Statement of Educational Effectiveness

Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California Lutheran University prepares leaders through professional graduate programs that draw upon multiple disciplines to strengthen theological engagement and expand ministry skills. Graduates are prepared to serve in a variety of placements, including lay, commissioned, ordained, chaplaincy, non-profit, and academic settings. 

Courses at PLTS are designed to meet course and program outcomes for developing the theological engagement and ministry skills needed by novice practitioners. Learning is assessed by assignments scaffolded or structured over the duration of a course to develop, improve, and integrate the competencies to be demonstrated in cumulative course assignments. Learning is also assessed through contextual education evaluations, course evaluations, feedback sessions, and surveys. Academic advisors work regularly with students to plan and review their program progress and students demonstrating growth areas participate in a formation conversation to develop goals and means to demonstrate growth toward ministry readiness.

Because 91% of students start PLTS seeking to be rostered (licensed) by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), programs at PLTS intersect with ELCA candidacy. As a professional licensure process, ELCA candidacy runs parallel with seminary programming at decision points. Decision points require student input and seminary evaluation and are designed to show student progress from awareness of call to ministry and faith tradition at entrance, to articulation of faith tradition and development of ministry skills at endorsement, and to integration of ministry skills and appropriation of faith tradition at approval. Contextual coursework in Clinical Pastoral Education, Teaching Parish, and Internship are designed to measure this progression from articulation and development to integration and appropriation in an action-reflection-action immersion model of learning under the supervision of seasoned professionals. 96% of PLTS students who remain in ELCA candidacy to approval are approved by the ELCA at the close of their program.

As is common in higher education, two indicators of educational effectiveness are completion rates and the placement of graduates. 

For the 5 most recent class years for which PLTS has completed student data from entrance through graduation, 84% of 92 entering students who intended to earn a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree successfully completed the degree program. 94% of 77 students who completed this degree have found placement related to this degree program. Because most of our M.Div. students choose this degree to prepare for call and ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), placement for this degree is mostly contingent on the needs of the ELCA, and will therefore vary in timing of placement following completion of this degree, and is not a good indicator of educational quality. Of those placed, 93% were placed in a congregation or chaplaincy setting, 4% were placed in other field related work, and 3% were placed in continued field-related study.

For the 5 most recent class years for which PLTS has completed student data from entrance through graduation, 82% of 11 entering students who intended to earn a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree successfully completed the degree program. 89% of 9 students who completed this degree found placement related to this degree program. Because most of our MTS students choose this degree for personal theological enrichment, placement for this degree is not a good indicator of educational quality. Of those placed, 38% were placed in a congregation or chaplaincy setting, 12% were placed in other field related work, and 50% were placed in continued field-related study.

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