New Scholarships for Education and Theology Majors

   Campus News | Posted on June 20, 2024

The Lake Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has pledged $1 million in scholarships for students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in education or theology at Andrews University. The scholarship is contingent on the awarded students agreeing to accept pastoring and teaching positions within the Lake Union Conference after they graduate from Andrews. The School of Education and Department of Religion & Biblical Languages are accepting scholarship applications until July 12, 2024. The scholarships will cover up to four years of undergraduate studies for a select number of students attending Andrews for the first time in the 2024 fall semester.

The scholarship was created in response to the looming shortage of pastors and teachers expected within the North American Division (NAD) of Seventh-day Adventists in the coming years. Rodney Palmer, chair of the Department of Religion & Biblical Languages, shares that he met with Amy Rosenthal, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Fernando Ortiz, director of the Master of Divinity program, and various conference presidents. In that meeting, he learned that the NAD projects a need of approximately 1,000 pastors in the next five years. With similar projected vacancies in education positions, it became clear to academic administrators that there is an increasing necessity for students graduating with the intention of becoming Adventist teachers and ministers.

Palmer suggests that the reason for this increasing shortage of Adventist teachers and pastors might be a blend of multiple factors. “We are seeing fewer people who are interested in pursuing theology and education. You’re not earning this large amount of money and having a luxurious life,” he says, adding, “But you live comfortably.”

He further explains that student loans may also make it difficult to justify working toward a career as a teacher or pastor, noting, “The whole idea of the scholarship is to ensure that within Lake Union we don’t have that problem where we can’t even find people to work. We’re trying to proactively look ahead and plan for what’s on the horizon.”

By modeling the types of grants and scholarships that other NAD conferences have created to address this issue, Andrews administrators and Lake Union Conference leaders agreed on criteria for the scholarship. The guidelines are listed below and further details can be found in an article by the Lake Union Herald.

  • Be enrolled at Andrews as a theology or education major. Changing major results in ineligibility for the scholarship.
  • Demonstrate evidence of financial need as deemed by the Office of Student Financial Services.
  • Be willing to work in the Lake Union Conference for at least four years upon graduation. Being employed outside of the Lake Union will initiate an amortization process by the employing organization.
  • Commit to working each summer. Students should consult department chairs on their specific employment.
  • Maintain a grade point average of 3.0. Student performance will be reviewed each semester by their academic department.
  • Submit to an interview process and meet the criteria for the scholarship.

To apply for the scholarship, an applicant must visit their department or school page on the Andrews University website and fill out an application form. Along with the form, candidates must provide a letter of recommendation written by a teacher from their high school, home school or equivalent. The Adventist conference that the student is a member of must also fill out a nomination form for that student. Once all these steps are completed, a committee at Andrews will meet to decide which incoming students will be awarded the scholarship based on various metrics of academic achievement and merit. According to Palmer, the scholarships will be assigned in mid-July.

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