By ATS description, the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree properly belongs to the larger and more diverse family of degrees called “professional doctorate.” This article looks to the praxis-centered nature of professional doctorates as a means of addressing the identity crisis facing D.Min. education amidst the (ubiquitous) influences of the Wissenschaft model, whose hegemony in Western institutions over the last 150 years has worked to sustain an impassable rift between matters “academic” and “professional.” I begin by discussing the challenge that many classically trained theological educators face when teaching in programs that have a distinctively professional focus, such as that of the D.Min. I then survey the rise of the Wissenschaft model and its impact on theological education—particularly as it gave rise to the so-called “clerical paradigm.” In addition, I propose that D.Min. education can reduce the tendency to succumb to the influences of the Wissenschaft model by orienting itself in relationship to the broader category of “the professional doctorate” to which it belongs. I do this first by highlighting the distinctive curricular features of professional doctorates in light of those typical to the Ph.D. degree, and then examine the formative role played by “praxis” as the defining component of advanced professional education. I conclude by suggesting that the distinguishing criterion that guides D.Min. education is the unique theological vision that informs Christianity as a whole.
Conniry, Charles J., "Reducing the Identity Crisis in Doctor of Ministry Education" (2004). Faculty Publications - Portland Seminary. 1.