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Theology, Reimagined: Program changes revitalize SPU’s Faculty of Theology

Ottawa (Ontario), Tuesday, June 23, 2020 — Saint Paul University’s Faculty of Theology is embarking on an exciting new path to revitalize what it means to study and live faith in the 21st century.

Renamed the Bachelor of Arts in Faith, Ethics and Justice, the faculty’s undergraduate programming has refined its academic focus toward helping students develop skills of reason, perception and critical thinking while at the same time deepening their understanding of how faith relates to life today. The program provides a foundation for students to understand scripture, explore personal purpose and meaning, and think more clearly and deeply about God and the world.

“What is most interesting about these changes is that they transform how students encounter, engage with and think about faith,” explains Karl Hefty, Director of Undergraduate Academic Programs and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Theology. “Rather than simply being told what to believe or what to think, students are led to discover the meaning of faith in its relation to all areas of life, starting from their own experience.”

Throughout the program, students also learn how to connect their insights to contemporary challenges. Through this practical approach, students gain an ability to think critically, act ethically and communicate effectively while working through some of the most important issues facing societies today, from health care, to economics, to technology.

“We believe this is a new beginning for what may be a first-of-its-kind program in Canada,” says Hefty. “Not only is it an exciting way to integrate faith into a university education, but we believe it will also prove highly applicable and relevant for students personally, socially, and in their future careers.”

Master of Arts in Theology

Similar changes have been made to the Master of Arts in Theology.

In addition to fostering critical thinking, a new series of graduate-level courses were developed to explore theological questions in relation to contemporary issues. These courses will be renewed every year to ensure they remain timely and relevant.

The program also allows for greater scheduling and project flexibility to support students’ individual academic goals. This includes the ability to study part-time, as well as choosing either a thesis or research paper for their major research project.

“[These changes] enable students to broaden their theological horizons by giving them a high level of intellectual training, as well as an interdisciplinary approach,” explains Christian Dionne, Director of Graduate Academic Programs and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Theology. “Students of the program are well equipped to hold articulate and relevant theological discussions related to current global and social topics.”

These changes are the first in a larger transformation of academic programming in the Faculty of Theology. Further envisioned changes include plans for new, multi-disciplinary programs that will be rolled out over the next two to three years.


For more information, please contact:
Julie Bourassa
Communication Officer, Saint Paul University
613-236-1393, ext. 2310

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