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  /  CBC Stories   /  Academic Update: Fall 2024

Academic Update: Fall 2024

by Gil Dueck, Academic Dean

Over the past year Columbia has been engaged in a review of our academic programming. This has been an exciting opportunity to revisit our mission and to ask fresh questions in light of the challenges and opportunities that are in front of us as a college. I want to give a quick snapshot of some of the key changes we are making for Fall of 2024. 

Program Integration

One of the terms we use to describe our academic program is practical theology.  This is a way of saying that we care about connecting our study of the Bible and theology to the practical and ministry-related questions of our time. How does our reading of the Bible impact how we understand leadership and management? How does it relate to the insights of psychology?  What does it mean for our relationships and our ethics? What about the challenges of 21st century church ministry? These are the questions of practical theology.

One of the ways that we want to get better at this is through an expanded core curriculum that puts key courses from different program areas side by side. Students from different program areas will spend more time in shared classes together. Courses will be shared between programs with the goal of showing students how they relate to each other.

We want to be known for excellence in practical theological integration. 

Psychology Degree

Columbia’s Counselling program has a long and proud history of preparing people for caring vocations as well as further study toward professional certification. This is not changing. But we are taking the step of renaming this program. Starting in Fall of 2024 we will be offering a BA in Practical Theology with a major in Psychology. This is a more accurate way of naming our existing degree and we believe it will open more doors for our graduates either in ongoing education and certification or employment settings.  We believe this is a vitally important program in a culture where mental health challenges are increasing rapidly.

We are excited to offer students a strong background in psychology with a rigorous biblical-theological foundation.   

Ministry Formation Degree

It is very difficult to talk to any pastor or Christian leader who is not concerned about leadership succession.  Where will tomorrow’s pastors and leaders come from? It is not an easy time to be a pastor, but the role of leading the church in the 21st century is vitally important because the church represents God’s presence and activity in the world.  This requires our best efforts and our best people.  

Columbia wants to do our part in identifying, calling and equipping the next generation of ministry leaders. Starting in Fall 2024 we will be offering a brand-new degree in Ministry Formation which is designed to set graduates up for a broad range of church-based roles with a focus on long-term ministry resilience. We want to be advocates for the importance of church ministry. And we want to form students for the needs of the contemporary church. This new degree will pair naturally with academic minors in youth ministry and worship arts. 

We want to be known as a college that loves the church and wants to form church leaders that can thrive over the long-haul.

We will be working hard in the weeks and months ahead to get these changes ready for Fall 2024. We will also be taking a fresh look at our certificates and diplomas as we consider what program mix is right for the needs of our students.  I am proud to be part of a faculty and staff team who demonstrate a commitment to excellence with a deep care for students. We live in a culture that is increasingly aware that everything is not OK and where big questions are being raised in wider and wider circles. I believe Columbia has something vital and necessary to offer in this space because of what we intentionally seek to combine: a commitment to following Jesus wholeheartedly, a commitment to authority and relevance of Scripture, and a commitment to making focused connections with the world around us. This is the heartbeat behind all our academic programs.