Isaac Thomas, Virginia
My experience as a graduate of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary’s Christian Leadership Program was absolutely outstanding. The professors were all top-notch. I found the weekly assignments to be inspiring, thought-provoking, and challenging. Because most all of the professors provide videos related to the week’s material, it really felt like being in an actual classroom. I found the students in my classes to be diverse, friendly, and respectful. I made new friends and exchanged contact information with a number of my classmates. I felt we were a team and will continue to support one another in our respective ministries. The staff at UDTS were always helpful and the instructors responded quickly to my emails. After I passed my examination to be commissioned as a lay pastor with my local presbytery, the first people I notified were my professors. Each of them sent me a lovely response via email. I felt encouraged and supported throughout my time in the program.
Peggy McClain, Nebraska
I am convinced that God led me to the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and it was one of the greatest blessings and best adventures I have ever had. In November 2013, I accepted a call to pastor a small UCC church. In January 2014, I also accepted a part-time position as chaplain at a rehab and long-term care center. While UDTS is a Presbyterian institution, I discovered that the training I received went much deeper than what my counterparts received through other similar CLP/CRE programs. My pastor during the time of my training (who has a master’s degree) commented several times that my classes were close to the level of instruction he had received at seminary. The professors were excellent and always there to help along the way. The classes were well thought out, challenging and provided me with a basis for fruitful ministry. I still refer to my class notes on occasion and listen to some of the lectures. I just can’t imagine a better program out there to prepare anyone for ministry.
Mike Slayter, Florida
Encouragement from my wife and my pastor brought me to my first class with the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in January 2014. I decided to take Introduction to the Old Testament first and what a wonderful surprise! The instructor made the whole process an invigorating, memorable experience. About halfway through the course, we received an assignment that involved writing our own psalm. We were instructed to think of something we were passionate about and Stephen Ministry immediately rose to the top of my list. I used the themes we encountered in Stephen Ministry training and organized the lines in the biblical fashion of “synonymous parallelism” in which a second line supports or amplifies the previous line. The psalm I wrote was accepted by The Presbyterian Outlook (August 9, 2017). Looking back on the courses I took from Dubuque, I now feel immensely qualified for the job at hand. Although retired now, I am busier than ever with my new lay ministry duties. I have a purpose to meet each morning and I feel closer to God now than all my younger years combined.
Robin Cowherd, Virginia
I have taken one class per semester over the past four years. The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary has definitely been a big part of my life over that time. I have grown tremendously from the courses, and I am grateful for the leadership of the classes as well as the wisdom of my classmates. The class work has been challenging, particularly for those of us who have demanding full-time jobs. Still, I believe the challenges were God’s way of saying, “Do you really want this?” I was drawn to the research and writing, and, thanks be to God, I was able to finish the “race.”
Betty Lewis Kasperski of Georgetown, Delaware
If you had told me three years ago that I would be taking online classes to answer a lifelong calling to ministry; I may have thought you were speaking to the person next to me. But as I complete my last course I have been infused with tremendous knowledge, experienced the intensity and commitment of excellent professors and gained new friends across the nation. Online learning was new to me, but with a little assistance, I was quickly up to speed and enjoying the experience. So if you have some online learning fear, do not let it stop you. There will be late nights, or early mornings spent on the computer, but that is the beauty of flexible learning. No matter what your age or background, move forward, "online angels" will be there for you. God has many new avenues of ministry for us to fill-answer the call!
Kirk Jordan of Haley, Pennsylvania
Education is a joy and UDTS does not disappoint. This is my first online classroom experience and at 47, made it possible to continue my education. At a recent CLP gathering and having heard some stories concerning other seminaries, I feel comfortable saying UDTS is right out front when it comes to online education. Having completed 6 out of 9 courses, each course brought with it a different professor, all being more than capable not to mention very relatable. I would not recommend more than one class at a time; it is not fair to the class, your personal growth or the God you serve. Enjoy the fellowship, take your time, and grow with the season. Churches, institutions, classrooms all have their own air, UDTS is no different, the aroma here is pleasant, the fellowship has been fantastic, in short, UDTS naturally attracts some of Gods finest. Growth is one word, transformation another, both have been present throughout. I am eternally grateful for the support, concern, encouragement, and wisdom shared by UDTS, each professor and fellow classmates. Running a business, preaching on Sundays, the work load has been sufficient. Concerns? If I looked hard enough I may find some, but honestly, UDTS gets the thumbs up, an online blessing. I would encourage future students to not grow weary in well doing, UDTS is rich in its offering, a worthy investment, but do be urgent in season and out of season, continually offering your mind to furthering Gods kingdom. The harvest is great but the workers are few, press on toward the mark of a higher calling. UDTS is a great vehicle to assist you on your journey.
Rodger Clawson of Gresham, Oregon
I grumbled, moaned, and screamed, prior to taking the Online Learning Certification class. I had worked with computers since 1965 and held many computer certifications. I felt there was no need for this training – was I ever wrong! This was like removing my head and reattaching it in a new way so I could use distance learning. A light bulb went off toward the end of the class as I was remotely discussing with other students. The end result of this class taught me this is just like college learning but it was no longer real time or face to face. Any improvement here may be in the class title. Something like “Those that have gone before you say this is critical for your success.” Since I became frustrated by fellow students who did not understand how to respond using Moodle, it could be called “Skills to make your fellow students happy as you respond.”