Emory Report

August 28, 2000

 Volume 53, No. 1

Candler receives $30K Lilly grant

By Elaine Justice

The Candler School of Theology is one of 40 theological schools to receive a $300,000 grant from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment to participate in a national program using information technology in effective theological teaching.

With the program, Lilly is helping North American seminaries gain access to technological resources and rethink teaching practices in light of the new possibilities that the technologies offer.

"This grant will help Candler make the transition to a future where educational technology plays a larger role," said Russell Richey, Candler's new dean. "We are immensely grateful to the Lilly Endowment for its commitment to the improvement of theological education."

Candler's program for the implementation of the grant was conceived and will be overseen by a project team headed by Patrick Graham, director of Pitts Theology Library and Margaret A. Pitts Associate Professor of Theological Bibliography.

"In places, the school already enjoys strong and creative technology leadership and builds on that in the initiatives underwritten by the grant," Graham said. "The purchase of current technology, additional staffing, and the implementation of an aggressive training program will help create an environment supportive of experimentation and opportunities for the faculty to explore what new technologies will mean for pedagogy and curricula."

"Improving the quality of theological school teaching is a central focus of the endowment's grantmaking in religion," said Craig Dykstra, Lilly vice president for religion. "Our long-term goal, of course, is to enrich American Christianity with a generation of knowledgeable ministers who can lead vibrant and healthy congregations in this country."

Lilly invited proposals from all 230 members of the Association for Theological Schools.

Since the endowment began this initiative in 1996, it has invested more than $24 million for information technology programs in 80 theological schools in the United States and Canada. The endowment is a private foundation that supports community development, religion and education.

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