, and for administrators and project leaders seeking funding for institutional or collaborative projects." >which lists such Faculty grant sources as 

Carnegie Corporation of New York

    1. Grants >

ATS Administered Grants include recipients from Jesuits to Evangelicals. 

The Lilly Theological Research Grants

2001-2002 Lilly Theological Research Grants Competition >
Faculty Fellowships
Small Grants

Recipients of the 2000-2001 Lilly Theological Research Grants >

"The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) has awarded Lilly Theological Research Grants for 1999-2000 to eighteen faculty members. Eleven faculty members were named Lilly Faculty Fellows and will receive a fellowship in amounts up to $20,000 to support extended research while on sabbatical. Seven other faculty members were awarded Lilly Small Grants (up to $5,000) to pursue well-designed and significant research projects while not necessarily on leave. Collectively, the seventeen faculty members chosen constitute the third class of scholars to be appointed since the inception of the program three years ago.

The Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology Program

2001-2002 Henry Luce Fellows in Theology Competition >

Recipients of the 2000-2001 Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology >

The Association of Theological Schools and The Henry Luce Foundation salute the Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology for 2000-2001. With projects that emphasize the vital and dynamic confluence in theological scholarship--the identity and mission of the church, the broader public, and the academy--each Fellow has received a grant to conduct year-long research.

Examples of Selected Proposals from ATS-Administered Grant Programs
(The Lilly Theological Research Grants, The Henry Luce III Fellows in Theology Program, and The Teaching and Learning in Theological Education Grants)

Their 2001 DIAP Conference has speakers listed as:

MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN is founder and president of the Washington-based Children's Defense Fund, [works with UN] perhaps the strongest public voice for children and families in the U.S. She is also the founder of the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and parent body of the Children's Defense Fund. She is a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School. The first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar, she directed the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Mississippi, in the mid-1960s. Among many honors, she has received the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize. This year, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings, which include five books.

JAMES A. FORBES, JR., is a pastor, educator, administrator, community activist, and interfaith leader. In 1996, Newsweek magazine recognized him as one of the twelve "most effective preachers" in the English-speaking world. Ebony magazine designated him one of America's greatest Black preachers in 1984 and again in 1993. In 1989, he was installed as senior minister of The Riverside Church in New York City, a 2,400-member church that is interdenominational, interracial, and international, and is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches and the United Church of Christ. An ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches and the Original United Holy Church of America, Forbes earned the M.Div. degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York and the D.Min. from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School.

*** Riverside Church was built with funds from the Rockefellers. See: Skeletons in the Closet: Rockefeller History about it's beliefs.

RICHARD J. MOUW joined the faculty of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, as professor of Christian philosophy and ethics in 1985. In 1989 he was appointed provost and senior vice president. He was named president of Fuller Seminary in 1993. A philosopher and scholar, he is the author of nine books, including Uncommon Decency and Consulting the Faithful. He is frequently quoted in the media on issues related to faith and ethics, American Evangelicalism, and education for ministry. He received a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Alberta and the Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago. He currently serves as co-director of the ATS project on the Public Character of Theological Schools.

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