Made Possible by the In Trust Center for Theological Schools

Pathways to Graduate Theological Education

Special Thanks

Winebrenner Theological Seminary wishes to thank Amy Kardash, President, and the In Trust Center for Theological Schools for their tremendous support of graduate theological education. This unique conversation was made possible through a grant from In Trust and their commitment to forge new pathways for students to access seminary education. akardash@intrust.org / www.intrust.org

Meeting Agenda

The day’s agenda can be accessed here.

Winebrenner Participants
  • Dr. Brent Sleasman, President
  • Dr. Bruce Coats, Academic Dean
  • Dr. Kathryn Helleman, Director of Institutional Advancement and Planning
  • Amy Kinney, MS-L, Director of Enrollment Management
  • Tom Weaver, MBA, Director of Finance
  • Lauren Coats, MACL, Student Success and Records Coordinator
Dr. Brent Sleasman, President, Winebrenner Seminary – Introduction & Discussion

Who comes to seminary without a bachelor’s degree?

Dr. Jo Ann Deas
Director of Institutional Initiatives and Student Research, ATS

Fishing Your Estuaries
Dr. Sebastian Mahfood
OP and Vice-President of Holy Apostles

Pathways to Graduate Theological Education: The ATS Educational Models and Practices Project
Dr. Stephen Graham
Director of Programs and Services, ATS

Working Groups
Working Group #1 – Advanced Standing & Bachelor Equivalency

Dr. Jim Allen
You can read more about Dr. Allen at https://3dchurchconsulting.com/?page_id=13

Dr. Tony Blair
You can read more about Dr. Blair at https://evangelical.edu/about/faculty/anthony-l-blair/

Dr. Jim Carder
You can read more about the Pastoral Leadership Institute and Dr. Carder at https://www.plionline.org/

Dr. Michael Davis
You can read more about Dr. Davis at https://fatherhood.ohio.gov/Our-Commission/Meet-our-Commissioners/Michael-Davis

Sara Hingson
In her role as Director of Accreditation and External Academic Affairs at The University of Findlay, Ms. Hingson is responsible for the coordination and submission of University proposals/authorization/change requests with the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission. In addition, she provides institutional oversight of University academic programs who are submitting requests and/or updates to professional accreditation agencies. Ms. Hingson assists the Vice President for Academic Affairs in defining and implementing policy changes and reporting requirements for external accountability. She also assists in expanding institutional awareness of external mandates and national trends in higher education. Ms. Hingson serves on various University committees including undergraduate and graduate curriculum, curricular assessment, academic program review, and general education. She also attends the meetings of the faculty governing bodies including Undergraduate and Graduate Council and Faculty Senate. Ms. Hingson is responsible for maintaining the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs as well as the University’s Faculty Manual based on the decisions of the faculty governing bodies. Ms. Hingson is a graduate of The University of Findlay holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.

Dr. John Lillis
Dr. John Lillis’ experience in Christian higher education has included teaching, overseas missions and leadership. During his career, he has taught physics, educational ministries and spiritual formation. He was the founder and dean of the Asia Biblical Theological Seminary while living in Thailand and the Philippines; the provost/executive vice president of Cornerstone University; the executive officer/dean of Bethel Seminary in San Diego, and, most recently, the provost of Grace College and Seminary (April 2014-July 2019). In addition to teaching and his academic administrative work, Lillis has served as a pastor in the United States and abroad. He also served as a major in the Michigan Air National Guard and as a captain in the United States Air Force as a nuclear research officer.

Dr. Molly Marshall
You can read more about Dr. Marshall at https://www.cbts.edu/staff/molly-t-marshall-ph-d/

Pastor Ed Rosenberry
Pastor Ed Rosenberry serves as the Chair of the Board of the Ministry Training Institute of the Eastern Region of the Churches of God, General Conference.

Amanda Yarger
You can read more about Amanda Yarger at https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-yarger/

Working Group #2 – Experiential Education

Dr. Jeff Bogaczyk
Dr. Jeff Bogaczyk currently serves as the Head of School for Christian Life School in Kenosha, WI.  He completed his undergraduate degree at North Central University in Minneapolis MN and later received a Master of Arts in Leadership and Liberal Studies and then a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, both from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.  His areas of concentration are in interpersonal and organizational communication, and the rhetoric of technology.  For the past 8 years, he has served in educational leadership and he currently is the book review editor for the academic journal, Explorations in Media Ecology.  As a hobby, he hosts a podcast and a blog, Mind For Life, where he discusses personal development, business and entrepreneurship, and psychology.

