By the Rev. John Dwyer
In our communications throughout the fall, you heard a lot about how we are preparing to step ever more fully into our new model of hybrid learning and formation for ministry leadership. I hope it has been clear to you that one of our chief concerns is creativity to match this remarkable moment and distinct opportunity.
As Dean Fowl has said, we want to do this new thing exceptionally well. And we want our assets as an institution—especially our connection to stakeholders like you—to guide that process.
Through it all, we want to ask the question of what becomes possible when we practice letting go, not just of our dependence on buildings and year-round physical proximity, but also of other possible vestiges of the system of seminary education as we know it.
Consider our Crossings magazine. In some ways, a print magazine is deeply connected to the institutional patterns that are built into onsite education. You can pick up a magazine off a rack placed on the CDSP campus. If you receive it in the mail, you can expect it to arrive according to a schedule that corresponds to the traditional academic semesters to which we have been committed.
But there’s a good chance that Crossings is not the only way that you hear from us. You might subscribe to our monthly e-news or receive our occasional email updates that are especially for alums. You might join in congratulating student and faculty award-winners, ordinands, and authors by commenting on posts by our social media accounts. You might listen to episodes of our Crossings Conversations podcast to hear more of the interviews that have been excerpted in the magazine.
We think it will be appropriate to our new model—and that it might help us provide you with more compelling and timely coverage of our community—if we focused a bit less on magazine production twice a year and more on innovative and even interactive opportunities throughout the year.
But as Dean Fowl has also said, we don’t have all the answers yet. We’re going to make our best guess, and then adjust as we learn more. We want that guess to be richly informed by the insights and opinions of members of our community.
And so we are asking for your opinions, preferences, and ideas. We have prepared a brief survey for you to share your thoughts about how you want to hear from us. Please visit cdsp.edu/comms-survey to complete it. If you are willing to share your contact information as well, you will be entered to have a $100 contribution to the Episcopal Relief & Development donation fund of your choice made in your honor.
Combined with planning by our faculty and staff and with digital metrics available to us from the publications we are already producing, this feedback will help us responsively restructure our communication with you.
In classic Anglican fashion, we are not proposing an either/or shift. To return to the Crossings example: the magazine is already in some sense a hybrid publication, so it’s not hard to imagine, for example, producing a shorter print magazine with even more opportunities to go deeper with supplemental digital materials.
We know we can’t do everything. And we know we can’t satisfy the reading, listening, and viewing preferences of every member of our community of alums, friends, and other colleagues.
But with your help, we are confident that we can continue to keep you informed and inspired about the remarkable work of this community. We know our new hybrid model should have a lot to say about how we do so, and we look forward to learning with you in the coming days.