Blog Interview – Rev Hector Morrison – Highland Theological College

htc-logo 1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Highland Theological College

Rev Hector Morrison 25Mar14 My name is Hector Morrison. I am Principal at HTC. I also teach some Old Testament modules and do some PG supervision. I am an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland.

2) Tell us a little about HTC.

HTC from crane HTC, situated in Dingwall in the north of Scotland, has been in existence since 1994 and is one of 13 autonomous Academic Partner colleges which constitute the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). HTC offers courses in theological studies at every level from Access, through BA (Hons) and MTh, to PhD. Our main programme is the BA (Hons) with over 100 students; we have 30 on the Access Course, 10-15 doing PhD at any one time, and a small number on the MTh. HTC also functions as a local access point for other degree programmes delivered by the university.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

All our programmes are available FT, most are also available PT. They’re very flexible so that students can fit their studies around other commitments.

4) How do HTC students fund their studies?

graduation 2013 Being part of a university, eligible Scottish students will have their fees paid by the Scottish Government, while eligible RUK students should be able to access student loans. Eligible Access students receive bursaries. Part-scholarships may be available for some postgraduate students.

5) Does HTC take students from overseas?

Our BA (Hons) programme is now validated for international delivery and we have a small number of overseas students. There is a higher percentage of overseas students on our MTh, while many of our PhD students are American.

6) What type of ministry is HTC intended to prepare students for?

morning worship We aim to equip students to think biblically and theologically, giving them an all-round theological education that will prepare them well for a whole variety of ministries, or for life in general. Students interested in a particular area of ministry (e.g., pastoral ministry, missions, counselling, etc) can choose appropriate modules and placements according to their interests. HTC is non-denominational, with staff and students from a variety of denominations. We are an accredited training centre for a number of Scottish denominations including the Church of Scotland.

7) When students leave HTC what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

A growing number of our graduates go into pastoral or other church-related ministry, others become RME teachers, or go into missionary work, or move on to other areas of work better equipped to understand their context theologically and to help out in their local fellowships. A number of our PhD graduates teach theology in seminaries or universities in a variety of countries.

8) What is distinctive about what HTC offers compared with other colleges in Scotland and overseas?

VC Classroom While we insist that students need to be exposed to a wide spectrum of theological viewpoints HTC does have an evangelical and also reformed ethos. Being a part of UHI, we are at the leading edge of the use of video-conferencing, with students able to access our teaching from many college and learning centre locations throughout the Highlands and Islands, but also from their own homes. We are also accredited to deliver internationally. HTC is in the privileged position of being an autonomous evangelical college within a Scottish university.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

We have a well-endowed library of over 65,000 volumes, and many digital resources available through UHI. Our library contains a number of special collections (e.g., Migne’s Patralogia, Calvin Collection, etc.) which are of particular interest to research students.

10) Does HTC offer a distance or on-line learning option. If yes, please tell us more about it.

students in library All our courses are available on campus but distance or online learning options are of key importance for HTC and contribute to the flexibility of our courses. Our Access Course is available in distance learning mode. Our BA is also available in ‘blended learning’ mode, with students living at a distance from the college (e.g., Central Belt, England, Europe) able to take part in the classroom discussions from their own homes (assuming a reasonable internet connection). All lectures are video recorded and made available on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) for revision, or for those working during the day to catch up on at their leisure. Many resources are also made available electronically on the VLE, or through the university’s electronic resources.

My thanks to Revd Morrison for taking part in this series.

Blog Interview – Dr Ardel Caneday – University of Northwestern – St. Paul

logo 1) Please introduce yourself and your role at University of Northwestern—St. Paul (UNW).

ardel_caneday My name is Ardel Caneday, PhD. My role at UNW is Professor of New Testament & Greek. I’ve been blessed to be a member of the faculty now for twenty-two years in the Department of Biblical & Theological Studies (B&TS). Many department faculty members regularly present papers at scholarly meetings and actively publish articles, essays, and books.

2) Tell us a little about the history of  UNW.

W. B. Riley, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota founded Northwestern Bible and Missionary Training School in 1902. The school expanded to include a Bible College, a Seminary, and a four-year Liberal Arts College. Billy Graham became president upon Riley’s passing. Northwestern reconstituted as non-denominational and relocated to its present beautiful campus in 1972. In May 2013, President Alan Cureton unveiled the new name, University of Northwestern—St. Paul.

