Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My Thoughts on Graduate Studies

This fall Barclay College enters a new hallway in the house of academia with the inaugural session of the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership (MATL). With the MATL Barclay College will have the opportunity for greater impact in fulfilling her mission, while simultaneously assuming greater academic responsibility as defined by traditional graduate standards. How exciting!

For nearly 100 years Barclay College has sought to balance the Quaker “git’r dun” practical approach to ministry with the rigor of scholarship. Her success in balancing the two is demonstrated through the global contribution and influence of her alumni. It is undisputedly held in Quakerdom that Barclay College has contributed greatly to the evangelical missional agenda and doctrinal integrity of the Friends Church while resourcing her with quality leadership. Our plan is not to change!

My use of the nomenclature “git’r dun Quaker approach” at the undergraduate level is a reference to producing students who are practitioner-scholars in life and service. If students graduated from Barclay College are filled with the Holy Spirit, committed to emulating the life of Jesus Christ for the world to experience daily, have a conviction to practice a strong work ethic in ministry, and have learned to think critically in the application of the skill and knowledge they acquired at BC, then we have fulfilled our purpose.

However, the commencement of Barclay College School of Graduate Studies requires our focus to change ever so slightly. The rigor of graduate education demands the focus be more “scholar-practitioner” in nature rather than “practitioner-scholar.” The emphasis of undergraduate education is to understand the basics of the field, acquire the necessary tools needed to function within the field of study/vocation, and establish a passion and pattern needed for the discipline of lifelong learning. At the graduate level however, students not only continue acquiring more knowledge and skill within their area of study or vocation but are expected to critique the field using the scientific principles of inquiry and research.

The standard for a Master of Art’s degree is the production of a capstone thesis or research project that is legitimate within the tradition of academia. This means that as students continue their quest for knowledge they must also identify a problem or need for further contribution (based upon research) which can be addressed in their capstone project for the glory of God and the good of Christ’s mission on earth. How exciting! I look forward to how this new adventure unfolds in the days ahead. Someone needs to be the leader among contemporary Christian graduate schools … so why not Barclay College, Eh? Let’s “git’r dun” for the glory of God!

Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

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