Reporting on the General Assembly 2019

With gratitude, we look back on the General Assembly of the European Council for Theological Education, that took place November 28-30, 2019 in Rome. Seventy-five participants, representing 36 member institutions and several associate members gathered in a unique location vis-à-vis of St. Peters and in walking distance to the historic center of Rome.

Comments by participants included statements such as “excellent conference”, “great organization and a fruitful GA”. “I greatly benefitted from the experience of seasoned educators and left with many new impulses, or “a highly motivating experience”.  Here is a little video taster of our time together:

 

During the GA 2019 we looked back on 40 years of quality development in our network of evangelical theological education. In his introductory speech, chair Dr. Bernhard Ott highlighted some milestones in the history of EEAA/ECTE.

Decisions

In addition to a great time of friendship and networking, some key developments and decisions were made by the General Assembly in the formal business meetings:

1. Focus on quality and revised ECTE standards

“Quality” was the central theme of this GA. Through several plenaries and workshop sessions, the revised ECTE standards and guidelines were introduced and discussed, together with new accreditation procedures and criteria. The assembly voted overwhelmingly to approve the new 2019 Standards and Guidelines for ECTE Accreditation, which now officially replace the 6th Edition of the ECTE Manual.

While retaining much of the previous content, the new and upgraded ECTE standards align with both the European Standards and Guidelines for higher education and with the global standards of the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE).  Please visit http://ecte.eu/qa/ to see more.

A new ECTE Certification Framework was also approved, removing the ‘vocational-academic’ distinction from ECTE nomenclature and reformulating it in terms of research and practice orientation.  A further distinction was introduced in ECTE accreditation procedures that eliminates the candidacy phase and introduces a distinction between institutional and programme accreditation.

Guidelines for the transition phase from pre-2019 accreditation to post-2019 accreditation can also be found at http://ecte.eu/qa/pre2019/.

2. Relating to the European Higher Education area through EQAR:

One of the purposes of the GA 2019 was to interact with the standards and procedures of the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR) in view of a potential review of ECTE by ENQA and EQAR. We were pleased to have had Melinda Szabó, Senior Policy Analyst of EQAR as an excellent expert as guest speaker, and she helpfully clarified many issues and responded to questions of the participants. In the business session, the GA voted with a strong majority to mandate the Council to proceed toward an ENQA/EQAR review in order to be included in the EQAR register.

The approved timeline envisages that ECTE will proceed with the review application, produce a self-assessment report against the ESG and host a review visit led by ENQA during our GA in 2021. Should all go well, the ECTE plans to be listed in the EQAR register and become full members of ENQA by summer of 2022. To meet the costs of the EQAR review and the associated structural changes in the ECTE, the GA has approved a budget which enables the Council to proceed.

3. Changes in the ECTE council

Parush Parushev and Adrian Smith have left the council at this GA, and Hubert Jurgensen has stepped down from the responsibility as Vice-Chairman of the organization. All three were honored during the GA for their outstanding contribution to the work of ECTE in past years. Joachim Pomrehn (Germany), Rana Wazir (Lebanon) and Mirko Fritzlar (student representative) were elected as new council members. Bernhard Ott was reelected for another two years as Chairman and Silke Brohl was elected as Vice-Chairman.

Follow up

All the sessions from the 2019 GA are available on video through the ICETE Academy course: Internal Quality Assurance in Europe.  The ECTE is providing sponsored access for all ECTE staff and faculty to all ICETE Academy courses as part of our commitment to educational enhancement and ongoing faculty development (see more here).

The general feeling at the GA was a forward-looking anticipation and a renewed vision for quality evangelical education in Europe. We recognize that full recognition by EQAR is a significant challenge, but in all we seek to serve you and to honor God.

Please feel free to contact us for any questions you may have.

For the ECTE Council

Dr. Bernhard Ott (Chair)
Dr. Marvin Oxenham (General Secretary)

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