CTU, DePaul form an 'educational alliance’

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Sunday, October 23, 2011

What do the country’s largest Catholic university and largest Catholic graduate theological school have to offer each other? A lot, according to their presidents.

On Oct. 5, Catholic Theological Union president Passionist Father Don Senior and DePaul University president Vincentian Father Dennis Holtschneider announced an educational alliance between the two schools. Both institutions are financially healthy, their leaders said, and the alliance is not a merger. No money will be exchanged.

The details of the alliance are still being worked out but the institutions announced that students from DePaul who are interested in graduate theological training could start taking classes at CTU. DePaul does not offer a graduate degree in theology.

On the other side, students at CTU could expand their ministry background by taking classes in areas such as management and communications.

There is also talk of faculty taking courses or possibly teaching courses at the two institutions.

Talk of the partnership began last February when CTU approached DePaul. At that point they set up a joint task force to explore how they might work together. The two schools have partnered on conferences and projects in the past.

“We’ve had a long friendship with DePaul University,” Senior said at a breakfast at CTU announcing the alliance.

Holtschneider agreed saying, “I can only imagine today where the Spirit might bless us in the future.”

Theology schools around the country, Catholic and Protestant, are forming alliances such as this to strengthen their programs, Senior said. CTU has other alliances like this one, particularly with a school in the Holy Land and one in Rome.

Senior said CTU can benefit from DePaul’s experience in the day-to-day operations of a large academic institution. DePaul will also benefit from CTU’s history of training leaders in church ministry, Holtschneider said during the announcement.

A permanent joint committee will be set up to keep this alliance vital, Senior said.

“This is not a merger. We are not becoming a part of DePaul,” Senior said, adding, that CTU is “strengthening our institutional muscle.”

Following the announcement, Holtschneider said DePaul is “very happy” to be a part of this alliance.

“Catholic universities exist in service of the work of Jesus Christ,” he said. “For us, this is a chance to be of support to the work of creating the next generation of ministers for the church, both religious and lay.”

Catholic Theological Union was founded in 1968 when the men’s orders of Franciscans, Passionists and Servites united their respective theology schools “in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.” Today 24 religious communities are part of CTU, which is located in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Men and women religious along with laypeople attend CTU.

DePaul University was founded in 1898 by the Vincentians. The university has various sites throughout the Chicago area and in 2010-2011, it enrolled more than 25,000 students.