Shaping the Education of Tomorrow: LSTC’s Asynchronous Learning Project Kicks-Off

The Project Starling logo, featuring a circle of birds in the LSTC colors

In this ever-evolving digital age, technology has emerged not just as a tool but as an indispensable force in shaping how knowledge is acquired and disseminated. As brick-and-mortar institutions grapple with the demands of a changing world, LSTC recognizes that while the essence of theological education remains timeless, its delivery must evolve.

Driven by this need, LSTC’s Board of Directors passed three resolutions in November 2023, signaling a paradigm shift at the seminary. 

These resolutions jumpstarted an Asynchronous Learning Project that LSTC, dubbed “Project Starling.” They allowed for funding during the early stages of the initiative, establishing a task force and research and development.

Faculty listening to a presentation

The Asynchronous Learning Task Force, now called the Oversight Board, met for the first time in late January 2023. The group includes board members Mark Bartusch, DeWayne Cook, and Kristi Ferguson, along with LSTC faculty members Drs. Rafael Malpica-Padilla, Brooke Petersen, and Marvin Wickware. President James Nieman and BOD chair Terry Goff serve as co-chairs. 

To ensure student voices are included, a student enrolled in TEEM or an alum and a student representative from MSA have been invited to join the Oversight Board, which meets monthly. 

During the inaugural Oversight Board meeting, an operational team was authorized to translate a vision into action. The team comprises LSTC’s executive leader, Dr. James Nieman, Interim Dean Dr. Linda Thomas, faculty member Dr. Candace Kohli, and LSTC administrators Keisha Dyson, Rhiannon Koehler, and Richard Vivian. 

Jim Neiman speaking in the chapel at the inaugural Oversight Board meeting
Brooke Petersen speaking at the inaugural Oversight Board meeting meeting
Woman speaking in the chapel at the inaugural Oversight Board meeting with personas printed to her right

An instructional designer will soon join the team to provide informed direction. This “operational team” currently meets weekly to drive the detailed implementation of the project.

This Board action sets the stage for LSTC to engage new and diverse audiences through a digital platform barrier, while catering to individuals with varied schedules and commitments. It represents a seismic shift to a theological education that is more accessible, inclusive and adaptive to the needs of a global audience.

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