Over the past several years, distance education has emerged a one of the top priorities of Sacred Heart Major Seminary’s strategic plan. Expanding the distance education program enables Sacred Heart to further establish itself as a leading center of the New Evangelization and to respond more fully to the call of the Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron, archbishop of Detroit, to “unleash the Gospel.”
Sacred Heart has announced the hire of Dr. John Gresham as the new Director of Distance Education and Online Learning. Dr. Gresham will be part of the leadership of the Institute for Lay Ministry and will work closely with the Dean of Studies office as well as other staff and faculty across the seminary.
Dr. Gresham has previously served in key leadership roles in seminary and formation contexts including the director of Paul VI Institute of Catechetical and Pastoral Studies for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, professor of theology, and academic dean of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.
Among Dr. Gresham’s achievements include the introduction of online courses to the Paul VI Institute fifteen years ago. He also teaches regularly with the Institute for Priestly Formation in the summer program.
Dr. Matthew Gerlach, Dean of Institute for Lay Ministry, has served as Director of Online Programs over the past year and a half. Through his leadership, Sacred Heart recently received the approval by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to offer the Certificate in Catholic Theology online beginning in the fall of 2018. He also led the recruitment efforts to hire staff to support distance education into the future.
Msgr. Todd J. Lajiness, president and rector of Sacred Heart, notes the seminary has taken these steps thoughtfully and prayerfully, “not out of fear or due to financial shortfalls, but from a position of strength rooted in our mission.”
Dr. Gresham offers significant contributions to the seminary’s vision of distance education as Sacred Heart approaches its centennial year in 2019 and begins casting a vision for the future.