Conniry: “Balance your life”; Casimiro: “Explore Online”

Dr. Charles J. Conniry Jr.
Dr. Leni Casimino

Dr. Charles J. Conniry, Jr. and Dr. Leni Casimino lectured in the Conference for Academic Deans held on November 5-8, 2014 at Bangkok Christian Guest House, Bangkok, Thailand.

Dr. Charles J. Conniry, Jr. is the Vice President and Dean, George Fox Evangelical Seminary in Portland, Oregon, USA. He shared from his own experiences the complexities and the challenging roles academic deans have to face. As he discussed the topic on “How to increase vocational joy while managing stress of polyrhythmic life”, he raised the question of the need of balance. He then further explained that “leadership as spiritual discernment is the engagement of well-intentioned dispositions and practices by which individuals and gathered communities of Christ-followers attempt to attend to, perceive, and obey their Supreme Leader in the context of present circumstances.”

Dr. Leni Casimino is the Director of Online Learning, Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies. She discussed “Exploring Online Learning: Prospects and Challenges” wherein she presented a) the influence of technology in theological education, its strength and weaknesses; b) a case study of how the seminary of Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies delivers classes online; c) how to start classes online. Her presentation verified the necessity and feasibility of online learning as a tool in theological education.

Three academic deans from the member schools were also invited as panelists on the topic, “Opportunities and Challenges to Academic Excellence.” They were Dr. Eh Tar Gay, Academic – Dean, Myanmar Institute of Theology; Dr. Teresita dela Cruz, Dean, College of Theology-Southern Christian College; and Dr. Yusak Soleiman – Academic Dean, Jakarta Theological Seminary. They shared their views and experiences in leading the academic programs of their respective seminaries including the challenges of leveling up the standards of excellence. They also identified time management as one of their struggles due to overwhelming administrative responsibilities on top of their teaching assignments.

Twenty-nine (29) participants from 8 countries attended the conference – Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand. The academic deans were encouraged to review the mission, and vision of their school, and were reminded of the need to balance the different roles they have to take on, that is being a servant, leader, scholar, mentor, administrator and visionary. The seminar also stimulated the deans to explore online learning, develop a faculty development plan, review their curriculum, and extend linkages with other seminaries in ATESEA.

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