Dr. John Byron
John Byron is the Interim Vice President & Executive Dean at Ashland Theological Seminary where he also serves as Professor of New Testament. He completed undergraduate studies at Elim Bible Institute, an M.A. at Regent University and a Ph.D. at the University of Durham in the UK. He is the author of six books and more than 25 articles. He served as a translator for the Common English Bible, is a regular columnist for Biblical Archaeology Review and excavated at Tel-Gezer in Israel.  He has been married to Lori Byron since 1990.

Dawn Franks
In her role as Assistant Registrar at The University of Findlay, Mrs. Franks is responsible for determining domestic course equivalencies for courses taken at other institutions that are being transferred to The University of Findlay. Mrs. Franks assists students and faculty in understanding the transfer process, assists faculty in development of Agreements designed for their major with other regionally accredited institutions, assist students and faculty in following the guidelines of the Catalog. Another role Mrs. Franks has embraced is the degree audit portion, , ensuring students have meet all of the degree requirements to award the graduation conferral dates. She serves as member of  the Academic Policy and Advisory Committee. Mrs. Franks is a graduate of The University of Findlay holding a bachelor of science and a master’s degree in education.

Dr. Greg Guzman
You can learn more about Dr. Guzman at https://www.linkedin.com/in/gregory-guzman-ph-d-15b5ab8/

Dr. Tara Kram
I currently serve as the Associate Dean of Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  In my role as Associate Dean, I oversee various administrative components of the institution including, but not limited to, assessment of students, the Admissions Office, the website, CACREP accreditation, the Fiscal Literacy Project, and the Pirsig Fellows.  I hold a B.A. in Spanish and Organizational Communication, an M.A. in Counseling, and an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership and Development.  I have served at GRTS since 2004 in various capacities.  I am married with two daughters who are 8 and 9 years old.  In my spare time (rarely!) I enjoy reading, running, and travelling.

Dr. Steve Kriss
Stephen Kriss is executive minister of Franconia Mennonite Conference a network of communities and ministries from California to Vermont.  He lives in Philadelphia.  Steve has taught at Missio, Palmer, Anabaptist Mennonite and Eastern Mennonite seminaries.  He’s worked in areas of intercultural education and formation for leadership in urban and international context with diverse learners.  He’s a graduate of Duquesne University and  Drew Theological School.

Dr. John Nissley
He presently serves as the Professor of Spiritual Formation & Pastoral Theology at Winebrenner Theological Seminary (WTS) located in Findlay, Ohio, where he has taught since 2000. From 2002-10, he had also served as the Academic Dean. Since 2010, he has served as the Director of the Doctor of Ministry degree program in addition to teaching graduate courses at WTS. Originally from Morgantown, PA, Dr. Nissley has served in various ministry capacities for over 50 years including: youth counselor, camp director, street ministry leader, director of evangelism and church growth, and ordained minister in the Mennonite Church-USA.

His undergraduate training, B.S. in Human Development (Individual & Family Counseling), was at Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA (1974). He continued his education at the following seminaries: M.R.E. in Christian Education (Campus Ministry) and a master’s thesis on the Integration of Counseling & Evangelism at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary, Grand Rapids, MI (1983); post-graduate studies at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA; Eastern Mennonite Seminary, Harrisonburg, VA; Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, PA; and Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN. He completed a D.Min. (Spiritual Formation) at Bethel Theological Seminary (2000). His doctoral research project focused upon the analysis and lack of the spiritual/emotional/social support systems of pastors within their congregational context. As a life-long learner, he also completed an M.Div. (Specializations in Biblical Studies & Pastoral Counseling) at WTS (2010). Dr. Nissley is also certified by several Christian counseling training institutes.

John Sloat
You can learn more about John at https://seminary.grace.edu/faculty/john-sloat/

Micah Yarger
You can learn more about Micah at https://www.linkedin.com/in/micahyarger412/

Working Group #3 – Undergraduate & Non-degree Articulation Agreements

A sample articulation agreement can be found here.

Dr. Matt Bevere
Matt Bevere is Director of Cleveland Center Operations and Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at Ashland Theological Seminary. He completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Literature from Malone University. He also completed an M.Div., an M.A. and a D.Min. from Ashland Theological Seminary and a Th.M. from Duke Divinity School. He is currently the Project Director for the Thriving in Ministry Initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment. He and his wife Cindy live in Canton, Ohio and have four adult children.

