Source: Los Angeles Chronicle
University of the West President Dr. Allen Huang announced on Thursday the interim approval of its Buddhist Chaplaincy Program by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
UWest will immediately begin recruiting students to the three-year program for the training of chaplains, who would work at hospitals, prisons and in other distressing environments for the spiritual care of suffering individuals. UWest has set a target date of spring semester 2009 for the start of the program, however no official start date has been set.
"This highly anticipated program will be affordable and above excellence in quality," Huang said. "We are working diligently to make University of the West the preeminent location for the academic study of Buddhism."
Huang said there is a high demand for an affordable Buddhist chaplaincy program that is accredited.
"The development of the Inter-Faith Master of Divinity program at UWest is the product of intense collaboration with hospital-based clinical pastoral education programs, Christian and Buddhist denominations and eminent theologians from the United States and abroad," said Dr. Kyle Matsumoto Burch, as Assistant Dean of Enrollment at UWest, formerly of San Francisco Theological School and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. "We are looking forward to a new way of meeting the ministry needs of a new generation."
University of the West is now one of three American schools offering an accredited Buddhist chaplaincy program.