About Ted

Ted W. Ward: An Outline of Life and Career (1930-2016 )

Prepared by Linda Cannell, 2014Ted-and-Margaret-at-Banff_cut

Ted was born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (1930) and raised in Avon Park, Florida where he completed high school and became widely known as a promising young flutist and choral conductor.  At 11 years of age, Ted made a formal faith commitment and joined a Presbyterian Church. “I’d grown up with an awareness of Christ in my life, so it really wasn’t that much of a transformation. At home there was a keen awareness of the importance of the Bible. Also, a former missionary to China became dear to our family. We called her Aunt Mabel and she spent her last years with us. She was a deeply spiritual person with a keen sense of God’s work in the world. It was through her influence that I learned to look beyond the typical American’s me-us-and-ours viewpoint.” Growing up in a small town in south Florida during the Great Depression, Ted’s Christian values were shaped by simplicity of lifestyle and empathy for human need.  His career as an explorer and bridge-builder among many cultures has been marked by deep commitment to social service and Christian ministry. From childhood, he determined that a primary characteristic of his life would be to make a difference.

In 1948, Ted moved to Wheaton, Illinois to begin a degree in music education at Wheaton College. In the college orchestra he sat with another flutist, Margaret Hockett from Evanston, IL. Ted graduated with a baccalaureate degree in 1951. In June of that year he and Margaret were married.

Ted became band director at Wheaton College Academy while he was a student at Wheaton College. After he graduated, he continued as band director and music teacher (1950-1952), but with an eagerness to go overseas. Ted and Margaret prepared to teach in a Bible school in France, but God had other plans. “Sometimes God leads us into experiences to let us discover how willing we are to follow him. The key to an understanding of God’s will for our lives is committed planning accompanied by plenty of space for God to surprise us!”

Shortly after they were married, Ted and Margaret drove to Florida where Ted would begin a masters degree in education. They arrived in a driving rain, with Ted almost too late for the last afternoon of registration. But a “can-do” registrar (a Sunday School teacher) cleared the way, providing a map of the campus, directing Ted where to go, and then calling ahead. Ted has never forgotten Charles Durrance and his act of service to a harried, rain-soaked beginning graduate student; and throughout his own career he has been a “can-do” administrator who fosters organizational environments where people are served rather than treated as commodities. He received the Master of Education degree in 1954 (with an emphasis in music teacher education) and the Doctor of Education degree in 1956 (with an emphasis in educational research and curriculum for professional development).

During this time Ted was active in church leadership (Director of Music and Christian Education, 1954-1956, Gainesville, Florida), music education (choral director and instrumental teacher at the University of Miami’s, Florida Summer Music Festival, 1951-54), and teacher development (Instructor and Assistant Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville, 1953-1956; his major responsibility was the development of the regional public school-based teacher education centers in Duval and Pinellas Counties).

When teaching missionary kids in France seemed to be a closing option for Ted and Margaret, Ted accepted an appointment at Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing, Michigan and, in time, became Professor of Education and Curriculum Research (1956-1986). His major assignments during the 30 years at MSU include development of the school-based teacher education center in Pontiac, MI, and the MSU continuing education center for metropolitan Detroit 1956-1961; Assistant to the Dean and Coordinator for doctoral program development, College of Education; Curriculum Coordinator, College of Education, 1961-1963; Associate Director for Research, Instructional Materials Center for Handicapped Children and Youth (U.S. Office of Education) 1965-1972; Director, Learning Systems Institute, 1963-1971; Director, Human Learning Research Institute, 1966-1971;  Director, Values Development Education Program (Lilly Endowment), 1973-1976; Research Specialist in Ethnographic Studies, Institute for International Studies in Education; Coordinator, Nonformal Education in Indonesia and Brazil (research and development project), 1974-1978; Chair of the University Advisory Council 1976-1978; and Chair of the Committee on Mission of the College of Education, 1977-1978.

At the same time, he served in two churches as Minister of Music (1957-1961, Detroit, Michigan; 1962-1970, Lansing, Michigan); and as president and chair of the board of the Pontiac Symphony Orchestra Association, Pontiac, Michigan (1959-1961).

