Research for EEAA Council October2011
Purpose To understand; The process of change in TE in Europe How colleges are thinking about the future What EEAA network services should be doing
Method Non-directive questionnaires 21 open ended questions Representative circulation
Response From twelve colleges From 12 countries From a full spectrum of different academic levels From a variety of levels of experience, although most were very experienced Most responses were individual, some were collaborative, two questionnaires were received relating to one college.
Question A 1 - In what ways has TE changed since you were a student? Academic level risen Social Science and practical ministry emphasis Variety of delivery systems Less community or residence Teaching more student oriented Other issues mentioned included less daily devotions, less rules and less narrow-mindedness
Question A2 How are students different today from then? They bring contemporary culture into the college Demographic change More pastoral care and mentoring needed Other issues – less biblical knowledge, more interest in social issues and more concern for certificates and degrees.
Question A3 How has the role of the teacher changed? Becoming a facilitator of student learning Therefore the teacher should be approachable, humble, transparent, a model, helping students to think for themselves Other issues mentioned included – it was always the case that the teacher was more important than the content of the teaching, and that teachers were now expected to fulfil pastoral as well as academic duties.
Question A 4 Has the relationship between teacher and student changed in nature and practice? How? The closing “power gap” between lecturer and student Therefore modelling learning, life and integration is key Other issues mentioned – still too much of the “lecture and leave” pattern around and that TE had been more ionfluenced by HE of late.
Question A 5 The role of the teacher is often seen in tension between being a scholar and a minister; do you agree with this and, if so, how has it changed? General agreement there is this tension, some said the academic too strong a factor, others said pendulum is swinging back All said pastoral care should be provided by the teacher Some mentioned that the heavy admin burden makes this very difficult
Question A 6 TE is often described as having three formation objectives for students; academic, practical ministry and spiritual. Has the balance and relationship between these changed? Is this taxonomy out of date? All agreed it was stil;l valuable but a few thought it was so ubiquitous it needed qualification. Most talked of integration needed between the three Some said the academic had distorted the balance and a re-balancing was needed
Question A 7 Accreditation for schools, government and otherwise, has become a larger issue. What are your views on this? Almost all agreed that it can be beneficial Most warned that it can not be allowed to damage college mission or values Various advantages were listed
Question D1 How do you think your college/theological education provision will change in the next ten years? More flexible provision This will be in response to financial pressure and student demand Larger variety of courses, especially at masters level A few mentioned that we may see a comeback of spiritual provision running separate from academic validation
Question D2 How do you think theological education will change in your country in the next ten years? 1. Finance will be difficult, schools will close or merge, church training schemes will grow 2. Gap between gov. accredited schools and ministry training non-accredited schools will grow 3. Other issues mentioned – eroding of community, greater social engagement, more reflective practice structure
Question D3 How will students be different from today, in ten years’ time? Some questioned whether there would be a significant difference Gap between young students and older faculty will increase, especially over technology Students will be more consumers and more in charge of their learning – yet they may be more insecure Others mentioned were – they will have even less biblical knowledge and they will expect even more flexibility in delivery
Question D4 How do you expect theological education to change in the next ten years because of finance issues/problems? Small schools will be in danger of closing and larger schools will tend to survive as more consumer attitudes by students lead top greater competition Finance will also accelerate the move towards more flexible delivery and away from traditional schooling Other isssues mentioned were the need to educate the churches as to the value of TE and that we need to work together and share resources more
Question D 5 People in Europe today (unlike the past) have a number of different jobs and careers in their lifetimes. Does this affect what we do? General agreement that this is an issue One common response to this was that we need to be more welcoming to older students Another common response was that we should concentrate more on lifelong learning Another was that we should emphasise general theology and bible subjects and reverse the trend to specific ministry degrees in the 90s
Question D 6 It has been suggested that nowadays, people come to college for different reasons than some years ago. Do you agree and how does this project into the future? About half disagreed and said that students were there for similar reasons and with similar commitment. Students have always also come for non-ministry reasons such as spiritual growth About half agreed and generally mentioned that students tend more nowadays to come to “sort themselves out” academically or spiritually and have less idea of where they are going
Question D 7 There has recently been a shift away from residential training. Will this continue and what do you think about it? 1. Most agreed that this will continue and may intensify for financial reasons 2. It was often expressed that this was a loss because TE was relational and community based 3. Two thought that the good in this trend was that it gave access to a wider variety of students 4. Some thought that there would be a swing back to college community based training because it is so attractive to contemporary society
Question D 8 What are the things we must do as theological schools in view of the possible future? A complete variety of responses with almost no overlap between the responders
Question D 9 What will be the characteristics of effective theological teachers in the next ten years? 1. Greatest response was in the area of relationship with students – love, care for, respect, guide, be a paraclete, inspire, be a model 2. After that was the spiritual life and reality of the teacher 3. Some mentioned that teachers will have to increasingly know their subject 4. A few saw that teaching well was vital 5. Other issues mentioned were – that they should be chhurch people, willing to learn, and be younger!
Section E Is there anything else you would like to say about theological education in Europe not covered by the questions above ? Vey little was added, some mentioning that after so many questions, there was little more to say One attached a very useful essay on TE today, another said we need hope and joy ultimately in God and what we are doing. Another mentioned the need for a missional perspective. A few mentioned again the issue of thdisolving of strong community under financial pressures
Major Findings Present Academic excellence Social understanding and competence
Major Findings Future Delivery Systems Staff/student relationship
Question B.1 “What are the best things the network could do for the leaders of colleges?” Bring leaders together for networking, encouragement Ongoing leadership education Discussion about key issues in Europe and the church
Question B.2 – Teachers “What are the best things the network could do for teachers in their regular work?” 1. Resources and teaching on the job of teaching in TE 2. Other ideas mentioned – encouragement, teaching education, practical ideas that work 3. The heavy workload was noted
Question B.3 “What are your views about EEAA services and helps being restricted to those who are members rather than available to all theological educators in Europe?” All agreed there should be some special benefit for members only These were variously described as Financial benefits, restriction of services to members and priority given to members
Question B.4 “What is the value of your college being in membership of (as opposed to accredited by) EEAA?” Networking Resources College profile
Question B.5 – “What is EEAA doing right and what is EEAA doing wrong in supporting best thinking and practice in TE in Europe ?” The Theological Educator, Training courses and the GA are good practice for EEAA Be encouraged ! Be warned – Understand diversity across Europe and don’t try to duplicate what is already being done
The four most popular GA conferences Seminar/retreats for principals/leaders Discounts on course fees Access to on line journals
The three next most popular 4. Book discounts 5. Voting rights 6. Expert help to call on
Major Findings EEAA Network Provision Encouragement Member benefits Principal retreats/seminars Books, journals and expert help