The establishment of Centers in selected areas of the University increases the University's research activity, enhances its response to the needs of the larger community, and facilitates collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects which involve faculty from several departments and schools (see SMU Policy Number: 6.22).
Perkins School of Theology is home to four Centers approved by the SMU Provost for teaching and research.
:: The Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies (formerly the Center for Missional Wisdom) joins with congregations and church leaders to understand the unique challenges they face in sharing the gospel, as well as to cultivate new and relevant forms of witness both locally and internationally. Through lecture series, workshops, the creation of curriculum resources, and focused study groups, the Center is dedicated to working with God’s church to share the Gospel with the world. Dr. Robert Hunt, professor of Christian Mission and Interreligious Relations was appointed director in 2013.
:: The central mission of the Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions is to promote a deeper understanding of the varieties of religious life and expression within the Latino/a communities in the United States and in Latin America. Building upon the rich history of its Mexican American Program, Perkins seeks to strengthen its engagement with Latino/a realities through its educational programs, the generation and conduct of research, and the dissemination of knowledge. The director is Hugo Magallanes, associate professor of Christianity and Cultures.
:: The Center for Methodist Studies at Bridwell Library was established in 1984 to encourage research, study, and reflection upon the Methodist movement, including the sources that influenced its origin, the forces that shaped its development, and the features that determine its character and influence. To foster these goals, the Center sponsors and supports a variety of programs, publications, and exhibitions. Roberta A. Schaafsma is the director of Bridwell Library and J.S. Bridwell Endowed Librarian.
:: The Perkins Center for Preaching Excellence, established in 2014, is an initiative of Perkins School of Theology made possible by a five-year grant from the Lilly Foundation. The Center’s purpose is to enhance the teaching of preaching in seminary classrooms and the preaching of working pastors through peer learning groups. The Director is the Rev. Dr. Alyce M. McKenzie, Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship and Altshuler Distinguised Teaching Professor. The Center is guided by an Executive Board composed of members of the Perkins faculty as well as an Advisory Panel consisting of members of the broader SMU faculty and leaders in the church and community.
:: The Center for Religious Leadership provides training in the theology of leadership and practical skills for leadership. This training is based in an understanding of leadership as a spiritual vocation cultivated, strengthened, and lived out within communities of faith and the other contexts in which the church exists – including legal, business, political, social and cultural contexts. The CRL draws on the skills of the SMU faculty from Perkins School of Theology, Cox School of Business, and Dedman School of Law along with church leaders (both lay and clergy), and business and non-profit leaders. Bishop D. Max Whitfield was appointed director of the CRL in 2014.