Do not close the MA Theology Program
TO: Fr. President Privett Board of Trustees Dean Turpin FM: Concerned Students and Alumni We respectfully request a meeting with you to better understand the reason behind canceling the M.A. in Theology program, given these highlights from the Universityâï¿½ï¿½s Mission Statement and Strategic Initiatives: âï¿½¢ Promote learning in the Jesuit Catholic Tradition âï¿½¢ Offer graduate and professional students the knowledge and skills needed to succeed âï¿½¢ Distinguish itself as a diverse, socially responsible learning community of high quality scholarship and academic rigor sustained by a faith that does justice âï¿½¢ Enroll, support, and graduate a diverse student body, which demonstrates âï¿½¦ concern for others and a sense of responsibility for the weak and the vulnerable We are concerned that the cancelation of the program would directly violate USF's Catholic, Jesuit identity and negatively impact the preparation of professional students interested in working as teachers and administrators in Catholic institutions. Moreover, because the program has successfully recruited across the Bay Area and beyond, its elimination would create a void both broad and deep in ecumenical dialogue, religious scholarship, and social justice. In particular we maintain the following: 1. A Masters in Theology is a required degree for job advancement in Catholic education, and unlike the day program at GTU, the USF cohort model offers working adults the opportunity to attend class on weekends. 2. In looking at Southern California universities, Loyola Marymount is the only program which compares to USF; however, the program at LM is impacted. Future leaders are in dire need of this program to be both field competent and marketable for the workforce. 3. A Theology degree is not the same as the Pastoral Ministry degree offered by Santa Clara University. 4. The USF program has graduated and recruited prominent community members of local Catholic parishes, community organizations, diocesan structures, as well as several non-Catholic students, including Jews, Protestant ministers, an ordained Buddhist priest, and members of the public sector at-large. 5. Students travel from within and outside the state to attend the weekend program at USF, tailored for the working adult. 6. The department recruited above the break-even point, of full-paying tuition applicants. 7. The elimination of the program would jeopardize the integrity of the degree for existing alumni by damaging the reputation of their alma mater. 8. Top quality scholars of theology and religious studies would be less likely to study or teach at USF if the department lost its MA program. In view of these concerns, we, the alumni of the USF Masters in Theology, respectfully request a meeting with the university administration to discuss the possibility of continuing this invaluable program.