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January 19, 2022

By The Rev. Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Ph.D.

Mission Check-Up

Trinity Lutheran Seminary forms leaders for Christ’s church at work in the world.

If you’re reading this column, you likely recognize this as our mission statement. It’s been our mission since The Theological Seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Ohio (the earliest of Trinity’s predecessor institutions) was founded in 1830. The words have changed; our name has changed; yet the mission itself remains constant.

Since 1940, the seminary has been accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. This external review by other theological education professionals serves several purposes. First, it assures us and our constituents that we’re fulfilling our mission, in other words, that we’re doing what we say we’re doing. Second, it provides the opportunity for constructive feedback based on best practices in theological education.

We will be hosting an ATS visit team on campus February 14-17. We had a one-day visit from our ATS liaison in April 2018, to see how the transition of Trinity into Capital was going. Next month’s visit by a team of five is the comprehensive reaccreditation visit that takes place every ten years. ATS will be reviewing our degree programs, our student experience, our resources (library resources, financial resources, and human resources), our assessment data, and more.

A lot has changed at Trinity since our last ATS comprehensive visit in 2012. A lot has changed just in the four years we have been part of Capital University! Preparing for the ATS visit has been a good opportunity for us to do some self-reflection: what are we doing well, what can we do better, and what might it be time to leave behind? About half of the over 270 seminaries accredited by ATS are embedded in universities, so Trinity is in good company as we continue to live into the future to which God is calling us.

ATS invites input into the reaccreditation process: Comments regarding how well Trinity meets the Standards of Accreditation and/or generally demonstrates educational quality may be sent to the ATS Director of Commission Information Services (; 412-788-6505) at least two weeks before the visit. Comments may also or instead be sent in writing to the Seminary’s Accreditation Committee (, 614-236-6612). All comments will be shared with the onsite evaluation committee.