On Wednesday 6 November, University of Divinity academic staff gathered at the annual Teaching Conference, which concluded with a farewell to Reverend Dr John Capper who retires from the role of Director of Learning and Teaching. John has enjoyed a long association with the University. He began his current role in April 2013, following a period as Dean of the United Faculty of Theology.
When asked to describe highlights of his time as Director, John responded:
It has been a great honour to be welcomed regularly in each of the Colleges, to be trusted to offer advice and to be looked to for educational leadership. In my first year we began the annual Teaching for Learning event, now the Teaching Conference, to raise the profile and develop skills in teaching theology theologically. I leave the University soon after the seventh of these. The Graduate Certificate in Theological Education is a world class product of wide consultation and generous contributions from across the higher education and theological education sector. I have been glad to be part of the development team.
It is one thing to be structured in a collegiate manner. It is another to operate collegially. I have enjoyed working with small specialist groups to develop policy, review quality, build training events, review units and courses and explore opportunities—and through that to build trust and wisdom. As in any organisation, the challenges are around misunderstandings which can build distrust. Keeping connected and having fun in our work have been part of how we have overcome the challenges and thrived in the opportunities.
As a young engineer I carried piles of punch cards as part of my computing assignments. I am so glad of excellent partnerships with vendors like Androgogic (who manage ARK, our learning management system), Turnitin and eXplorance, who provide other technological magic and “carry the cards” for us. But the technical achievements have only been possible through friendship, trust and shared vision within the University and with our partners – that is where the pride for all of us in the University should lie.
John will conclude his formal role with the University as Director of Learning and Teaching on Friday 8 November 2019. We are, however, delighted that John has accepted the invitation of the Chancellor to give the guest address at the forthcoming University graduation ceremony in Melbourne, on Friday 27 March 2020. It was also announced, to much delight at the celebration, that John will commence a new chapter as Academic Dean at Stirling Theological College in 2020 – and so we say farewell from the role, and not goodbye.