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Garrett-Evangelical Receives Experimental Institutional Doctoral Network Grant from the Forum for Theological Exploration

November 1, 2021
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The Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) has awarded Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary an Experimental Institutional Doctoral Network (IDN) grant that will initiate a relational building process specifically aimed at faculty and doctoral students of color. This grant will allow faculty to further build institutional capacity for recruiting, supporting, mentoring, and hiring scholars of color.

The grant proposal centers on a series of workshops for every stage of the doctoral student experience. Workshop topics will include goal setting, navigating relationships with advisors, and crafting exam and dissertation proposals. Moreover, sustained and targeted workshops around issues of guild presentations, work/life balance, and the professional culture of job search will be offered in an effort to familiarize students with the ethos and culture of their guild.

In addition, this grant will foster intentional space and fellowship opportunities for faculty to hear directly from doctoral students and to consider, or reconsider, what a community of care should look like. Many doctoral students of color come from communities who have and continue to experience collective and systematic forms of oppression and trauma. It will be critical that the seminary provide resources and support to students who not only live with historical and present-day traumas, but also experience intellectual traumas as they further delve into diverse collective archives to bear theoretical precision to their lived experiences.

“Many of our students come prepared with critical knowledge from lived experiences of their communities,” said Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh, director of the doctor of philosophy program and professor of theology and culture. “We want them to engage in research and writing that are critical, necessary, and deepens their understanding of global realities and histories of entanglement to understand our present reality as well as dream of hope laden futures. To do this kind of expansive and generative intellectual labor, our students must be supported on many registers so they can fully engage with the demands of this program. This partnership and support with FTE bears witness to our commitment to support students who are engaged in knowing, doing, and living otherwise as they delve into often dismissed, forgotten, or buried archives of knowledge.”

In 2015, FTE selected Garrett-Evangelical to participate in the first cohort of their Institutional Doctoral Network. Schools were selected by a committee of organizational leaders and academic executives. Since 2015, the diversity of doctoral students at Garrett-Evangelical has increased significantly and the faculty remain one of the most diverse in the nation.

In addition, a new scholarship model was implemented that provides 100% tuition scholarships for all doctor of philosophy students. This new model came about after reviews of students’ financial indebtedness to the seminary revealed there was a disproportionate percentage of debt for students of color, often exacerbated by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service employment restrictions for international students. Ultimately, the Experimental IDN grant will allow Garrett-Evangelical to invest even more in the doctor of philosophy program, particularly in ways that allows for thriving, not just survival, of our faculty and the next generation of scholars of color.

A virtual Doctor of Philosophy Information Session will be held on Thursday, November 11, 2021, from 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. (CST). Dr. Wonhee Anne Joh will be present to share more about the program and answer questions. To register for this information session, go to https://www.garrett.edu/events/doctor-philosophy-information-session.

To learn more about the doctoral program at Garrett-Evangelical, go to https://www.garrett.edu/PhD.