Contextual Learning
Learning by Doing

Meadville Lombard, founded in 1844, is grounded in a rich history of excellence in theological education.

In 2009, Meadville Lombard significantly changed the way we organized and delivered our curriculum to help students prepare for parish and community ministry in the 21st century. We moved from a residential format to a low-residency, blended education model rooted in contextual learning—“learning by doing.” 

As a result of our new educational model, we transitioned from a denominational seminary into an innovative national leader in theological education. 

When our students begin their degree program, they remain in their local communities where they work in internships at churches and non-profits while taking academic and practical courses that begin online and also have a face-to-face intensive portion in our Chicago campus. During the academic year, our students travel to Chicago four times a year for those intensive portions of their courses, staying anywhere from a few days to three weeks. Our students learn not only from our Unitarian Universalist powerhouse faculty but also from local ministers (we call them Teaching Pastors) who mentor them in day-to-day spiritual work and leadership. Technology keeps students, faculty, and Teaching Pastors connected through the year. Through this program, Meadville Lombard students graduate prepared to tackle problems in the real world.

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