Enhancing and Advancing Latinx Scholars/Leaders - Princeton Theological Seminary

Enhancing and Advancing Latinx Scholars/Leaders

March 1, 2019


This grant, led by Rev. Joanne Rodriguez, has four projects embedded in Princeton Theological Seminary’s Hispanic Theological Initiative’s (HTI’s) professional development focus for Latinx PhDs in theology and religion. The projects are:

  1. Development of internships for pre-dissertation HTl scholars in short-time service to nonprofit Hispanic religious and academic institutions, thus enhancing their qualifications for post-doctoral employment.
  2. Expansion of the curriculum for HTI’s Professional Development Conference by the addition of mentoring to support early career HTI graduates.
  3. Development of the Latina in Theology and Religion Leadership Program to guide the professional development of qualified Latinas for senior administrative positions in seminaries and departments of religion in the academy.
  4. Expansion of HTI’s ability to assess the effectiveness of its mentoring and professional development curriculum by conducting a curriculum review, evaluation and report and advancing the capacity of HTI’s database to evaluate organizational goals, create metrics, and track the progress of past participants.

All projects experienced the impact of the pandemic with the need for adjustments to planned activities. This project was no exception, but progress was made. Results for objectives were: (1) Institutions providing short-term employment as internships reported that they were thus able to implement new programming and efforts that had been on hold because of limited human capacity and/or resources. The scholar-interns reported that their supervisors provided opportunities to both advance their leadership skills and build new networks. (2) Eight HTI graduates received mentoring on early career formation. Within six months, seven were employed and one was receiving additional help with a resumé. All have been surveyed concerning the help they received with results still being returned; (3) in July 2020, 20 women participated in the program for Latinas, making plans to meet again in the spring and early summer 2021 via Zoom. The program is still under development. (4) despite the pandemic, original dates for the Professional Development Conference were retained with half the courses that had been planned for an in-person event converted to a virtual format. HTI is now transitioning its database to the newest version of FileMaker Pro.

To be noted is the fact that Hispanic students in advanced theological education have been vulnerable with some working from their cars, some facing financial challenges, some dealing with mental and physical health issues, some caring for infants and trying to meet the needs of older children for home schooling, others with aging parents and almost everyone with limited access to libraries. Without exception, the Lilly Endowment has been understanding and flexible concerning the needs of their grantees. With the hope that the coming year will bring ease to existing obstacles and concerns, this grant’s progress will resume and flourish.