Andover Newton Theological School may join Yale Divinity School

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Yale Divinity School will play host to four Andover Newton faculty during the first phase of affiliation. (Photo by Michael Marsland)

Yale Divinity School (YDS) and Andover Newton Theological School have signed a letter of intent to explore the possibility of a phased affiliation that would bring Andover Newton to the Divinity School quadrangle, announced Divinity Dean Greg Sterling.

During first phase, Yale will invite four Andover Newton faculty to join the Divinity School in the fall, along with one temporary support staff person. Andover Newton will continue to operate in Massachusetts for the next two years — one year on its campus and one year in another location — to allow its current students to complete their degrees. Students have the option to apply for a transfer to YDS through the normal channels.

If the visiting phase is successful, the two institutions would enter a second, permanent phase of affiliation. In this “Andover Newton at Yale” model, six Andover Newton people would work at the Yale campus: the dean (the current president), the associate dean (the current dean), a development staff person, an administrative assistant, and two faculty members. A third member of the Andover Newton faculty may also come to Yale as a visitor for up to four years.

“I think that this affiliation is mutually beneficial,” said Sterling in an email announcing the initiative. “It allows Andover Newton, the nation’s oldest graduate institution of theological education, to continue to serve its constituencies. Although it will exist in a different form, its mission will continue. In its more than 200-year history, Andover Newton has previously partnered with other institutions based on the needs of the times; we hope that this partnership would be the most productive.”

There are two principal advantages for YDS, said Sterling. First, because the primary focus of Andover Newton has been preparing ministers for traditions with congregational polities, the Yale-Andover Newton partnership “will accentuate ministerial training and serve as an ecumenical complement to Berkeley Divinity School’s formation of Episcopal and Anglican priests at YDS,” said the Dean. “Many of us, including the leadership of BDS, believe that this will be healthy for all.”

Second, Andover Newton will help further the Yale Divinity School’s goal of providing full-tuition scholarships for all with demonstrated need by 2022, said Sterling. “Like us, Andover Newton realizes the imperative to improve funding for students. We are hopeful that they will be able to help students beginning in 2018-2019, and they are eager to help us meet our goal by 2022. We welcome them as partners.”

Sterling closed his email by thanking the faculty, staff, and administrators at both institutions who “have worked diligently and skillfully to bring us closer to an affiliation … for the sake of our combined capacity to address the needs of our world.”

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