Accountability of Mission and Ongoing Assessment
To assess its primary mission, the Seminary is committed to ongoing evaluation of its priestly formation program (M.Div. degree program) in view of the changing demands of diocesan and parish ministry as well as the varying intellectual and emotional needs of succeeding generations of seminarians. Assessment takes place on a yearly basis through such instruments as course and instructor evaluation, faculty and peer reviews of student formational growth, exit interviews and bi-semester committee meetings to discuss and review policy and programmatic structures. In addition, an Institutional Assessment Committee was established in 2005 to collect data and facilitate discussion among the faculty and students for the ongoing review of degree programs and their relationship to the mission of the Seminary. This committee guides the faculty in assessing institutional outcomes and convictions. Such supervision includes the development of syllabi and rubrics that correspond to degree outcomes, the monitoring of criteria used in student assessment, and the coordination of faculty assessment workshops. The committee also reviews degree programs, monitors the M.Div. Portfolio that provides data for yearly seminarian evaluations, reviews with the Academic Dean the course evaluations, and synthesizes data for the Fall and Spring faculty workshops. Every year graduates complete an exit interview and every five years are mailed questionnaires to provide feedback from the field in order to update and enhance constituent needs.
With regard to the accountability of leadership and mission, every three years the Board of Trustees reviews the President-Rector and evaluates its own work as a board. The Seminary also conducts focus groups with pastors who have worked with our recent graduates in the field of ministry to assess how the Seminary might continue to address the needs of the local Church.
Institutional Outcomes as the basis of Program Assessment
These valued traits cultivated with our learning community define our reflective identity and serve as desired outcomes across all three degree programs.
Christian Discipleship — We value the transformation of each person into the image of Christ in response to the word of God and the Church’s tradition.
Formation — We value the renewal of the mind and heart for personal, professional and ecclesiastical growth.
Theological Thinking — We value the ability to think with the Church through the skills of analysis and critical reflection.
Communication — We value the ability to articulate theological ideas.
Collaboration — We value the development and use of personal and interpersonal skills, shared gifts in ministry, for the service of community building.
Statement of Educational Effectiveness
Achievement of these outcomes is regularly assessed using multiple strategies that include both direct and indirect measures of student learning. The assessment program indicates that Saint Mary Seminary and Graduate School of Theology degree programs produce their intended outcomes, and that they are educationally effective.
Within the past three years, 92% of those enrolled in the Master of Divinity program received degrees with an average GPA of 3.45. 87.5% of those who graduated were given assignments in parish ministry by the Diocese, and 12.5% were appointed to ministry in a religious congregation.
70% of those enrolled in the Master of Arts Degree program are part-time students and generally complete the program in an average five to seven years. In the last three years, 95% of those eligible to graduate completed the program and were awarded degrees with an average GPA of 3.63. Most lay MA students who enroll in the program already have ministerial positions within the Diocese: 21% of these served in educational ministries; 79% in parish, diocesan or pastoral ministries, and 7% in non-ministry related positions. Of the 12.5% that did not have positions at the time of graduation, all found ministerial positions within a year after graduation.
The Doctor of Ministry Degree program requires that applicants are in full-time ministry for at least three years prior to admission. Within the past three years, 88% of those enrolled in the program were awarded the degree. 29% of the graduates served in ordained ministries, 29% in educational ministries, and 43% in parish, diocesan, and pastoral ministries.