Phase 1 Eighth Day Project Research Is Complete


Spiritually-Rooted Changemakers for Social Transformation

The Eighth Day Project Teams recently completed Phase 1 of their work, and their reports are beginning to circulate. Phase 1 is the research stage of the project. Creating “spiritually-rooted changemakers for social transformation” is a long-standing tradition that dates back to PSR’s very beginnings in 1866. Now, with an eye towards the future, Phase 1 Teams‘ research includes (but are not limited to) analyses of: other institutions that face similar challenges which might be exemplars for PSR’s own transformations; how they endeavor to address programmatic, pedagogical, and cost/funding concerns, and how other organizations manage stewardship and retention aspects of their mission and goals.

Currently, teams are at work on Phase 2, which is an analysis of Phase 1 findings. The final phase will bring together the research and analysis, which will be presented to the Board in April 2013. We’ll catalog the Teams’ efforts here on the blog.

An Integrated Perspective…

It’s appropriate to anchor this blog series with the findings of the Leadership Programs Team. Lead by PSR Trustee Julien Phillips and coached by Vice President for Institutional Advancement Rev. Kathi McShane, the Team’s report is a detailed and comprehensive document that lists and analyzes nearly 50 leadership development programs, particularly those focused on theological education beyond the scope of traditional pastoral training.

The Leadership Team reviewed several schools of theological education, university-based Divinity schools, non-academic, fellowship and training programs; and non-profit organizations, shaped by “an integrated perspective” encompassing:

Theology: PSR hopes to develop and critically reflect on the meaning and implications of progressive Christian theology(yes), including significance for leadership of social transformation

Engaged Spirituality: an integrative approach in which faith commitments are clarified and sharpened through spiritual formation and practice that lead to shaping one’s spiritual identity that is lived out through constructive engagement with others and the world around us


Leadership/changemaking: Leadership development with a values-based approach to change making, drawing out personal authenticity, listening and learning and acting in relationship, and leading from purpose or calling.

Comparisons Within the Competitive Landscape

Fuller Theological Seminary’s Max De Pre Center for Leadership stands out as one forward-thinking school of theological education, as does Chicago Theological Seminary’s two-year Master of Arts in Religious Leadership. The De Pre Center features a Women in Leadership lab, while CTS, more traditional in its course listings, offers sub-specialties such as interfaith engagement, and word and worship.

The Leadership Programs Team was also impressed by Stanford University’s Technology Venture Program, which cultivates entrepreneurial qualities in engineers. Chautaqua Institution, Dalai Lama Fellows, and Ashoka Innovators for the Public were among the many related and similar non-profits assessed, both religiously- and secularly-oriented.

Next Steps

The Team also considered continuing legal education, though it found that monetizing such programs relevant to PSR — e.g., legal ethics and harassment courses — is a challenge for competitors who offer them.

The next phase for the Leadership Programs Team is a synthesis of these findings, with a focus on what distinguishes PSR among these many choices in the competitive landscape. The Team is also considering potential organizational and individual partnerships with those sympathetic to PSR’s vision, along with making increasing use of technology and a “changemaker ecosystem” to forward the work of PSR.

Next up: Phase 1 program briefs from the Changemakers Network, Youth Education, and Third Age Project Teams.

Edited: 2-19-13 9:41A for clarity

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