In line with its mission statement, Candler School of Theology is committed to educating faithful and creative leaders for the church’s ministries in the world. In order to assess its effectiveness in fulfilling that mission, the school attends to a range of metrics that indicate its success in ensuring that students achieve the learning outcomes of the degrees for which they are enrolled.
Broadly speaking, Candler currently has two data sets that bear on the question of educational effectiveness. The first is subjective reporting by Candler graduates of their experience in its degree programs (both considered as a whole and with respect to their component parts) as reported via the ATS Graduate Student Questionnaire (GSQ). The second is objective data based on completion rates within degree programs and placement rates following graduation. Beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year, Candler will roll out a third set of data derived from assessment tools related to individual degree program outcomes.
Taken together, these data provide evidence of the quality of our degree programs, and of the ability of students to complete them in a timely manner:
The MDiv is Candler’s primary degree program, comprising around three-quarters of the school’s total student population. The centerpiece of Candler’s MDiv degree, in turn, is its Contextual Education Program. Among students graduating in 2012, 67% of students rated their participation in Contextual Education either “Important” or “Very Important” in the GSQ survey. Similarly, graduating students registered high levels of satisfaction with regard to quality of teaching, and accessibility of and support provided by faculty. Over the last decade (i.e, beginning with the class matriculating in 2002), the average percentage rate of students completing the MDiv in three years is 71%; the percentage of those completing the degree within six years is 82%.
In the 2012-2013 academic year graduates achieved an average of 93% on the capstone exercise (which may take the form of either a thesis or an integrative paper) designed to measure student achievement of the program outcomes. Over last decade, the average percentage rate of students completing the MTS in two years is 64%; the percentage of those completing the degree within six years is 86%.
In the 2012-2013 academic year graduates achieved an average of 88% on the capstone project designed to measure student achievement of the program outcomes. Over the last decade, the average percentage rate of students completing the MTS in two semesters is 79%; the percentage of those completing the degree within six years is 94%.
Like other doctoral programs, the ThD includes two sets of summative assessment: comprehensive examinations and a dissertation. Additionally, the certification for counseling included in the degree is recognized by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. There is no fixed expectation of time to completion for the degree: of the two May 2012 graduates, one completed in eight years and the other in four.