Blog Interview – William Badke – Trinity Western University, Canada

twu This week we return again to Canada and interview William Badke about Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Associated Canadian Theological Schools.

badke William Badke, Librarian for Associated Canadian Theological Schools of Trinity Western University.

2) Tell us a little about Associated Canadian Theological Schools

Associate Canadian Theological Schools began in 1988 as a partnership of three Canadian denominations seeking to pool resources in order to provide strong seminary education.  Now five denominational seminaries, each with its own identity but working together for the common cause of theological education, ACTS is the graduate theological division of Trinity Western University, the largest Christian university in Canada.
ACTS has some 400 students, of which a quarter are from outside of Canada. They take programs in ministerial development, chaplaincy, counselling, and academic research.

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

Our programs are a mixture of full and part-time, although the majority of our students do their programs part-time.

4) How do Associated Canadian Theological Schools students fund their studies?

Funding comes from a wide variety of sources, include personal savings, student loans, denominational support, working spouses, and scholarships.

5) Does Associated Canadian Theological Schools take students from overseas?

ACTS has always had a strong contingent of students from overseas, primarily from Asia but also from many far-flung countries on all continents.

6) What type of ministry is Associate Canadian Theological Schools intended to prepare students for?

Associated Canadian Theological SchoolsOur programs prepare students for pastoral ministry, missions, chaplaincy, counselling, personal enrichment, and academic work in religion. We also welcome lay people who have undergraduate degrees.  Our Master of Arts in Christian Studies enables almost anyone who qualifies to pursue study even if they are not intending to go into full time ministry.

7) When students leave Associated Canadian Theological Schools what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

The list in 6. encompasses the majority of ministries our students go into.

8) What is distinctive about what Associate Canadian Theological Schools offers compared with other colleges in Canada and overseas?

The primary distinctive of ACTS is its unique cooperative structure that enables denominational seminaries to maintain their identities and missions while at the same time sharing faculty and resources in order to strengthen theological education.  Critics said it couldn’t be done, but now, with over a quarter century behind us, the consortium is flourishing.

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

Library The library provides an up to date resource for all aspects of theological research.  The print collection, of which some 100,000 volumes are relevant for seminary research, is supplemented by large e-book holdings.  Journals, most of them electronic, cover every aspect of the seminary curriculum.  Unique to ACTS is a required Research Strategies course that prepares all students for the rigours of seminary research.

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

With a country of the breadth of Canada, it is inevitable that students at a distance will want to access seminary education from where they are.  Thus ACTS provides a wide variety of online and modular (one week, on campus) courses to enable students at a distance to access their programs without long residential requirements.


My thanks to William Badke for his contribution to this series.

Blog Interview – Dr Mike Bird – Ridley Melbourne Mission and Ministry College

logo This week I am interviewing Dr Michael Bird about Ridley Melbourne Mission and Ministry College.

Please introduce yourself and your role at Ridley College.

I’m Michael Bird and I teach Theology and New Testament at Ridley Melbourne Mission and Ministry College. I’m also the postgraduate coordinator for postgraduate research degrees.

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?

lecture_w_960 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.

e-ridley_w_297 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.

ridley_library_final_w_0101 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.

Blog Interview – Dr Stan Fowler – Heritage College & Seminary, Canada

logo My thanks to Dr Stan Fowler who has agreed to be interviewed about Heritage College & Seminary in Canada.

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Heritage College & Seminary.

Dr. Fowler My name is Stan Fowler, and I serve as Professor of Theological Studies.  I have also served as academic dean of the seminary in the past.

2) Tell us a little about Heritage College & Seminary.

Heritage College & Seminary is the public name of Heritage Baptist College and Heritage Theological Seminary (now you understand the shortened name!). Heritage began in 1993 as a merger of two Baptist schools in Ontario, and we are affiliated with the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada. We offer various theological certificates and degrees at both bachelor’s and master’s levels. We have about 300 students.

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

We have a mixture of full-time and part-time students. A majority of college students are full-time, but the majority of seminary students are part-time, often second-career students.

4) How do Heritage College & Seminary students fund their studies?

Buildings Landscape Students fund their studies out of their own or their parents’ resources. We have a limited number of bursaries and scholarships that provide assistance, and many students qualify for educational loans from a provincial agency. Some students are supported by their churches, and we hope that more churches will catch the vision for that.

5) Does Heritage College & Seminary take students from overseas?

Yes, we have some students from overseas. The number is not large, but in recent years the seminary has had students from Japan, India, and Brazil.

6) What type of ministry is Heritage College & Seminary intended to prepare students for?

All of our degree programs are oriented to preparation for vocational ministry as pastors, missionaries, worship and music leaders, or workers in Christian social service agencies. But some of our college students are preparing to go on to university, and we have many students in various programs who want to minister in non-vocational ways. We believe that theological education is valuable for the whole family of God.

7) When students leave Heritage College & Seminary what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

Most of our degree graduates enter some form of vocational ministry. Many of our college graduates begin ministry in associate pastoral roles like youth ministry and continue their education at seminary level part-time, later moving into lead pastor roles.

8) What is distinctive about what Heritage College & Seminary offers compared with other colleges in Canada and overseas?

Heritage Aerial 1 It is hard to describe distinctives, because there is so much commonality in what Bible colleges and seminaries do. I would say that our faculty is strongly committed to scholarship in service of the church—we refuse to drive a wedge between theory and practice. We are also strongly committed to the equipping of pastors who will preach the Word with accuracy, clarity and relevance, as seen in our brand new Graduate Certificate in Biblical Preaching. Our college has a highly regarded program in music and worship studies leading to both certificates and a Bachelor of Church Music degree.

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

We have a fully functional library with access to both print and online resources, and students have access to several other theological libraries within an hour’s drive of our campus.

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

Yes, we have some distance learning options available. Our college provides several courses with lectures on DVD, and online courses are in preparation. The seminary provides several courses each year in a multi-modal (hybrid) format that combines two days on campus during the term with online experience (including audio lectures) during most weeks. By using audio recordings of class days, several of these are available to be done fully online. We recognize that we must continue to find creative ways to educate students at a distance.

My thanks to Dr Fowler for taking part in this series. The Baptist Review of Theology, a journal formerly published by Heritage College & Seminary is available on-line here.