From the Vice-Chancellor and the College Principals.
2020: Looking Back
As the academic year that was 2020 draws towards its end, the University of Divinity gives thanks for the extraordinary resilience and dedication of its students and staff in responding to the pandemic.
Throughout the year, the University Executive (the College Principals and Vice-Chancellor) have met weekly to monitor the University’s response and to discern the way forward. This discernment has been grounded in a commitment to ensure the continuity of our educational mission for our students, staff, and partners. As a result, during 2020:
- Classes have continued throughout, with almost all moving from onsite to online delivery
- Extra online library resources and digital services have been acquired
- COVID Safe plans were implemented at all Colleges and Libraries
- Colleges created virtual communities, for study, support, and prayer
- Research Fee Scholarships were made available to all HDR students for second semester
- Research seminars and conferences went online
- New research projects have been launched, responding to the pandemic
- Public theology expanded significantly through opinion pieces, online dialogues and theological reflection
2021: Looking Forward
As we look towards 2021 we will continue to be as flexible and imaginative as is necessary to provide high quality learning, teaching and research to the maximum extent permitted by government health directives.
From January to June 2021 this means:
- more classes will be available in diverse modes, including onsite, online and blended delivery
- priority will be given to onsite delivery of classes which are optimally delivered onsite, including work or field placement units, and those delivered to student groups with particular needs
- maximum flexibility will be provided: students who choose onsite attendance will also be able to participate in online studies where necessary, and the University’s policy provisions for reasonable adjustments and exceptional circumstances continue to be available
- blended delivery will grow, making the most of pedagogical and technological innovations
- the University will continue to improve its learning management system, ARK, expand digital library resources, and provide tools to help students make the most of them
- Colleges will adapt according to local circumstances and facilities, such as the nature of teaching spaces available for socially-distanced classes, seminars and events.
Arrangements for second semester will be advised as future possibilities become clearer, and the University Executive will provide an update to students and staff at the end of March 2021.
In 2021 the University will continue to offer Australia’s most affordable theology and ministry University degrees, with tuition fees unchanged from 2020, and the benefits of a small class experience with a quality of teacher and student engagement that is second to none.
As we continue to support each other in the vocation of education and research in theology, ministry, spirituality, philosophy, counselling and more, we will continue to put love of God and love of neighbour at the heart of all we do, in prayer, in study and in the service of others.
Professor Peter Sherlock is the inaugural Vice-Chancellor of the University of Divinity. He is a cultural and religious historian of Renaissance and Reformation Europe and an expert on governance and leadership in educational and church settings. A graduate of the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford, his academic career has included an ARC Postdoctoral Fellowship in History at the University of Melbourne and four years as Dean of the United Faculty of Theology, Melbourne.