The Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS) was formed in 1984 by twelve theological schools located in the Chicago area to provide means for cooperation among the member institutions in the areas of student cross-registration, library access and acquisitions, interchange among faculty members in the disciplines of theological education, and communications between the schools. Prior to 1984, these schools had many years of successful ecumenical cooperation, primarily through the Chicago Cluster of Theological Schools, the Chicago Theological Institute, and the Library Council. In addition to ACTS, various agreements between two or more institutions further cooperation on the basis of geographic proximity or an interest in specific programs.
The eleven schools that currently make up ACTS are accredited members of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Each is affiliated with or sponsored by a denomination, a diocese, a religious organization, or several religious orders. Each offers professional degree programs for ministry at the master’s and doctoral levels and most also offer other academic degrees. All offer a variety of opportunities for continuing education for clergy and lay leaders, as well as conferences, lectures and other programs of interest to a wider public.
Together, the schools within ACTS offer a rich network of resources for theological education, making the association one of the outstanding centers of theological education in the world. Available to the approximately 3,200 students currently enrolled at its member schools are about 260 faculty, some 700 courses offered annually, and library collections of 2.1 million volumes and nearly 5,500 currently received periodical subscriptions. Several schools have well-stocked theological bookstores. More than half the schools offer online courses. ACTS makes it possible for students and faculty to pursue their work, study, and reflection with people from many different cultural and theological traditions.
ACTS itself does not offer either courses or degrees. Application for enrollment must be made to one of the member institutions. An essential tool for cross-registration purposes, this catalog also includes information on the many resources for theological education available to students enrolled in the member schools of ACTS. Many of the schools draw on the vast resources of other institutions of higher education and have relationships with the numerous religious organizations and agencies in the Chicago area.
The current chair of ACTS is Thomas Baima of University of St. Mary of the Lake. Michael Connors of Catholic Theological Union is treasurer. Inquiries regarding ACTS should be directed to Thomas Baima, University of St. Mary of the Lake, 1000 E. Maple, Mundelein, IL 60060-1174; phone: 847.566.6401.