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Important Student Survey

November 17, 2009

Dear Students,

As you may know, Brite’s faculty and administration are preparing to launch revised Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry curricula next fall. We are excited about the ways these two revised curricula will join with our other programs to prepare women and men for leadership in the church, academy, and public life. In addition to our work in curriculum revision, we are also preparing for a reaccreditation visit in the spring of 2011. These two major events in the life of our school, curriculum revision and accreditation, intersect in important ways in that both allow us to build on our commitment to enhancing student learning. The reaccreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) does this primarily through the development of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The QEP is required of all schools pursuing reaccreditation. It is meant to encourage schools to identify a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning. In almost every case, the topic engages an issue that, while important to the life of the particular school, is also important to higher education. In Brite’s case, the faculty and others have expressed significant interest in helping students connect or integrate their learning from their various classes.

While faculty have particular responsibilities for identifying and supporting the QEP topic, it is important that Brite gather feedback from a wide range of constituents. In fact, our accreditors share our belief that students, alumni/ae, and others should be involved in the topic selection. Part of the SACS team’s evaluation of our QEP will be whether we engaged our constituents in the process. We have already solicited topic suggestions from faculty, alumni/ae, current student, and denominational focus groups. We drew together three of the most often cited suggestions and asked our faculty to assess the importance of those topics for a QEP in light of their own experiences of our students’ performance.

While the faculty found a number of strengths in each of the three proposals, they identified students’ ability to integrate their learning across Brite’s curriculum as particularly important. Some of the faculty’s reasoning included the fact that, while the integration of learning is often very difficult for students, it is “a critical skill for the practice of ministry.” Other faculty found that students often compartmentalize their learning and therefore find it challenging to connect what they’ve learned in one class in other classes and in ministry settings. Of course, connecting learning in various classes or for the practice of ministry is not a new problem in theological education. Faculties across the spectrum of theological institutions have identified this issue as both critically important and frequently a challenge for students.

Having received this feedback from faculty, we now want to turn to you for your reflections on the importance of integration across the curriculum. Your feedback is very important to us. Please take 5 minutes to click on the following link and take a very brief survey on our QEP topic: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=kZZ5pf4_2b1efHYs9smgSmnQ_3d_3d. We ask that you complete the survey by November 29, 2009. We appreciate your insight and your contributions to Brite’s reaccreditation.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey Williams
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Brite Divinity School
TCU Box 298130
Fort Worth, TX 76129
817-257-5862 (phone)
817-257-7305 (fax)

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