Northwestern offers 70+ areas of study. Students take 30 course credits in biblical studies. Many major in Biblical Studies or Christian Ministry. A five-year B.A./M.Div. program attracts many students. Enrollment is about 1700. Additional programs include another 1300. Graduate programs, in Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Theological Studies appeal to many already in ministry roles in churches and Christian schools.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

Traditional and distance undergraduate courses are taught during two fifteen-week semesters, fall and spring. The Adult Continuing Education courses and Graduate Education courses are taken in cohorts. In all programs some students attend part-time.

4) How do UNW students fund their studies?

Students fund their studies from their own or their parents’ financial resources. Most students receive some form of financial aid and many work part-time on or off campus. Some adult learners receive some funding from their employers.

5) Does UNW take students from overseas?

Yes. Northwestern welcomes international students. Recently, we have received students from China, Ecuador, Honduras, Hungary, Japan, and Kenya.

6) What type of ministry is UNW intended to prepare students for?

Though first founded to train individuals for Christian ministry, especially for pastors and missionaries, for most of its history, Northwestern has educated Christians in a full range of disciplines.
Mission: “University of Northwestern – St. Paul exists to provide Christ-centered higher education equipping students to grow intellectually and spiritually, to serve effectively in their professions, and to give God-honoring leadership in the home, church, community, and world.”

7) When students leave the UNW what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

campus Most Biblical Studies graduates go on to graduate studies in seminaries. Several of our Biblical Studies majors have also completed PhD studies in OT, NT, or Theology, and fill faculty appointments in various institutions, including Yale Divinity School and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Other graduates are translators with Wycliffe Bible Translators, Christian high school instructors, pastors, etc.

8) What is distinctive about what the UNW offers compared with other colleges in the USA and overseas?

Throughout the institution’s history, Northwestern has appealed to and served evangelical Christians who receive the Bible as Scripture and take the Word of God seriously.

Because philosophy is integrated within the B&TS Department, Northwestern offers a Science & Theology minor, unique among Christian colleges in the USA. Students may minor in Ancient Classical Languages, with any combination of Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

The library provides access to a large array of books, more than 100,000 volumes, including volumes in biblical and theological topics. The library is a member of  Cooperating Libraries in Consortium (CLIC) that provides access to libraries of seven other private institutions in the greater Twin Cities metropolitan area, both undergraduate and graduate. Access to about 17,000 periodicals is available either in digital or hardcopy.

10) Does the UNW offer a distance or on-line learning option. If yes, please tell us more about it.

Yes, UNW offers online learning and ranks #3 in The Best Online Christian Colleges & Universities of 2014. Numerous courses in various disciplines are available through distance education. Three paths in Biblical Studies are offered by way of distance education—BA in Biblical Studies, AA in Biblical Studies, and Certificate in Bible. UNW serves the most Post-Secondary Enrollment Options students in Minnesota, an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to take college courses.

My thanks to Dr Caneday for his contribution to the series.

Blog Interview – Dr Calvin Smith – King’s Evangelical Divinity School

logo This week I will be interviewing a Bible training institution that is very close to home as far as I am concerned.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at King’s Evangelical Divinity School.

Smith-Calvin-Revelation-TV
Calvin Smith on Revelation TV

Calvin Smith, Principal and Director of Postgraduate Studies at King’s Evangelical Divinity School (KEDS), Kent.

2) Tell us a little about KEDS.

KEDS was founded in 1990. Originally based in Wolverhampton we were then known as Midlands Bible College. We began as a part-time evening school but eventually moved into distance learning. KEDS offers B.Th. and M.A. degrees, and a Graduate Diploma in Theology, all validated by the University of Chester. We also offer less demanding Bible courses for those not wanting to commit to the requirements of a full degree. All our courses are wholly online.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

A mixture of both. The M.A. can be taken full/part-time, while the B.Th. is part-time. However it can be completed in as little as four years (a full-time degree is typically three years).

4) How do KEDS students fund their studies?

CollegeJPG
KEDS’s first building

Most are self-funding or receive assistance from their churches. The nature of distance learning is such we can keep our prices much lower than attending a university or Bible college (you also save on accommodation fees) and the affordable nature of our courses has been attractive to many students.

5) Does KEDS take students from overseas?

Yes, and our overseas student body is growing steadily. A few years ago about two-thirds of students were British and the rest overseas. Now we’re closer to a 55-45% split and I expect we’ll have equal numbers of UK and overseas within a year or two.

6) What type of ministry is KEDS intended to prepare students for?

