What do PSR grads do?
Once they leave PSR, seminarians head out to do God’s work in the world. But where do they go, what more precisely do they do, and how do they remember their time at PSR? The school’s alumni/ae office recently conducted its first online survey in an attempt to answer some of these questions. A questionnaire was sent to alums who had provided e-mail addresses (about 1,000 out of the total alumni/ae population of 2,500), and nearly 50 percent (450) responded. Among the findings was that nearly half live on the West Coast (44 percent in California alone) and the largest percentage (35%) work as a pastor or with a church. The other fields checked were education (15%), the arts (12%), chaplaincy, social work, or health care (12%), and non-profit or community organizing (10%). Ten percent were retired, and six percent chose “other.”
When asked to comment about their time at the seminary, most were highly positive: “PSR provided me with added skills of intellectual curiosity, renewed zeal for justice, and reinforced passion for ethics.” “PSR prepared me to think and act clearly in churches and communities where clear thinking isn’t usually easy or common.” “My education at PSR has absolutely formed my current work by forging me into a thoughtful, care-full pastor and counselor. It is hard to be specific, because, as a result of my time at PSR, I am a ‘new person’ with new ideas, perspectives, and wisdom.” Those who had less positive views said they felt there were gaps in their education here, most particularly in “learning about the work of day-to-day ministry.”
The survey was conducted by PSR’s director of advancement and alumni/ae relations since 2009, Katherine Kunz, an alumna herself (she received an MA in art and religion from PSR and the GTU in 2006). Kunz came to PSR after directing an ecumenical youth ministry program on U.S. Army bases in Europe. “This involved not only direct ministry with military youth, but extensive event planning and lots of fundraising. All of which has prepared me for my work at PSR in both fundraising and alumni/ae relations.”
In her new job, Kunz has found that PSR alums pursue colorful and interesting paths in their careers, stories which her office is sharing. “We are profiling alumni/ae on our Web site (psr.edu),” she says. “We often link these to our Facebook page or send them out via our Alumni/ae E-Newsletter. I encourage all alums not only to check them out but to send us your own stories.” (Three such profiles appear on this page.)
Those with ideas or suggestions about how her office can be of further service to alums, or wishing to update contact information, can contact Kunz at firstname.lastname@example.org. She adds: “Also, please share with us any news or updates—they inspire us and our donors! No matter where you are or what your ministry is, I hope you continue to stay connected to PSR.”