Sunday, July 16, 2006

Seminary Program Outline Version 0.2

Modules: (3/6 to Graduate)
  • Gnostic Studies – Understanding & Applying the Gnostic Tradition

    History of Gnosticism – From Antecedents until Today

    Engaged Gnosticism – Applying the Gnostic Approach

  • Liturgical Studies – Experience & Understanding of Sacraments

    History & Symbolism – Comparative & Descriptive

    Sacramental Theology – Historical & Creative

  • Pastoral Counseling – Spiritually Mindful, Psychologically Grounded Counseling

    Transitional Counseling – Counseling those in Transitions & Crises

    Psycho-Spiritual Development – Depth & Transpersonal Psychological Models

  • Pastoring & Leadership – Organizations & Relationships within Organizations

    Formation Direction - Individual & Group Formation

    Guidance, Leadership, & Administration

  • Spiritual Care – Understanding & Aiding Spiritual Development

    Spiritual Direction – aka,. Spiritual Listening, and Soul Friendship

    Spiritual Growth – Understanding & Respecting the Process

  • Stories & Symbolism – Understanding & Creatively Engaging in Mythology

    Encountering Archetypes – Understanding & Experiencing Living Symbols

    Transformation through Stories – Myths as Guides & Journeys


Roger Kuhrt, PhD said...

Troy, some preliminary ruminations.
) Why 3/6 for graduation instead of 6/6? Who will give instruction? Will each instructor create a syllabus for the course they offer under these rubrics? Will instructors be paid for services? If yes, how is the payment generated? Will the program offer work toward a licentiate or certification of some kind? Will the “Institute” secure letters of different Gnostic Organizations that state acceptance of such study toward X end? Who reviews course offerings generated by specific teachers? Is there a “Dean” for the Institute? Is there consideration for: (a) group studies; (b) individual studies; (c) both styles?

If group studies are encouraged—how many folks must enroll to create a group or “cohort” to go through the institute as a group?

What will be the time frame for completion of studies? Are some areas of study subject to being taught via a form of a SPLU (Self Paced Learning Units)? The SPLUs have been used by The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA for years and are a significant form for study. Has anyone looked at capability for On-Line seminars? Will the Institute develop a library of useable/shareable resources—i.e. Videos, DVDs, etc.?

Cheerfully, RK

Rev. Troy said...

Good questions. I won't get to all of them right now.

I am less sure of the exact sub-groupings the more I look at it. There may be some particular groupings instead of just any three or four. Yet, I do want flexibility for different individual and organizational focuses. A subset wouldn't require those who aren't headed towards, or interested in, liturgical ministry or Organizational Leadership, for example, to study those areas in depth. The same would go for someone who already has a strong background or previous academic work in an area, allowing them to concentrate on those areas that they don't. So, the goal is not to have one mold, but to have one resource to serve a broader goal. I also envision churches creating their own requirements for candidates in the program.

Accreditation is a serious goal that is actively being pursued. But, one of the reasons for beginning with a ministry studies program is that it doesn't require accreditation in the sense that awarding MAs would. (For that same reason we will be offering MDivs before MAs.) A Diploma program is what I'm working on. But an MDiv would not be far to go from there.

The educational programs are just a part of the Institute. The seminary program, is a bit of a Latin pun in this case, in that it will be a “seed bed” for growing service providers (ministers) and also a “seed bed” for growing further educational programs. (As well as, "seeds of light.") So, this will just be the first program offered, with the expectation that it will shift into a secondary role, and that some modules will grow into programs of their own.

We'll get what we need to award MDivs. But, as far as any guarantee of credit with any church goes, I think it will always be a matter of high standards and high reputation. Remember, this is only a part of formation, yet I don't see how it wouldn't be accepted as fulfilling the academic and intellectual areas of preparation and formation. There is nothing remotely like it, and it will provide much more in those areas than formation programs offer. So, it will be more like having a MA where an AA is required, and, being “over-qualified” isn't an issue among Gnostics.

The larger issue, that of developing professional opportunities, aka., ways of helping qualified Gnostic ministers survive, is much higher on my list. There is a nationally recognized hospital chaplaincy program in this area and a few others, for example. Since Gnostic Clergy are basically Chaplains, this provides one avenue we can help someone pursue. Another avenue is using non-profit corporations for ministry. Of course, having graduated from a recognized and respected program will aid in livelihood issues. But, there is a lot more we can do.

The educational model is something I'll have to write more on, but the two primary models I'm working from are those of Saybrook Graduate School and Oxford's External Studies Program, with integration of different learning modes. Initially there will be a lot of development involved.

Paid? Oh, yes. This is a professional school. Not paid much in the beginning, but paid. ;) One of the big reasons to do this is to create an alternative to the current situation, where if someone wants preparation they either go to a church where clergy usually end up paying to help them, or go to an existing Higher Ed Institution and pay a great deal for indirect preparation on the hope that the credential may lead to a pay-back some day. So, much lower tuition rates can be charged, higher quality education can be given, and we can pay instructors and tutors for their work. This is a vast improvement on the current situation, and let's us grow forward.