Dr. Ted Whapham on School of Ministry Programs
September 16, 2015
Faith Oakes, Contributing Writer
The 2015-16 academic year marks Dr. Theordore Whapham’s second year in as dean of
the School of Ministry, which Whapham seemed very excited about.
“A big part of my job is setting a vision for the School of Ministry, and to talk
about who we are, where we are and where we want to go,” Whapham said.
Whapham was formerly a theology professor and administrator at St. Thomas University
in Miami. His academic background and degree are in Classical Theology, and his area
of expertise is Trinitarian and Christological theology. He taught a graduated course
over the summer on these topics. He also said that he has always been interested in
and focused on the experience of the Catholic faith in the 21st century.
Whapham outlined the four-part setup for the School of Ministry. He spoke first about
the school’s annual ministry conference, which will be Oct. 22-24 at the Dallas Convention
This event, a collaboration with the Diocese of Dallas, draws about 5,000 visitors
each year. Whapham also discussed the school’s continuing education programs, which
have approximately 800 students. These programs mostly cater to adults studying purely
to learn more about the Catholic faith, since they do not provide any academic credit.
The School of Ministry also partners with diocese in the area to aid in deaconate
Thirdly, Whapham discussed the undergraduate major in pastoral ministry, which is
the newest facet of the School of Ministry. This program began in the 2011-12 academic
year and currently has about 15 enrolled majors.
“I’m really excited about this because we’ve always been a presence everywhere except
at the undergraduate level,” Whapham said.
The fourth facet of the School of Ministry is its graduate program, which has a current
enrollment of 84 students.
This degree is offered both onsite and online. According to Dr. Whapham, most students
are looking for a professional degree. These are adults looking to work in diocesan
offices or run programs in ministry, religious education and summer camps.
“[UD”s School of Ministry] is among the largest graduate programs in the country,
with nationally-recognized professors who are often called upon by bishops to lecture
and help in other capacities,” Whapham said.
The role of dean requires that Whapham wear many hats, including that of the department
chair for the department chair for the undergraduate degree program. This means that
he is an adviser for the undergraduate students and will especially help them with
graduation plans. He will also plan new programs and continue the mission of the School
Whapham mentioned that he travels often, because bishops from various surrounding
areas contact UD and request help in developing their own continuing education programs.
“[The School of Ministry’s] goals is to bring the life of the university to the life
of the Church,” Whapham said.
Whapham said that his purpose is to bring the theological and moral virtues and the
pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, truth and beauty to the real world and the 21st century.
The School of Ministry, he said, shares these goals with the university.