We have many students either preparing for or already in full/part-time ministry, but many are also studying at KEDS because they want to be more effective in the lay ministry to which God has called them. There are also people studying Theology at KEDS purely out of interest, or because they want to enhance their knowledge of the Bible.

7) When students leave KEDS what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

Israel-11 Many are (or become) pastors, or go into different Christian ministries serving as missionaries, evangelists, general Christian workers, and so on. Quite a few KEDS students go on to do higher degrees both at KEDS and elsewhere. Some students use their degree to secure work in the secular world, where a company may be looking for the analytical and other skills acquired through a Theology degree.

8) What is distinctive about what KEDS offers compared with other colleges in England and overseas?

There are four features I would highlight about KEDS. First, our confessional Evangelical position which underpins all we do. We have modules in Evangelical Theology, while KEDS publishes the Evangelical Review of Theology and Politics. Second, we focus very strongly on hermeneutics at KEDS. I don’t know anywhere else in the UK where a whole Bachelor degree focuses on biblical interpretation in this way. Third is our focus on studying Theology by distance learning. Certainly other Bible colleges offer distance learning courses, but this is all we do, something we have focused on and invested in a great deal over many years.

Blog Interview - Dr Calvin Smith - King’s Evangelical Divinity School 1
David Williams is a former MA student who
recently came on board as a B.Th. tutor

We work hard on developing our eCampus and looking out for web and IT advances that help ensure our students enjoy the best distance learning experience. Finally, KEDS a Centre for Jewish-Christian Studies for those interested in Jewish ministry.Prospective students do not need to tick all four boxes to study at KEDS; most choose us because they want one or more of these four “distinctives”.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

As an online school we’ve invested mainly in full-text electronic resources, whether books uploaded to our online library with publishers’ permission, or purchasing multiple full-text journal subscriptions. Our Chester students also have full access to the university library, including online databases and full-text library subscriptions. KEDS also provides students with details of local and online libraries they can access, together with a comprehensive list of websites providing a wealth of theological resources (including your own excellent biblicalstudies.org.uk website). Students may buy a shortlist of maybe a dozen books over their course, but on the whole they get most of their reading through the above options.

Thank you Calvin, for taking part in this series.

Blog Interview – Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. – Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

gcts-logo This week we go the United States for the next in our series of interviews about theological training around the world.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS).

kaiser My name is Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., President Emeritus (July 2006) of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in S. Hamilton, Massachusetts, USA where I served as Professor of Old Testament and Ethics for four years before becoming President of GCTS for nine years (1997-2006).

2) Tell us a little about GCTS.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is a free-standing graduate school that goes back for its beginnings into the 1880s. Two schools came together under Dr. Billy Graham’s leadership in 1969. It offers the M.Div, MA in a number of Biblical, Theological, Missiological, Practical, and Counselling areas. It has some 2100 students and is known for its emphasis on Expository Preaching, teaching of the Bible, counselling,  and Missions.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

About 60 % of the student body is full time. Others are part-time or among those who take courses “on line” at a distance known as “Semlink.”

4) How do GCTS students fund their studies?

There are a number of scholarships available to both USA citizens and oversea’s students. In addition, all who take a full-time schedule of ten course (30 credit hrs) in a calendar year get an automatic scholarship of $4,500.00 when applied for.

5) Does GCTS take students from overseas?

Yes, we do. Many of our faculty regularly teach in oversea’s schools during the Summer and during their Sabbaticals, so that is another drawing card for many who hear our faculty first hand.

6) What type of ministry is GCTS intended to prepare students for?

GCTS prepares students to be pastors, missionaries, counsellors, teachers of the Word of God, and lay leaders in the Church. We have four campuses: one in Hamilton, Massachusetts, our main campus, CUME in the city of Boston for 50 yrs. now, where the “Center for Urban Ministry Education” teaches in five languages (Portuguese, Spanish, Kamer, American Sign Language, English), which engages the city scene, and two others in Charlotte, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida.

800px-The_Kerr_building_on_Gordon-Conwell's_Hamilton_Campus
Gordon-Conwell’s Hamilton Campus

7) When students leave GCTS what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

The pastorate, teaching, advanced study for Ph.D., missions, lay ministry in the work of Christ.

8) What is distinctive about what GCTS offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

GCTS has a heavy emphasis on the Biblical Languages, on preparing students to go on for doctoral work, on teaching, on evangelism and missions. Often our students  will  have studied with the professors who wrote the books studied in other seminaries.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

GCTS has a library collection well over 200,000 vols. We also have great access to almost a dozen other theological libraries with inter-library loan in the greater Boston area plus advanced Technology research facilities. This is true also at all of our other three campuses in North Carolina and Florida.

