Superior Evangelical Institute of Theological Studies
Update for 2012
The Superior Evangelical Institute of Theological Studies (ISEDET) is an ecumenical center of higher education located in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. ISEDET prepares individuals to serve as pastors, teachers, and researchers by providing training in theology to full-time students, pastors, and church congregations across Latin America.
ISEDET was formed in 1969 when the Evangelical School of Theology and Lutheran School of Theology joined forces. One of the original partners, the Evangelical School of Theology started training local pastors in Uruguay in 1884. In 1889, the school moved to Buenos Aires where the Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, and Reformed Churches became involved. The Lutheran School of Theology began its work in training pastors in 1955.
Today, ISEDET is truly an ecumenical institution with involvement from many churches in the Protestant family. ISEDET utilizes the diverse traditions, values, and beliefs from all of the churches to better serve the theological training needs of Latin America. The ecumenical nature of the institute also fosters an environment of critical thinking, reflection, creativity, and research.
In recent years, ISEDET has gone through serious economic and academic crises. With the direction and guidance of an external committee specialized in the area of theological education/university in Latin America, an institutional diagnosis has been developed and was completed and shared in September 2012. This diagnosis has been the base to start building a strategic plan that will be completed in June 2013. These valuable resources will help the institute understand more clearly the challenges and opportunities with which to perform the tasks of reflection, training, and resource development in the area of Protestant theology and the Latin American perspective in the Spanish language.
With the completion of the diagnosis, the university has begun to respond to a large number of challenges among which are the following: 1) the development of local resources in order to not depend so much on external financial assistance; 2) certification of a curriculum and academic practices to suit the regulations for universities established by the Ministry of Education in Argentina; 3) the reorganization of the institutional structure and greater effectiveness in performance of tasks; 4) the identification, inclusion, and renewal in the education of qualified teaching staff and improvement of the quality of study.
Among the various proposals in the plan for the short and long term are:
- The update of all the buildings, including converting them to derive the greatest use of the existing facilities.
- The need to increase the student body and the economic inputs for tuition.
- The extension of the present curriculum to include new diploma programs, tertiary, and distance electronic-based education.
- The need to use available space in a more efficient manner.
- The need to increase technical resources to enable a larger number of students being able to access theological training from a distance.
- The need to count on staff, both technical and academic, that are qualified to perform these tasks.
One of the most valuable experiences of this evaluation process and renewal educational project has been transparency, communication, and participation of the members of the institute. In several meetings with the governing board, faculty, staff, and the student body the affirmation of this process has been expressed and that helped to prevent negativity. There has been a renewed commitment and effort of the people to actively participate in this process.
Due to the global and local economic crises, ISEDET’s need for funding continues to be vital. Global Ministries welcomes additional gifts for ISEDET, to strengthen its ministry in capacity building.