UTS Plans for Online Education
- Tyler Hendricks Ph.D. (UTS’78)
Concerning the use of cutting-edge media for the purposes of education, the religious visionaries Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, who are also the Founders of the Unification Theological Seminary (UTS), were ahead of the curve. From equipping VCRs and Divine Principle videos for door-to-door evangelism in the late 1970s, to calling for video-based home schooling in the 1980s, to awakening the University of Bridgeport to distance learning in the early 1990s, they set the pace for the world. Today, Mother Moon (Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon) is calling UTS to maximize the Internet’s power for education.
UTS introduced distance education in the late 1990s. Since 2011, UTS has offered a large number of online courses, both for graduate credits and continuing education units. Now UTS is ready to go to the next level.
The goal is to offer online degree programs worldwide. UTS is now planning to build upon its experience with distance learning by upgrading tech support, strengthening course design, and providing increased support for students.
UTS is currently assessing the needs of its global market. This February a distance learning survey was conducted in Korea at an international conference which included many Unification members, and in March the same survey was conducted in the Czech Republic at a European-wide conference. UTS is planning to conduct this survey in the USA during spring 2017.
As UTS engages in this planning stage, it aims to look at the cost and benefits of theological education. To provide and take advantage of the opportunity to gain theological education, there is a cost. It requires a financial commitment on the part of the Seminary, its sponsoring institutions, and the students.
The Founders, Rev and Mrs. Moon, inaugurated the Unification Theological Seminary on September 20, 1975 believing that the benefit, a unifying educational experience for upcoming generations of young leaders from around the world, far outweighs the cost. “Seminary” means “seed bed,” and UTS has been a seed bed for global outreach since 1975, graduating leaders throughout the world to serve in all levels of leadership, student organizations, interfaith peacebuilding, service learning, outdoor and fishing ministries, evangelism, education, world missions, doctoral studies and more.
New York City, Barrytown, NY and Clinton, MD are not the only places to gather the next generation of students. Young leaders gather on the Internet. This is where they know how to learn and the next generation of faculty members know how to teach. Teaching and learning online is progressing rapidly, both in quality and quantity. Distance learning looms large in the future of all seminaries. Father Moon knew it; Mother Moon knows it. UTS can do it.