Auburn Studies Journal Joins ATLASerials® (ATLAS®)

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The American Theological Library Association (ATLA) is excited to announce our partnership with Auburn Seminary regarding the Auburn Studies journal. A long-time staple in the world of theological education and analysis, the journal and its reports are now being indexed in the ATLA Religion Database® (ATLA RDB®) and are available in ATLASerials® (ATLAS®) as full text.

In conjunction with Auburn’s launch in ATLAS®, ATLA staff spoke with Dr. Sharon Miller, Director of Research, and Rev. Dr. Christian Scharen, Vice President of Applied Research, both of the Center for the Study of Theological Education at Auburn Seminary. We discussed what this collaboration means for them and gained insight into the Auburn Studies mission.

“We are thrilled ATLA is carrying Auburn Studies in its entirety,” said Dr. Sharon Miller, Director of Research​.

Launched in 1993 by Barbara Wheeler, Auburn Studies and later the accompanying Auburn Center Background Reports, sought to bridge a gap in research on theological education. Using data provided by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), Auburn offered practical assessments and constructive insights to help those engaged in theological education adapt to a rapidly changing world. Wheeler and her colleague Anthony Ruger broke new ground by researching and publishing their data findings in earlier Auburn Studies’ reports. Their research was used widely by schools to address pressing concerns such as theological student debt, the financial health of theological schools and dropping seminary enrollment.

The first 20 years of Auburn Seminary research was built off of ATS data, but that changed four years ago when ATS restructured and began to analyze and publish more of their own basic data. This opened the door for Auburn to widen their scope and objectives. Now the Center’s research focuses on the preparation of faith leaders more broadly, not just those trained in theological schools. As Rev. Dr. Scharen puts it, Auburn now has a wider aperture for their work while also producing reports that are more integrated into the field of higher education and leadership development. One of their most recent reports was “Bright Spots in Theological Education,” which has been very well received and widely discussed.

“We don’t want people to assume they have to learn from the institutions they already know. You can learn from places you aren’t aware of — there’s a commonality there,” said Rev. Dr. Christian Scharen, Vice President of Applied Research.

With a widening of scope for research came a widening audience and mission for the institution as a whole. Auburn now has its own national leadership cohort, the Auburn Senior Fellows program, along with a renewed focus on current events and multi-faith dialogue. Auburn Studies will continue to expand its role as a preeminent publication on theological education and leadership development.

“The coverage of these Auburn publications in our suite of research tools is an important step for ATLA. These insightful reports document trends in theological education and they deserve broad exposure in the research community. Inclusion in the ATLA Religion Database® and ATLASerials® ensures that they will be discovered and read by researchers around the world,” said Brenda Bailey-Hainer, ATLA Executive Director​.​​

ATLA is thrilled to have the complete archive of Auburn’s carefully curated, ground-breaking research included in our database and looks forward to its insightful analysis in the years to come.

Read the full press release.

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