Graduate Theological Union considers adding 2 schools to coalition

Beatriz Hernandez/Staff

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Zaytuna College and the Institute of Buddhist Studies are candidates for joining a core coalition of academic institutions at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, but their requests have not yet been approved.

The Graduate Theological Union, or GTU, is a unique coalition of religious schools in Berkeley. Currently, the GTU is composed of eight academic schools, five academic centers and five affiliates, according to the GTU website. The Institute of Buddhist Studies is an affiliate program but not an official member of the eight academic schools.

The eight academic schools of the GTU are the American Baptist Seminary of the West, the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, the Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary of California Lutheran University, the Pacific School of Religion, the San Francisco Theological Seminary and the Starr King School for the Ministry.

Seven of the eight academic schools are Christian institutions, while the Starr King School for the Ministry is Unitarian.

The five academic centers and five affiliates encompass a wider range of religions. This includes the Center for Islamic Studies and the Mira and Ajay Shingal Center for Dharma Studies, as well as the Institute of Buddhist Studies.

GTU President Riess Potterveld said in an email that small committees are currently processing the papers needed for review. The Board of Trustees of the GTU, the GTU Council of Presidents and three-quarters of the boards of trustees for current member schools must all approve the addition of a school.

Muhammad McCabe, who coordinates marketing for Zaytuna College, said Zaytuna was previously affiliated with the GTU’s affiliate Center for Islamic Studies. He said being a part of the GTU would help the college to work even more closely with the Center for Islamic Studies as well as other colleges in the consortium.

“We’re already closely affiliated with them, and so that is why we would want to continue working with them,” said McCabe.

According to the GTU website, the organization is “committed to collaboration with one another in order to offer a stronger graduate degree program than any single institution could offer alone.”

Contact Isabella Sabri at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @isabella_sabri.