10) Does GCTS offer a distance or on-line learning option? If yes, please tell us more about it.

Yes, this is a great help both to resident students, who are unable because of their schedules to take all the resident classes they need, and to those at a distance. It is called “Semlink” and offers a good selection of courses either for credit or non-credit. Chinese language courses are also available.

My thanks to Dr. Kaiser for taking part in this interview.

Blog Interview – Dr Rick Walston – Columbia Evangelical Seminary

logo This week we travel to the United States to learn about a college that is quite different to those that we have featured so far.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Columbia Evangelical Seminary.

148454_1705877132912_7671423_n My name is Rick Walston. I am the president (and one of the professors) of Columbia Evangelical Seminary (see more here). My education includes graduate degrees in apologetics and religion, and I have a DMin, as well as a PhD. I’m also a published author with six books (see more here). I might best be known for my book, Walston’s Guide to Christian Distance Learning.

2) Tell us a little about Columbia Evangelical Seminary.

Established in April 1991, Columbia Evangelical Seminary is conservative evangelical and non-denominational. It offers all level of degrees, i.e., undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral, entirely through distance learning. Over the years, CES has enrolled more than 500 students.

Recently, TheBestSchools.org named Columbia Evangelical Seminary as one of The Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.

Columbia was established to reach those who cannot afford to leave their jobs to live on a college campus for several years. All course work may be accomplished entirely by mentorship study on-line. Students may be as specific or as broad in their majors as they desire. They may choose one solitary major, such as apologetics, or biblical studies, or counseling, or philosophy, or theology, etc. Or, they may choose an interdisciplinary major in which they combine several disciplines of their choice. Because CES students virtually design their own curriculum, it may be as varied or as specific as the student desires. CES offers majors in many fields, including but not limited to: Arminianism, Apologetics, Bible, Counseling, Calvinism, Christian Philosophy, Comparative Religions, Cults, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Ethics, Evangelism, Exegesis, History of Christianity, Homiletics, Jewish Studies, Leadership, Men’s Ministry, Ministry, Missions, New Testament, Old Testament, Pentecostal/Charismatic Studies, Postmodernism, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Gifts, Theology, Women’s Ministries, Worldviews, and more. Furthermore, students may custom-design their majors (to be developed between the student and the seminary) to meet the student’s specific needs.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

WGfullcover Students may do either. Students work at their own pace, taking single classes at a time or multiple classes simultaneously.

4) How do Columbia Seminary students fund their studies?

With CES’s low tuition costs, Associate’s & Bachelor’s $100 per credit, Master’s $110 per credit, and Doctoral at $125 per credit, students do not have to go in debt to earn the degrees they desire. CES is much less expensive than many educational alternatives.

5) Does Columbia Evangelical Seminary take students from overseas?

Yes. We’ve had students from the U.K., South Korea, South Africa, France, Sweden, and Germany, just to name a few.

6) What type of ministry is Columbia Evangelical Seminary intended to prepare students for?

CES has trained pastors, counselors, missionaries, writers, parachurch ministry leaders, and more.

7) When students leave Columbia Evangelical Seminary, what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

Many of our students have gone on to be apologists, counselors, pastors, professors, and writers.

8) What is distinctive about what Columbia Evangelical Seminary offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

CESSgrad First, our programs are entirely off-campus through distance learning. Next, our students work one-on-one with mentors/professors of their choosing. Some students have even brought their own mentors to the program. Of course, CES has to approve the mentors that students bring to their programs, but it can be done. And, finally, students are allowed to design their own programs to meet their own specific needs. For example, one student might design a systematic theology degree in Reformed theology whereas another might design a systematic theology degree in Arminian theology. Students may design apologetics programs based on Presuppositional Apologetics, or Classical Apologetics, or Philosophical or Scientific Apologetics, or any combination thereof. In essence, students may design their programs in any Christian major.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

Since our programs are all distance learning, we do not have a library. Students are encouraged to tap into local resources wherever they live, and they are instructed how to use the Internet and many of its resources for much of their research.

10) Does Columbia Evangelical Seminary offer a distance or on-line learning option? If yes, please tell us more about it.

Yes, as stated above, all of our programs are distance learning via on-line. Thus, there are no residency requirements whatsoever.


My thanks to Dr Walston for taking part in this interview series.