Conference for Principals and Local Academic Coordinators of the 12 Centers for Theological Excellence
For the first time, school heads and local academic coordinators of the 12 Centers for Theological Excellence (CTEs) met for a conference in Bangkok Christian Guest House, Bangkok, Thailand on May 27-28, 2015. The meeting was organized to discuss the observations and recommendations of the FTESEA (Foundation for Theological Education in South East Asia) – ATESEA teams that visited the CTEs in July 2014; and to review the development of the South East Asia Graduate School of Theology (SEAGST) as a consortium program and its transition to ATU, the academic aspects of the doctoral program described under ATU, and the current status of the SEAGST/ ATU students.
Several challenging issues were cited by the participants; however, through fruitful deliberations, the concerns were clarified and given proper recommendations. Among the issues discussed were the following:
1. The issuance of ATU Diploma to graduates in countries which require the approval of the authorities is still being explored. No definite decision was made yet, thus further discussion on the issue was required as voiced out by some participants. Dr. Joas Adiprasetya was tasked to meet with the three CTEs in Indonesia, namely Sekolah Tinggi Teologia Jakarta, Duta Wacana Christian University (UKDW), and Satya Wacana Christian University (UKSW) to deliberate on the issue and recommend a solution to this matter. He was also requested to explore the possibility of arranging a dialogue with the authorities . Dr. Limuel Equina was requested to visit Silliman University to finalize the description that is to be indicated in the transcript of record of the ATU graduates in that Center. It was recommended that the phrase “in cooperation with ATESEA Theological Union program” be reflected in the transcript of record of the ATU students.
2. Annual Colloquium and Methodology Seminar. In addition to the methodology seminar it was recommended that a colloquium be held regularly. The colloquium is for those who are preparing to write their dissertation, while the methodology seminar is for those who are starting their study program.
3. Study outside the Center/region. Every ATU student who is on the writing stage of dissertation can spend his/her time in another CTE or outside Asia for research
4. The Faculty Short-Term Research Project aims to enrich faculty through research which will be conducted in no less than two weeks and not more than a month in any school in Asia. Only three faculty members will be selected from among ATESEA member schools and each can avail of a maximum grant of USD 1,000.
When the Conference for Heads and Local Academic Coordinators of CTEs ended at lunch time on May 28, the ATU Senate met. The Senate acted on the suggestions and recommendations made by the participants which included the following:
1. ATU Diploma. To address this issue, it was agreed that a consultation with the CTEs that are directly affected by government regulations be done. These CTEs include Jakarta Theological Seminary Faculty of Theology, Duta Wacana Christian University Faculty of Theology, Satya Wacana Christian University Faculty of Theology and Silliman University Divinity School.
2. Evaluation of the Dissertation. The provisions for the evaluation of the dissertation include the following:
a. One month before, the student must submit the application. The dissertation will follow the Turabian format. It must contain 100,000 words if written in English, and 150,000 words if written in Bahasa or Chinese.
b. CTEs can recommend the external reader from within Asia; only the Dean and the Associate Dean of the ATU can veto.
c. ATESEA will shoulder the travel expenses of the external reader up to the amount of USD 300. The professional fee of USD 200 for the external reader will be included in the tuition fee of the student while the honorarium of the internal readers will depend upon the policy of the school.
d. The examination can either be oral or written under the option of the school. The school will explain to the examiner the system or process.
e. If the student fails, ATESEA will not shoulder anymore the travel cost of another external reader.
f. Either the Dean or the Associate Dean, or somebody appointed by the Dean, will be present in the defense
g. The transcript will be signed by the Dean of ATU.
h. ATU graduate should follow the same gown and hood of the former SEAGST graduates.
i. Special graduation ceremony of the ATU graduate will depend upon the school.
Dr. Ngoei Foong Nghian, ATESEA Chairperson, encouraged each CTE to support an ATU student with full scholarship and set an example in leadership for other ATESEA member schools