CBTE: A Philosophy, Not a Model, Pt. 9

December 3, 2018

At the beginning of October we began talking about competency-based theological education (CBTE), which was developed to help distinguish what is happening in theological education from the broader world of competency-based higher education.

In our week 1 post, we provided a little background information on outcome-based education and how CBTE fits within that broad heading.  It was noted, however, that competency-based theological education invites us to embrace the development of learners as a truly organic, spirit-filled process of discipleship.

Week 2, we took a deeper look at the new possibilities that CBTE creates by talking about the organic nature of learning, human development, and discipleship.  We discussed how the complex and organic nature of discipleship must be a guiding principle for competency-based theological education.

This led us into a conversation on power dynamics in education.  In our week 3 post, we mentioned a few areas where power or control of the educational process exist today and the challenges that come as a result.

In week 4, we talked about two specific changes that might help address the traditional power dynamics within education.  Those two changes related to distributing sources of input and assessment.

We dug a little deeper into this conversation in our week 5 post by starting a conversation about how the philosophy of CBTE impacts the role of faculty.  We shared that when competency-based theological education is embraced, faculty are empowered to bring all of their gifts and abilities to bear on the development and implementation of CBTE.

Our week 6 post shared what the following areas might look like for faculty when competency-based theological education is embraced as a philosophy: how faculty 1) spend their time, 2) function within the administrative aspects of the educational journey; 3) utilize the breadth and depth of their gifts and abilities, and 4) engage with students over the course of a calendar year.

In week 7, we discussed how CBTE not only challenges the traditional power dynamics of assessment, but that it also invites us to think differently about the nature of assessment and the role that relationships play in the process.

As we began to wrap up the series in week 8, we concluded that CBTE creates opportunities for institutions to think differently about nearly every aspect of education and it requires institutions to think more integratively.

At Sioux Falls Seminary we firmly believe that competency-based theological education is a philosophy and not simply a model of education.  We hope that this series has helped illustrate why we’ve come to this conclusion.  For us, this distinction has been an important aspect of our journey!

Within the Association of Theological Schools, there are a few other schools that are living into this distinction as well.  Next week, we will share a video that was shared as part of the recent CBTE international conference that took place in Vancouver, BC, last month.

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