Who is a Louisville Fellow?
Louisville Fellows are dedicated to the vocation of theological education, either by engaging in the lifelong development of their own imagination as theological educators or by supporting others doing the same.
Fellows are committed to the idea that becoming a theological educator means more than scholarly training in a theological discipline, mastering pedagogical techniques, and developing a research agenda, although it includes all those things. But it also means putting this complex of skills in the service of the Christian church, in particular by training the future leadership of that church.
Louisville Fellows have receivied a Doctoral Fellowship or a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Louisville Institute as part of the Vocation of the Theological Educator initiative, a program funded by Lilly Endowment.
What are the Goals of the Louisville Fellows?
Louisville Fellows are part of a program created by the Louisville Institute in 2013 called the Vocation of the Theological Educator (VTE). The VTE initiative addresses a perceived need to more clearly define what it means to teach in a seminary or divinity school. In the early 21st century the vocation of theological educator began to lose focus, blurring the distinction between teaching in a theological school and teaching in a university department of religion. VTE reminds theological educators that both academic expertise and pastoral commitments are required in this unique calling of God. This whole complex of skills and commitments we call the theological educator imagination.
What is the Theological Educator Imagination?
The theological educator imagination (TEI) is a way of thinking, seeing, feeling, and behaving that helps make sense of what it means to teach in a theological school. In describing an analogous imagination, the pastoral imagination, Craig Dykstra likened this imagination to an “internal gyroscope” that guides “pastors in and through every crevice of pastoral life and work.” Similarly, theological educators have “an imagination” that guides their work. Seminary and graduate school education lay the groundwork ofr the theological educator imagination; it continues to develop on the job as recent doctoral graduates take on visiting professorships and first jobs. It is taught by one’s teachers, caught from colleagues, processed by mentors, and ultimately revealed by God.
Two Types of Louisville Fellows
- Funded Fellows are current Doctoral Fellows or Postdoctoral Fellows.
- Senior Fellows are former Doctoral Fellows and Postdoctoral Fellows who have completed the two-year formation process.
Benefits and Responsibilities of Funded Fellows:
- Funded Fellows receive an annual stipend
- Funded Fellows attend three required cohort meetings per year– a Fall Gathering, a Winter Gathering and a June Convocation. LI covers travel and lodging expenses to attend these meetings.
- Funded Fellows are assigned experienced theological educators and church leaders as mentors who engage them in conversations regarding dissertation research, pedagogical training, and job placement advice.
- Funded Fellows benefit from the wisdom of both cohort mentors and senior fellows in the network of relationships represented by the Fellowship.
- Funded Fellows form cohorts connected by meetings and social media, creating forums for discussions on all issues that arise in the development of their vocation.
Benefits and Responsibilities of Senior Fellows:
- Senior Fellows are invited to attend the annual June Convocation.
- Senior Fellows benefit from exchanging ongoing vocational experiences with other Louisville Fellows.
- Senior Fellows act as both formal and informal mentors to Funded Fellows.
- Senior Fellows are expected to take leadership roles in the Louisville Fellows.