Statement on Educational Effectiveness:
Oblate School of Theology (OST) has a mission to “prepare persons for pastoral ministry through academic study and pastoral practice.” (Statement of Purpose) It is fair to ask how well OST accomplishes that goal.
Annually, graduates of OST take the ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire. Among other things, this questionnaire looks to answer how well the school accomplishes its educational mission. OST receives results comparing the responses of our graduates to other Catholic institutions accredited by ATS and of other institutions in Texas accredited by ATS.
Overall, graduates of Roman Catholic institutions have high regard for the formation they received. At OST, that regard is very high. Graduates reported an effective or very effective formation in 14 of 15 skill areas including:
- Ability to preach well
- Ability to use and interpret Scripture
- Knowledge of Church policy/Canon Law
- Ability to teach well
- Ability to lead others
- Ability to conduct worship/liturgy
- Ability to relate social issues to faith
- Ability to interact effectively with those from cultural and racial/ethnic contexts other than my own
- Awareness and appreciation of the globalized context in which ministry is practiced
- Ability to work effectively with both women and men
- Ability to think theologically (Table 15)
Graduates report that the three most important influences on their educational experience were (in order) experiences in ministry, introduction to difference perspectives, and cross-cultural engagement. (Table 16) Graduates indicated the field education program was very important to their learning and very effective in preparing them for ministry. (Table 18, 19) It led to improved pastoral skills, greater sense of people’s needs, and a better grasp of personal strengths and weaknesses. All of these are marks that indicate achievement of learning outcomes for professional degrees (Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry) at OST. The ability to use and interpret scripture, knowledge of Church policy/Canon Law, and the ability to think theologically point to achievement of outcomes for the MA (Theology) and MA (Spirituality).
In the 2013 ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire, our graduates reported they received an effective or very effective formation in 14 out of 15 areas on personal growth. Among the highest rated are:
- Empathy for the poor and oppressed
- Ability to pray
- Enthusiasm for learning
- Trust in God
- Respect for other religious traditions
- Respect for my own religious tradition
- Ability to live my faith in daily life
- Clarity of vocational goals
- Strength of Spiritual Life
Overall, graduates report a solid preparation in the skills, knowledge, and spiritual life needed for ministry, whether it is ordained or lay. One other statistic is very informative. In the past 7 years, only one Master of Divinity graduate has left ordained ministry. That is a rate four times better than other Roman Catholic institutions. OST and her partner institutions, such as Assumption Seminary, prepare students well for life as parish ministers. Our graduates strongly agree with the statement, “I would come here again.” (Table 21)
Our graduation rates are as follows:
- Master of Divinity: 73%
- MA: 15%
This number is not representative of the actual rate at which MA students complete the program. It reflects the number of students who complete the program in two years, which is considered full time. Since the vast majority of students in these programs are part time, they usually complete the program in four to five years.
Over the past three years, the percentage of admitted students who complete the MA program is 94%.
This number better demonstrates the graduation rate of the part-time student population that is the greater portion of those programs.
Since most of the students that come to OST are either preparing for ordained ministry or already in a placement, the placement rate is close to 100%.