Divinity school

School Notes: Yale Divinity School
January/February 2024

Gregory E. Sterling | http://divinity.yale.edu

Review of MDiv degree among priorities in new strategic plan

A new YDS strategic plan features a historic reassessment of the MDiv degree for contemporary times, while also reaffirming the top-priority status of student financial aid; diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging; and completion of the school’s regenerative student residence hall, the Living Village. A fifth goal aims to cultivate greater global awareness and enrollment.

The five strategic goals, a reset and update of priorities first enumerated in 2015, were adopted as the school’s continuing response to the shifting ground of institutional faith and today’s global crises. Guiding YDS for the next five years, the goals were affirmed by a faculty vote last year after extensive input from students, alums, and theological educators. Dean Greg Sterling is now leading efforts by faculty and administration to work out details for each theme, using task force reports that offered specifics on several fronts. 

“These goals underscore the mission that YDS has advanced across its history,” Sterling said, “with special attention to the challenges of this pluralistic and divided era—including the need to train moral leaders, aid students so they can live out their vocations, combat racism, and endeavor to heal creation.”

YDS creates professorship in environmental ethics

With the support of an anonymous gift, the Divinity School has established an endowed professorship in environmental ethics. A burgeoning field, environmental ethics pursues critical reflection and action to ensure the well-being of the planet and its ecosystems. The search for an internationally distinguished scholar is underway, with the inaugural chair expected to join YDS next September. “One of the greatest challenges confronting all of us is the climate crisis,” Dean Greg Sterling said. “This is not only a scientific and technological issue. It is a moral issue. For this reason, we are searching for an ethicist who can help address the moral dimensions of this threat to life on the planet.” 

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