The fact that Ted is a musician is significant. Though his once considerable instrumental skills have diminished, and though he no longer conducts large choirs, he remains musically literate and has strong convictions about the place of music and the arts in society and in the Christian life. His musicianship is important because it strengthened his ability to see patterns, to think in whole phrases, to hear the holism of things. Several years ago, some of Ted’s former students prepared a festschrift to reflect what they had learned from him and what they felt were his most enduring contributions to education. The choice of title, With an Eye on the Future (Monrovia, California: MARC 1996) was a deliberate recognition of Ted’s capacity to see patterns, trends, and to propose implications for the future. That so many of his collected writings and speeches across more than 30 years read like today’s newspaper testifies to this ability and discipline.

Professional interests

Ted’s commitment to service—to making a difference—is made up of three primary educational values:

  1. Learning is collaborative and lifelong. Nearly all his students can attest to the value of the learning communities that emerged in doctoral programs at MSU and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
  2. Development is a chief end of any educational endeavor. For Ted this has meant investment in the personal and professional development of individuals, active response to injustice, effort to help communities develop in ways appropriate to their culture, and both the challenge and crafting of educational structures to reflect what most educators claim is their purpose–development!
  3. The necessity of research. Little forward progress is made in any endeavor without guidance based on carefully designed research. Inquiry into truth coupled with responsible management toward innovation is a hallmark of the doctoral programs he developed.

Ted’s professional interests include leadership development, theological education, educational administration, intercultural competencies, missionary roles and problems, family tasks in moral education, human learning, social/cultural dynamics, cultural orientation of teachers and missionaries, and instructional design.  These areas of expertise have coalesced around four major areas of professional research:

The education of educators. Ted’s influence on the development of educators spans the university, the seminary, and the Christian college. There is hardly an evangelical theological institution in North America, not to mention in many countries of the world, that doesn’t have at least one faculty member who has been touched in some way by Ted’s passion for the educator as facilitator of the learning community. On his many overseas assignments, in his spare time, he consulted with mission agencies and Christian leadership development initiatives to help them think through their particular responsibilities in the service of the church. His consultancies with Christian organizations, government agencies, and corporations are numerous. That Ted did all of this while involved in formal higher education marks him as someone who has not utterly dismissed the academy; however, even now he is concerned that the academy espouses purposes it often fails to demonstrate.

Non-Traditional Education. Ted spent much of his career warning of the limitations of ‘schooling’ and championing non-traditional approaches to education. Because of the wide ranging nature of his creative energy, he is considered by many to be one of the more important and influential educators of the 20th century. Through the 1970s, he was a primary researcher in a USAID initiative, the Program of Studies in Nonformal Education at MSU. He also participated in the development of many programs for church-based education of pastoral and ministry leaders; and was one of the architects of the Seminary of the East, and other non-traditional approaches to seminary education.

Education in developing nations. The evangelical community knows Ted best for his work in education in the Third World. Graduates of the PhD programs he directed are scattered throughout the world serving in numerous organizations as faculty members, presidents, deans, and provosts, relief and development specialists, parachurch leaders, congregational leaders, mission leaders, and corporate executives. Over 100 evangelical missions professors, missionary executives, and Christian education leaders did their doctoral studies with Ted. His investments internationally encompassed community development, mission strategy, and development in theological education through which he has gained an intimate knowledge of educational situations around the world. His contributions include publications on Third World education, especially nonformal education, and involvement in the production of the World Dictionary of Mission Related Educational Institutions (1968). He was influential in the early years of the Theological Education by Extension movement (1967-1976).

Moral development. During the 1970s, Ted established and directed the Michigan State University, Values Education Research Center. His work in the area of moral development and the family led to involvement with the National Association of Evangelicals and consultancy to the United States Congress. For five years he chaired the Task Force on the Family (National Association of Evangelicals); in 1980 he was Research Adviser and Delegate-at-large, White House Conference on Families, Washington and Los Angeles. “I am personally and professionally committed to interdisciplinary and intercultural understanding of human development defined in the broadest possible way.”

The Move to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS)

Ted is often asked how the move to TEDS came about.  “Over the years, many Christian educational institutions asked us to consider joining them, especially in an administrative capacity. We knew that God had called us to a special kind of work at MSU. As we thought about the option of retirement after 30 years at Michigan State, we asked God to show us whether to stay on or accept some other position. At MSU, I was involved in non-institutional reforms in human development, not just training teachers for schools and narrowly church-based programs. Trinity seemed open to this broader definition of education.” In the fall of 1985, Ted started his final year at MSU, and began halftime at TEDS. Soon after, he was appointed Professor of Christian Education and Mission, Dean of International Studies, Mission, and Education, and named Aldeen Professor of Missions, Education, and International Studies. He retired officially from the Divinity School, but continued in an active teaching role and consultant to the Ph.D. programs in Educational Studies and Intercultural Studies until 1999.

His major assignments while at TEDS included development of research doctorates in Education and Intercultural Studies; Director of the Institutional Study for the Year 2000. One of his dreams for Trinity was to help faculty and students gain a larger view of the church in the world, and to stimulate partnerships internationally. His words in 1987 are as relevant today:

In the coming years, evangelical churches must become far more international in their perspective. We talk a lot about national activities, and we also talk about missions. But we do not seem to have a solid grasp of what it means to be part of the worldwide church.

It is no longer adequate for American Christians to think of themselves as mission contributors and Christians in other nations as mission receivers. . . . American churches are not sufficiently internationally minded. To change this situation, pastors need to be trained with a global perspective. A strong missions major in the seminary is not the answer.

Instead, theological institutions need policies and practices that will develop in all students, not just those headed overseas, a healthy concern for the international development of the church.

Seminary faculty need more than superficial international experience.  Many have traveled to another country, but too often as a sort of lecturing tourist. For seminary professors to develop a global perspective, contacts with the worldwide church must become frequent and typical rather than unique and rare. . . .

The future pastor must become a world citizen if future Christians are to be able to transcend purely national loyalties. The church tomorrow has to think in terms of the ways we can best benefit from a reciprocal involvement with brother and sister churches in other nations.

Some denominations have been effective in thinking of missions as a two-way street.  They bring people from other countries to teach us competencies we don’t have. . . .

Seminary and Bible school faculty members should be involved continuously in the church in other parts of the world. No amount of reading, no amount of secondhand information can give instructors the perspective and the understanding they can gain from working with a church or Christian organization in another country.

If seminary faculty and pastors are aloof from the worldwide mission of the church, North American churches are going to lack the appropriate world consciousness. . . .

The forward-looking Christian education of the future must be concerned about the international development of the church. ‘World Christian’ must become more than a catchy slogan.

Not surprisingly, Ted’s expertise and wisdom have been sought after by numerous organizations for whom he has served as board member and/or consultant. The list of conference, seminar and workshop engagements around the world seems endless and  for many years after retirement, Ted remained active as a consultant, conference and seminar leader, commencement speaker, and workshop clinician.

Representative Board Memberships

Curriculum Research Committee, Michigan Educational Research Council of the Michigan Department of Education,1965-1967; International Advisory Committee on World Neighbors, 1966-1969; Michigan Council on Alcohol Problems, 1970-1974; Summer Institute of International Studies, Wheaton College, 1972-1978; DayStar Communications Research Institute, Advisory Board, Nairobi, Kenya 1972-1976; American Society of Missiology, 1974-1976; Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education, 1976-1978; Editorial Advisory Board, Family Life Today, 1980-1984; Society for Advancement of Global Education, Advisory Board, 1981-1983; Council on International Education of the Midwest Universities  Consortium on International Activities, 1982-1985; International Conference on Missionary Kids, founding member, Manila, 1985; Quito 1987; and Nairobi, 1989; Christian Ministries Management Association, 1989-1995; American Association of Bible Colleges, board of directors and member-at-large, 1989-1997; Medical Assistance Program (Map-International, Inc.) Advisory Board, 1977-1984; Co-founder: Associates of Urbanus (publishers of instructional materials and books for missionary preparation); Co-founder and first editor: Faculty Dialogue (a journal for teachers and administrators in Christian Higher Education).

