A highly respected leader in seminary education is putting her gifts and commitment to use on a broader stage.

Valerie Rempel, Ph.D., will step down as vice president and dean of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary at Fresno Pacific University, and join The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) as a director of accreditation August 30, 2021. Rempel joined the seminary faculty in 1996, was appointed dean in 2014 and vice president in 2019. She also served as associate professor and J.B. Toews Chair of History and Theology and was a past director of the Center for Anabaptist Studies. Tim Geddert, Ph.D., professor and program director of New Testament, will act as interim dean.

“We congratulate Valerie on her new position and look forward to seeing the impact she will have on the education of seminarians at the institutional level,” said Joseph Jones, Ph.D., president of FPU. “Valerie’s focus has always been to help students grow in their knowledge of and love for Jesus and his church, and pass that on in their work and life.”

Strong relationships, especially those with faculty and students, have been a highlight of her time at Fresno Pacific, Rempel said. “It has been my privilege and great joy to serve the seminary and university and I will miss being part of the day-to-day community of FPU. At the same time, I’m looking forward to contributing in a new way to the work of theological education across the U.S. and Canada.”

ATS includes more than 270 graduate schools offering postbaccalaureate degree programs in ministry, teaching and research in the theological disciplines. Member schools come from Christian and Jewish faiths, including the full range of Christian denominations and traditions as well as multidenominational and nondenominational schools. (More at ats.edu)

The organization has two separate corporations: The Association provides programs, services, research and other resources to support administrators and faculty at member schools. The Commission on Accrediting accredits institutions and approves degree programs offered by accredited schools.

Working in the Commission on Accrediting, each of the five directors of accreditation facilitate the accrediting relationship with about 60 member schools through visits and related activities. They also provide education, training and support about the process of accreditation; support the work of the ATS Board of Commissioners; contribute to association programs and services; and maintain involvement with the broader community of theological and higher education.

Rempel earned a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 2003, an M.A. from Vanderbilt University in 1999, an M.A. from Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (now Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary) in 1992 and a B.A. from Tabor College in 1978. She was elected to the ATS Board of Commissioners in 2020.

Founded in 1955 as Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, the seminary became Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary on its 2010 merger with Fresno Pacific University. In 2019-2020, 170 students pursued nine academic degrees online and on campus at 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno. All programs emphasize biblical and theological reflection, personal and community formation, skill development and supervised experiential learning.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations