A Sketch of the Seminary

Last week I walked through the second-floor hall of Severance and I thought: “There’s so much energy and activity here. I’ve got to blog about some of these projects and plans and people.” So here are a few sketches of life at UDTS since the beginning of January 2020.

Version 21. A joyful announcement: Dr. Mary Emily Duba, our Visiting Assistant Professor of Theology, will no longer be “visiting” with us. She will join UDTS as a full-time faculty member after the conclusion of her post-doctoral fellowship this summer. Dr. Duba’s primary teaching and administrative responsibilities will be in the undergraduate theology program (watch a quick video here). We have already witnessed and benefited from her insight, creativity, and collaboration in this program.She is a gifted teacher and advisor who exemplifies the “caring intrusiveness” of the mission of the University of Dubuque.

2. The Young Adult Ministry Scholars bring fresh insights and a commitment to serve to the entire student body. Here’s a short list of their practica (plural of “practicum”):

  • teaching undergraduate courses;
  • directing and staffing the UD food pantry;
  • working with international students as instructors and hosts;
  • worship and Bible study leaders with campus ministry;
  • leading workshops and other tasks with the career center; and,
  • recruiting for seminary admissions.


    Dr. Lindsey Ward recently joined the seminary faculty as Director of Young Adult Ministry Scholars Program and Assistant Professor of Worldview Studies. This photo of her on Mt. Whitney gives a hint of her gift of perseverance!

3. The Seminary Faculty-Staff Council continues to discern what new things God might be pointing out about our distinctive mission in theological education.

  • For the past few months, we’ve focused on building our community relationships–so we each had lunch or coffee with at least one colleague we wanted to get to know better. Some people had the benefit of multiple collegial lunches!
  • A small task force of faculty, staff, and students is reviewing and renewing our worship practices.
  • The Clergy Coaching Initiative, funded by a grant from the Lilly Foundation, has given us insights into supporting pastors in a range of ministries. Rev. Dr. Elmer Colyer, Rev. Dr. Christopher James, and Rev. David Rohrer lead separate cohorts, and the project is directed by Rev. Karen Nelson.


    The faculty-staff council is reading this important book together. Our discussion happens over lunch on March 25.

Of course, we’re also still teaching, advising, and working on scholarship in order to participate in God’s mission in the church and the world.

And that’s some news from Dubuque Seminary. May your own ministry be established in God’s mercy and justice.