Major Consultative Service

During his extensive international service as a consultant and specialist on education and human resource development, Ted has been engaged in research, consultation, and educational planning in over 65 countries. He consulted in many areas of the world for government and non-governmental organizations and for denominational and para-church agencies. The organizations he has served include U.S. congressional committees; The Billy Graham Center; Wycliffe Summer Institute of Linguistics; the Peace Corps; the Committee to Assist Ministry Education Overseas (CAMEO, Joint Standing Committee of the Independent Foreign Mission Associations and the Evangelical Foreign Mission Associations); the European Language and Cultural Centers (Eurocentres), Zurich, Switzerland (with field work in England, France, and Switzerland); Dutweiler Foundation (Migros Volkschulen and Eurocentres), Zurich, Switzerland; Nuffield Foundation, London; Ford Foundation, New York; Dag Hammarsköld Foundation; UNESCO; UNICEF; and UNDP, (United Nations), New York and Paris; U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Office of Education, various universities, colleges, state and local departments of education; American Foundation for the Blind; Library of Congress; Chairman of Council on the Family, National Association of Evangelicals; National Council of Churches of Christ; Overseas Ministries Study Center; Foreign Mission Board and Home Mission Board, Southern Baptist Convention; Institute for Christian Leadership, Portland, Oregon; Association of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations; World Vision International (fieldwork in 9 nations); World Concern; Maryknoll Sisters; the Society of Jesus, and other Catholic orders; advisor to the U. S. Office of Education in respect to the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) Clearinghouse for Handicapped Children, and to the Educational Professions Development Section of USOE; Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), Seoul, Korea and Bangkok, Thailand; consultant and training coordinator (community development, non-formal education, and national planning) in Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Lebanon, Indonesia, Israel, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Thailand, Germany, and other nations; American Institute of Holy Land Studies, Israel; Asia Society; U.S., Malaysia and Korea; Assembly of God, Springfield and Brussels; Christian Church of the U.S.; Control Data Corp., Minnesota; Corps of Chaplains, USN, D.C.; Office of Children, Youth and Families, DHHS, DC; Moody Bible Institute (School of Aviation); SAGE, CA; Rodale Press; Quest, Inc.; Thomas Nelson, TN; Westinghouse Learning Systems, MD; White House Conference on Families, DC, LA, MN; WORD, TX; Youth for Christ, IL Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship; The Navigators; Slavic Gospel Mission; Association of Theological Schools; Youth with a Mission; Ministry Training International, and service with more than 20 international mission societies in U.S. and overseas.

Long Term Consultancies  

Chair, Council on Education, Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA), 1972-1974; Missionary Internship, Inc., Farmington, Michigan, 1972-1985; Research Fellow, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1972-1985.

Special Assistant for International Conference Design, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (Lausanne 1974; Amsterdam 1983) and publication of instructional materials based on Lausanne and ICOWE; Consultant and Conference Planner, Family Concern, Inc., 1976-1978; Advisory Council, MUCIA Agricultural Education Project in Nepal 1977-1979; Consulting Coordinator for Annual Training Convocations, Joint Committee on Personnel, International Foreign Mission Societies and Evangelical Foreign Mission Societies, 1973-1980; Consultant on Moral Values and Family, the White House and the U. S. Congress, 1984-1987; Workshop leader, Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, Connecticut, 1980-1994; Conference speaker and consultant for Christian Camping International; Biblical Institute for Christian Leadership (BILD), now Church-Based Theological Education, (C-BTE), Ames, Iowa (1988-2005); American Association of Bible Colleges, Board member and consultant; Christian Camping International, Board member and consultant; Institute for Christian Leadership, Portland, Oregon; Evaluative research study of the School of World Missions, Fuller Theological Seminary; Senior Advisor for Leadership Development, Maclellan Foundation (Chattanooga), 2001-2006.