Mike Clouse
Mike is the founder and owner of Coach Clouse, LLC, and a SightShift & DSWA Certified Leadership and Executive Coach.  He has 20 years of experience within higher education administration and advising through admissions and financial aid at The University of Findlay, Bluffton University, The University of Toledo and Great Lakes Higher Education, Corp.  He also has nine years of experience in leadership development coaching, training and mentoring at Thirty-One Gifts and Coach Clouse, LLC.

“For me it’s not about what I can tell someone, it is instead about going deep and drawing out of them that which they already know and simply aren’t applying or leveraging. It is guiding, equipping and empowering them in the personal excavation and discovery necessary to gain clarity, direction and a plan of action that moves them from where they are to where they most want to be.”

Dr. Meghan Duda
Meghan Duda, Ph.D., has 20 years of experience in marketing, communication, fundraising and leadership within the verticals of health care, technology, government, politics and education. She currently serves as the senior director of funding for Grace Church and ServErie, president of Duda Digital, corporate trainer for the Manufacturer and Business Association, and adjunct faculty for Mercyhurst University. Duda holds doctoral and master’s degrees in organizational learning and leadership and a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She is mom to four – Ethan, 18; Rachel, 12; Madeline, 10; and Harrison, 5.

Pastor Lance Finley
You can learn more about Lance at https://www.findlay.edu/about-uf/university-leadership/j.-lance-finley

Dr. Scott Kisker
Scott T. Kisker is an elder in the Iowa Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Professor of Church History and Associate Dean for Masters Programs at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH, and pastor of McKendree Chapel in Troy, OH. Dr. Kisker earned a BA from Swarthmore College, an MDiv from Duke Divinity School, and a PhD from Drew University. His books include The Band Meeting (with Kevin Watson), Longing for Spring (with Elaine Heath), Mainline or Methodist? and Foundation for Revival. Dr. Kisker is married to Roberta and has five children, Maria, Susanna, Isaac, Tabitha, and Naomi.  Dr. Kisker is also one of the hosts of the bi-weekly Wesleyan podcast “Plain Truth: A Holy-Spirited Podcast.”

Dr. Sebastian Mahfood
Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP, is Vice-President of Holy Apostles, a college and seminary located in Cromwell, CT, and Provost of the Sacred Heart Institute for continuing formation of priests and deacons in the Archdiocese of New York and Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Center. He holds a doctorate in postcolonial literature and master’s degrees in comparative literature, philosophy, theology and educational technology. He lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife, Dr. Stephanie Mahfood, and their children, Alexander and Eva Ruth.

Dr. Kristen Majocha
Dr. Kristen Lynn Majocha earned her bachelors from Slippery Rock University and her Masters and PhD from Duquesne University. She is the current Dean of Liberal Arts at California University of Pennsylvania.  Prior to this appointment, she was the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown.  She has published on and researched a range of topics, including “From Mother to Prophet:  Examining Mother Teresa’s Narrative as Prophetic, ”RES Rhetorica, 1, 2018, and “Prophetic Rhetoric:  A Gap between the Field of Study and the Real World,” Journal of Communication and Religion, 39.4, 2017.  She is the current Editor of Qualitative Research Reports in Communication and she publishes book reviews regularly for CHOICE:  Current Reviews for Academic Libraries.  Majocha is a mother of four, is a veteran of the US Navy, and she serves as a volunteer interpreter to the Deaf community.

Dr. Merle Skinner
Dr. D. Merle Skinner is the Executive Director of the Christian Family & Children’s Center which he and Barb founded in 1981 serving Southwestern PA. The Center provides Christian programs for the family including Champion Christian Preschool and Schools, Christian Counseling, Continuing Education, Organizational Consultation, Community work around family and Senior Ministry. Dr. Skinner earned his Bachelors in Child Development from the University of Pittsburgh, his Masters in Organizational Leadership from Geneva College, and his Doctorate from Argosy University in Counseling Psychology. He has licensure and certifications in Professional Counseling, Christian School Administration, and Early Childhood Education. He is active in Public Policy as the coordinator of 8 Association of Christian Schools International State Advocacy Groups, the Co-coordinator of the PA Council on American Private Education, and Chair of the National CAPE Early Education Task Force. He is a regular conference speaker and consultant and contributes to research in the topics of education, human services, and leadership as well as doing Adjunct Faculty work from time to time at the post high school level. He has served in the past in a variety of leadership roles such as president, leader, and members of organizations like the Mountain Laurel Chamber of Commerce, Laurel Mountain Ministerial Association, Westmoreland County Community College Advisory Board and others.

Dr. Michael Walker
Dr. Walker serves as Dean of the Ministry Training Institute of the Eastern Region of the Churches of God, General Conference.