1. Please give a thumbnail sketch of your roles and responsibilities by way of introduction.
I can refer you to my Curriculum Vitae. I am with the Board of Directors of GST and committed to serving the GST and actualising its mission and mission statement.
2. Is Greenwich School of Theology (GST) the only UK/European institution associated with the Faculty of Theology of North-West University?
It is, though we have similar relationships and agreements with Theological Institutions in the RSA and other parts of the world.
3. What do you regard as the fruits of the relationship between NWU and GST, and how do you see this relationship developing in the future?
I am thankful to the Lord for what has been achieved! At the outset, in 1997, this kind of association was completely new to all of us. We were fortunate to have experienced and skilled people from both sides, committed to making a success of this challenge. Between 2000 and 2010, 31 students had received PhD and Masters’ degrees as a result of this agreement.
As far as the future is concerned, the Board of Directors has designed a strategic plan with a short- and a long-term mission which will be regularly updated. It deals with such issues as governance, management, financial stability, academic standards, sound communication and personal guidance to students, and responsible marketing.
4. GST students value the fact that their degrees are accredited internationally. How does NWU achieve this recognition?
This is one of the oldest and most respected universities in South Africa with a proud history. The university enjoys global acknowledgement. It is firmly established both nationally and internationally. It meets the requirements of the South African Government, in particular the Department of Education. Like the other SA Universities, it is regularly assessed and evaluated according to the regulations of the Department of Education (http://www.nwu.ac.za)
A MESSAGE FROM THE VICE-PRESIDENT
The New Year witnessed a major change in the staff structure of GST when the role of Dean was relinquished by Professor Dr Stephen W Need due to an extension in his term of office as Dean of St George’s College in Jerusalem and the commensurate increase in his workload. The tasks required of a GST Dean are now shared between Dr Chris Woodall, the Registrar, Mrs Peg Evans as Liaison Administrator, with myself acting in a consultative capacity. We were fortunate to secure the services of Stephen as Dean for two years and as Examiner and tutor for an even longer period of time. We wish him and his wife Jill every success for the future.
As we all know of OFSTED and all the other statutory inspectors of Higher Education establishments, it will come as no surprise that a new development of some significance is the requirement made by our accrediting body, North-West University in South Africa, for an appraisal of all its satellite establishments, including GST. The University itself is to be inspected shortly, a requirement of the Education Department of the South African Government.
Simultaneously, and quite by chance, GST will also have another appraisal under the auspices of the now independent Open and Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC) in the UK. An appraisal occurs routinely at the end of every three-year period in connection with our accreditation as a provider of distance learning courses. These appraisals assure our students that the academic standards we have always cherished and valued will be maintained and that GST will meet the requirements set by the university and beyond.
GST is a charity, a trust, and a non-profit making Christian School of Theology. In the past it has never been able to access sufficient funding to organise regular events, such as tutor training sessions. Now, with the support of the Theology Faculty at NWU, this will be possible. Hopefully, later this year such a course will be held at St Deiniol’s Residential Library at Hawarden, near Chester, under the direction of Prof Herrie van Rooy, Director of Research at North-West University’s Faculty of Theology, Potchefstroom Campus. It is expected that numbers may be limited to around twenty, so that three seminars can be run simultaneously. It does mean that those of our tutors and examiners and those contacted as potential future tutors will need to secure a place early. If you are interested please contact either Peg or Chris as soon as possible.
GST continues to attract students from all over the world. At present we have students in the UK, Italy, Germany, USA, Canada, Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, Malaysia, Norway and Finland and we are desperate to secure funding for students from the developing World. We have received enquiries for courses at Diploma and BA (Honours) levels, but despite our best efforts we are rarely able to secure sufficient funds to meet the needs of those who are in genuine need. We have, however, had one spectacular success that has given a great deal of joy and hope to a young Pastor serving a very poor community on the borders of Zambia and the Congo. A student, also pursuing a BA (Honours) course, heard of the plight of this young man and decided – with her husband’s full support – to pay the fees for his study programme by instalments. I am delighted to report that he has recently been awarded his degree, class 2.1! Can you imagine the celebrations, not only in that community in Zambia, but also in New Zealand, where the benevolent young family now resides, and here at GST Central Office?
We hope that there may be another individual, or group of individuals, or a church that might follow this practical Christian example and offer to pay for a course or courses by instalments. To those who have contributed in this way, we offer our gratitude. Please contact Central Office for further details.