An important part of the Academic portfolio's work is our engagement and partnerships with the Church and Catholic sector organisations. Our leads across all Faculties, Strategic Partnerships and Executive Education, the La Salle Academy and ACU International, are actively working with the Director of Identity and Mission and other areas across the University to create a range of offerings and responses, aligned to Clergy and Catholic sector needs.
I’d like to profile in this update some current work in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy that reflects the Faculty’s strength priorities, under the leadership of the Executive Dean, Professor Dermot Nestor:
The Faculty continues to play a lead role in supporting and implementing the Enhancing Catholic Schools Identity (ECSI) Project, in collaboration with several Catholic Education Offices across the country (Melbourne, Ballarat, Brisbane and South Australia). Led by Associate Professor Robyn Horner, this works supports Catholic schools to express their identity, vision and distinctiveness in an increasingly secular society. A unit from the program will delivered at the ACU Rome Centre from 1-9 July 2017 and will feature leading international scholars including Professor Didier Pollefeyt and Dr Jan Bouwens from KU Leuven, along with Professor Lieven Boeve, Director General, Flemish Secretary for Catholic Education.
In collaboration with the La Salle Academy, the Faculty has also developed a new faith formation model, in response to a request by His Grace, Christopher Prowse, Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn. This exciting initiative has been designed by Dr Joel Hodge with the Archdiocese and will include a four day masterclass for staff including deacons, youth ministers, seminarians, parishioners and teachers. This offering is a pipeline into other ACU award programs and will be complemented by a new Graduate Certificate specialisation being made available through the La Salle Academy.
Dr. Maeve Heaney has recently been appointed to the role of Director, Theological Formation for Ministry; a position that celebrates and consolidates the relationship between ACU, the Holy Spirit Seminary and the Bishops of the Queensland Province. Through the newly created Xavier School of Mission, and under the aegis of the Faculty, Dr. Heaney will respond to specific stakeholder requests for theological formation through the co-design and delivery of programs, supported by visiting (national and international) scholars.
Working with the Director of Identity and Mission, the new Centre for Liturgy under the leadership of Professor Claire Johnson is in high demand on both the domestic and international front. Requests for Liturgy workshops, seminars and new award programs are coming in from around Australia, while a new doctoral program is also being negotiated with Notre Dame Indiana. More detailed updates on the Centre and the new joint formation program with Boston College will be profiled over coming months.
These developments reflect a strengthened direction within the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, focused on our Church and Catholic sector partners while also highlighting the growing collaborations and joint planning that is part of the academic portfolio and ACU.