Major Conferences and Seminars

Staley Foundation lecturer for more than twenty colleges and seminaries, and guest lecturer at more than 40 other seminaries, colleges and universities, 1972-1984; Faculty retreat facilitator for more than 10 seminaries and colleges; Conference planner and speaker, Urbana 1970;  Conference Planner and Speaker, International Congress on World Evangelism, Lausanne, 1974; Asbury Theological Seminary, Conferences on Moral Education, 1974-1979; Azusa Pacific College, World Awareness Conference, CA; Baptist General Conference, Christian Education Workshop, Schroon Lake, New York; Christian Camping International, Biennial conferences; Conference of International Education and Planning Association, South Carolina; First and Second Evangelical Conferences on the Future, Kansas City and Atlanta; Forest Home Intercollegiate Conference, California; Fuller Theological Seminary, Christian Education Conference;  MAP-International, four conferences and eight years of consultancy, Illinois; National Association of Professors and Researchers in Christian Education, Anaheim; National Association of Professors of Christian Education, California; Southern Baptist Convention, Conference on the Future of Missions, Richmond, Virginia; Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Conference on Third World Leadership. Illinois; Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Christian Education Conference; Winnipeg Joint Conference on Christian Camping, Manitoba, Canada; Planner and Coordinator of the Annual Institute for Studies of Non-formal Education, 1979-1985; Planner and Co-leader of the Summer Workshop on Teaching for Cross-cultural Perspective, East-West Center, Honolulu. Facilitator of the first joint workshop of Maryknoll Missioners and the Overseas Ministries Study Center, 1980; Keynote speaker, the World Congress of Comparative Education Societies, Seoul, Korea, 1981; Keynote speaker, Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals, Orlando, 1983; Association of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations, Kansas; Association of Urban Missions, New Jersey; Christian Church of the U.S., Kansas City; The Firs, Workshop on Christian Education, Washington; Indiana Christian Management Association; International Christian Leadership, Gospel Light; Missionary Internship, Michigan;  Mississippi Baptist Convention; National Religious Broadcasters, Washington, D.C.;  New York State Association of Evangelicals; Ohio Business Teachers Association;  Religious Education Association, Anaheim; Scripture Press Ministries, Illinois; U.S. Center for World Evangelization, California; Urbana ‘70; ‘73; ‘76; Wesleyan Publication Board Workshop on Moral Education, Indiana.

Major Recognitions

Perhaps the most appreciated of the recognitions that Ted has received for his service are the various expressions of gratitude and appreciation from his friends, students, and professional colleagues. Additionally, his work has been recognized formally by a number of organizations:

Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation: Citation for Service in Developing Nations, Uppsala, Sweden, 1975; Faculty and Alumni Award for Service, College of Education, Michigan State University, 1986; Elected to G. W. Aldeen Chair of International Studies, Mission, and Education, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1986; Doctor of Divinity (honorary), Roberts Wesleyan University, Rochester, New York, 1987; Senior Scholar in Residence, Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, Connecticut, 1994; Establishment of the Ward Consultation, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1995; Lifetime Service Award, North American Association of Professors of Christian Education, 1996; Alumni Award for Service to Society (with Margaret H. Ward), Wheaton College, Illinois, 1997; First recipient of the Award for Service to Christian Higher Education, Warner Pacific College, 2000; Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University, 1986; Professor Emeritus, Trinity International University, 1999.

Professional Memberships

International Council for the Education of Teachers; Amnesty International; American Educational Research Association; American Society of Missiology; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; Society for International Development; National Society for the Study of Education; Phi Delta Kappa; The North American Professors of Christian Education; Association of Professors and Researchers in Religious Education; Christian Management Association; Associates of Urbanus (co-founder), Institute for Christian Leadership.


Founding Editor: Faculty Dialogue, Institute for Christian Leadership

Living Overseas: A Book of Preparation, Macmillan, 1984.

Values Begin at Home, Scripture Press, 1979, l989.

Ted has written widely in the popular press and in the professional literature of education and intercultural studies. Major articles appear in such diverse publications as the Encyclopedia of Educational Research, the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Education, The Comparative Education Review, Evangelical Missions Quarterly, Theological Education, College of Education Quarterly, The Journal of the Music Educators National Conference, Diapason (American Guild of Organists) Decision, Teaching Exceptional Children, HIS, Family Life Today, among others. His writings range across many interests including professional development, curriculum improvement and instructional materials, social science research, human development, family life, moral values development, nonformal education, music education and leadership, Christian higher education, church education, church-based theological education, leadership, culture, and missions.


For several decades, Ted Ward has served the field of professional education as teacher, administrator, innovator and researcher, educator of leaders, and consultant to institutions and governmental ministries of education. During the middle years of his career he specialized in educational planning and leadership development. For the tangible differences he made in emerging nations he was awarded the Dag Hammarskjold Citation for Service in Developing Nations, Uppsala, Sweden (1975), the first American to be so honored; and later the Faculty and Alumni Award for Service, College of Education, Michigan State University (1986).

During his 30 years at Michigan State University, Ted held professorships of Curriculum and Instruction, International Education, and  Educational Administration. He founded and directed the Learning Systems Institute, a research and development organization dedicated to the improvement of educational institutions and solving of instructional problems; served the College of Social Science and College of Education as director of the Institute for Research in Human Learning; and associate director for Research for the USOE Center at MSU for Instructional Materials for the Handicapped. He was coordinator of Graduate Studies in Nonformal Education, and affiliated with the Institute for International Studies in Education. With support of the Lilly Endowment, he established at Michigan State University the Values Development Education Center.  Ted’s international experience included research, training and fieldwork in more than 60 countries. These projects focused on instructional improvement within various higher education and adult education institutions and organizations. Of particular emphasis was the problem of adapting instructional materials from one culture to another.

He has published widely and his writings have contributed extensively to formal and nonformal education. His Living Overseas (Macmillan) is still consulted by missionaries, intercultural educators and consultants as well the general population of Americans in overseas assignments.

He has been guest lecturer and consultant for numerous colleges and a wide variety of educational and church oriented associations, ranging from medical schools to theological seminaries. He served on the advisory boards of various national organizations, as well as several organizations engaged in relief and development work.

After retirement from Michigan State University, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Ted developed an interest in pastoral development within the church. He participated in the design of alternative models of educational experience, especially the emphasis on church-based theological education.

Even though his interests and activities seem diverse, Ted managed to integrate and connect the areas of his professional service around key areas: education, mission, community development, and leadership development for the church. He thinks in terms of  “international studies in education” and “the international development of the church.” For his students and colleagues, he has modeled the importance of thinking and acting strategically, integratively, and holistically, saying often, “To know and not to act is not to know.” His life and career have been grounded in a passion for service and justice and the development of the person.

In 1997, Ted and his wife Margaret were honored by Wheaton College (Illinois) as Alumni of the Year, with special recognition of their extensive service to society across the world. Recognition as the first husband and wife team to receive this award represented to the Wards a fulfillment of their commitment to equality and companionship.

Ted has earned a widely respected reputation as a teacher, researcher, and writer on many aspects of the learning process. Although he is recognized primarily as a theoretician and innovator, he takes his greatest satisfaction from the active development of leaders. Whether lecturing or preaching, Ted shows more appreciation for a learner who says, “You make me think,” than for a dozen who profess being delighted by the stories he loves to tell.

This narrative outline of Ted’s life and career ends with the introductory comments of the master of ceremonies at an academic conference: “For those of us who accomplish several major tasks in a lifetime, it is tiring to realize that this outline is incomplete. More could be written of the remarkable career of this remarkable man–a career that continues even in retirement and is perpetuated through the lives of hundreds of people who consider him one of their most significant and demanding teachers, a valued and respected colleague, and a good friend.”

We are in a time where the ability to discern implications for the future of education is essential. The need to see situations through different lenses is both mandatory and possible as leaders from different cultures and organizations are able to be in conversation. For as long as he lives, Ted will be a valued dialogue partner for many. In this role he is supportive, a wise counselor, sometimes argumentative, but always a cheerleader—helping to move people from ideas to commitment to action.