St Francis College will complete its affiliation with Charles Sturt University in 2023 and begin partnering with the University of Divinity as our higher education provider. The invitation to join the University of Divinity is a new beginning for St Francis College, creating significant and exciting opportunities for growth. We invite our entire Diocese to celebrate the transition and engage in the new opportunities for study and learning at St Francis that will unfold in the coming years.
The University of Divinity was established in 1910 as an ecumenical provider of theological education known as the Melbourne College of Divinity. It is the oldest collection of theological colleges in Australia. In 2010, the Melbourne College of Divinity applied to the Victorian Government to be established as a “university of specialisation,” and this was granted in 2012. The University of Divinity currently comprises 10 theological colleges, eight of which are in Victoria, that span the ecumenical spectrum. St Francis College will be the first Queensland-based theological college to join the University of Divinity, marking a significant northern expansion for the university.
In preparation for joining University of Divinity next year, the faculty of St Francis College is currently engaged in an intensive curriculum development process that will result in a new set of subjects and courses to be delivered from the campus in Milton. Recognising the imperative to rethink the purpose and process of theological education in the 21st century, the faculty is developing a curriculum that not only meets the needs of ministry formation students training for ordination, but also makes theological education and formation accessible to anyone who desires to reflect deeply upon the Christian faith.
Currently, only 20 per cent of tertiary students at St Francis College are preparing for ordained ministry, with the majority 80 per cent studying for personal enrichment or to prepare for a diversity of lay ministries and vocations. This reflects global trends in the shifting terrain of theological education. Theological colleges are becoming hubs of learning for the entire Church that support and nurture faith formation beyond “professional” ministry.
St Francis College will continue to offer the Bachelor of Theology through University of Divinity for those needing or wanting the full degree. We will also offer an eight-subject Diploma of Theology and a four-subject Certificate in Divinity, both of which will be offered either full-time or part-time and in-person or online.
Postgraduate options will also be available for those wanting to study at the Master and Doctoral levels. Our hope is that many people across our Diocese will come and enrol in one of these shorter options and get a taste of the excitement of studying theology.
We are also discussing ways in which our current courses in Spiritual Direction and Professional Supervision will continue as we move into this new partnership with the University of Divinity. Our vision for St Francis College moving forward is to become a flourishing community of diverse learners that enriches the life of our Diocese.
The University of Divinity also provides an exciting and unique array of networks and schools that St Francis College will benefit from in the coming years. Through the University of Divinity’s School of Indigenous Studies, the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies network, and emerging partnerships with other Anglican theological colleges across Australia, we will host conferences, retreats, lectures and workshops that will be open to everyone.
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