(May 24, 2012 – Indianapolis) Edwin David Aponte, Ph.D., has been named Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Christianity and Culture at Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) in Indianapolis.
Dr. Aponte brings to CTS a vigorous and robust background that blends scholarship, service and vision with a unique focus on multiculturalism and the church. He most recently served as Research Professor of Latina/o and Latin American Christianity at New York Theological Seminary, and has held academic positions at Lancaster Theological Seminary, Southern Methodist University, and Temple University, in addition to numerous teaching, research and administrative assignments at higher education institutions.
Connecting faith with culture has been a hallmark of Dr. Aponte’s research and teaching over the past three decades. He has taught graduate-level courses on African-American Christianity, Christianity in the Hispanic tradition, and First American Native spirituality.
CTS President Dr. Matthew Myer Boulton noted that Dr. Aponte’s extensive experience in the Latina/o community is an asset as communities throughout the nation respond to the needs of a rapidly growing Latina/o population. “Ed’s rich and diverse experience with Latina/o life and culture will help guide CTS in indispensable ways as we serve the needs of our students and the broader community,” Dr. Boulton said.
An ordained member of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Dr. Aponte has written broadly about religion and culture. He recently authored jSanto! Varieties of Latino/Latina Spirituality and co-authored with Miguel De La Torre, two landmark texts: The Handbook of Latina/o Theologies and Introducing Latino/a Theologies.
As an administrator, Dr. Aponte has worked extensively on matters of affordability within the higher education sector. He has directed financial aid efforts and served as a consultant on numerous initiatives focused on affordability and higher education. Within the church, Dr. Aponte has held numerous positions including teaching elder, parish associate, proctor and Christian education instructor.
He is the recipient of numerous awards including The Manuela Trevino Alanis Professorship for excellence in the teaching of Hispanic Studies, awarded by The Hispanic Summer Program. He is active in the American Academy of Religion, American Society of Church History, American Studies Association, Association of Theological Schools and the Latin American Studies Association.
Beyond his extensive credentials, Dr. Boulton noted that Dr. Aponte’s leadership and integrity will complement CTS’s mission. “Edwin’s collaborative style and extensive experience are complemented by his extraordinary vision, skill and integrity. He has a pastor’s heart and a prophet’s insight. We’re delighted to welcome him into the CTS community,” Dr. Boulton said.
Dr. Aponte said he was attracted to CTS by the seminary’s reputation in theological education, its diverse faculty and its ongoing commitment to social justice and racial reconciliation. “As a theological educator and minister, my calling is to connect the transforming work of a seminary with the needs of the church and the world at large,” he said. He added that theological education in today’s society demands church leaders who can respond to the interdisciplinary, contextual and multi-cultural needs of an increasingly complex society. “The best seminaries serve as a creative think tank for the church but not in an isolated manner. CTS’s engagement and responsiveness exemplifies the connection between thought leadership and hands-on service,” Aponte stated.
CTS is a fully accredited ecumenical seminary and is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). It offers eight graduate-level degree programs, including theology, ministry and counseling, with specializations in ministries that emphasize the arts and programs for life-long learning. More than 40 denominations are represented among faculty and students.