This week I am interviewing Dr Michael Bird about Ridley Melbourne Mission and Ministry College.
Please introduce yourself and your role at Ridley College.
Tell us a little about Ridley College.
Ridley is over a 100 years old and was founded as a place for training evangelical Anglican clergy. In more recent decades, it has also trained people from all sorts of denominations for a variety of ministries and missions in Australia and internationally. It has around 200+ students studying various degrees in theology such as Bachelor of Ministry, Bachelor of Theology, Master of Divinity, Masters of Arts in Theology, as well as Th.D and Ph.D.
Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?
Yes, FT and PT. We also have a gucci distance learning program with a web-based learning suite called “The Ridley Certificate.” Coming soon also is our full integrated distance learning degree on a platform called “eRidley” where you’ll be able to do B.Th, B.Min, and M.Div on-line. I’m currently working on segments of eRidley. As more and more students move to studying on-line, or split between on-campus and on-line attendance, Ridley is set to provide flexible yet robust teaching and learning in theology.
How do Ridley College students fund their studies?
Most students are able to access student loans with “Fee Help” from the Australian Government to pay for their degree and get financial assistance from Centerlink to sustain them for the course of their studies.
Does Ridley College take students from overseas?
Yes, we have several students from overseas studying with us, in undergrad and postgrad. We also a lot of former asylum seekers from Sudan and Burma also studying with us too!
When students leave Ridley College what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.
It is so varied that it is impossible to say. Many go into Anglican ministry, pastoral ministry with other churches, many go into overseas missions work, many become school chaplains, and others simply return to the work force to be more informed about their faith in secular employment.
What is distinctive about what Ridley College offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?
Ridley has a number of distinctives including (1) Learning as a way of life; (2) Formation of character into Christ-likeness; (3) Community as the context for theological formation and spiritual devotion; and (4) Mission and ministry as the goal of theological education.
Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.
We have The Leon Morris Library with a great collection of books, excellent array of journals, and some of the nicest librarians you’ll ever meet. Located as we are in Parkville in Melbourne, we are close to the CBD, Melbourne Zoo, Uni of Melbourne, and a great array of cafés to hang out with students.
My thanks to Michael Bird for his helpful contribution to this series.