The Irish Bible Institute Receives a Ringing Endorsement
By Steven Singleton
(From the April - June 2018 issue of VOX)
In our last issue, we reported the breaking news that the Irish Bible Institute (IBI) had been successful in securing the validation of its BA and MA degree courses through York St. John University for the next six years. Here Steven Singleton explores what re-validation means for IBI and explains the high quality of courses that are on offer on our doorstep.
WHAT DOES VALIDATION MEAN?
Validation is very exciting for IBI as it means that the courses we have designed have been examined and found to be of such a standing that a university is prepared to stand over their quality. That is a significant achievement for a small institution like IBI.
The courses we teach are ones we have designed ourselves after substantial consultation with Irish church leaders to find out what they want for future workers and leaders in the Irish church. York St. John (the validating university) has not told us what we should be teaching and we do not deliver 'off the peg courses' from anywhere else.
During discussions with current students, former students and groups of Christian leaders in Cork and Dublin about what the vital elements for future IBI courses should be, some common themes emerged. These groups felt that IBI graduates should be able to:
- Identify, understand and engage with contemporary culture
- Embrace and work with a diversity of ideas and behaviours
- Research, engage theologically with, and communicate on a range of contemporary issues
- Be ethical in their decisions and actions
- Demonstrate and promote attitudes and skills that foster good relationships and teamwork (e.g. humility and servanthood)
- Be passionate about lifelong learning
WHY DID IBI SEEK VALIDATION AND WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE OF THE UNIVERSITY?
IBI wanted to demonstrate that what we offer can stand up to academic scrutiny and that we can deliver high quality education. It is all very well for us to claim that, but when an external body is prepared to affirm the quality of what IBI offers that should give people tremendous confidence in what we are doing. Students invest substantial time and resources in their studies here; they need to know they are being provided with a quality theological education.
We were extremely encouraged by the feedback from the university, which thoroughly investigated the courses we offer, as well as the learning experience of our students. We received commendations from the panel affirming our “head, heart and hands” approach, our consultation with stakeholders, our commitment to active learning and “the way in which [IBI] engaged with the panel in articulating the integrity, passion and professionalism underpinning the programmes.”
WHAT IS IBI OFFERING IN THE NEW VALIDATION?
IBI is committed to training the whole person, so we deliver courses that develop the mind, transform the heart and equip the hands. With our new validation we have deliberately built “head, heart and hands” into all aspects of the Certificate, BA and MA programmes. This will give students a unique opportunity to develop not just theological knowledge but also the attitudes and skills necessary for Christian service and ministry.
In addition to the BA courses (BA (Hons) Applied Theology, BA (Hons) Applied Theology with Christian Leadership) and MA courses (MA Applied Theology and MA Transformational Leadership), we now offer:
Certificate in Applied Theology with Youth Ministry (one year full-time or 2 years part-time) - this is targeted at those who are currently in youth ministry or are thinking about it for the future. It also offers the possibility of studying 'on the job' while being involved in youth ministry.
Graduate Diploma in Applied Theology (one year full-time or 2 years part-time) - this is the final year of the BA degree ideal for anyone who has previously studied theology but not yet completed a degree.
WHY COME TO IBI?
“The Irish Bible Institute was a defining moment in my journey with the Lord and a catalyst that launched me into the path that God had set before me.” Paul Maloney – Westport, Co. Mayo.
The courses at IBI are taught by teachers who are passionate about God’s Word, in classes where the Bible is central. As validation shows, this is combined with academic excellence in theological study. Studying at IBI is an opportunity to learn in a friendly and supportive community alongside men and women from Christian churches throughout Ireland and beyond.
To allow for maximum flexibility, IBI offers a range of ways to study including full-time and part-time, as well as online courses. Teaching is compressed into two days a week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) which allows students from all over the country to study at IBI without having to be located in Dublin.
The training seeks to equip students for life and Christian service, with special emphasis on the Irish context so it is relevant for anyone preparing for ministry in Ireland.
Find out more at www.ibi.ie.
Steven Singleton is the Director of Learning at the Irish Bible Institute with responsibility for the BA and MA programmes.