October 30, 2023
by Greg Henson, CEO Kairos University; President of Sioux Falls Seminary
Before the end of the year, the Kairos 10.0 curriculum will be released to students and partner organizations. We are excited about making it available because it represents a decade of learning and listening as we have walked with students in Kairos. Last week, we shared a bit about the relationship between stewardship and continuous improvement. We ended by noting that, in the coming weeks, we will describe Kairos 10.0, reflect on some of the updates we have made, and outline how faculty, students, and partners can take advantage of all it has to offer. Let’s begin with a broad overview of the updates that have been made and the rationale behind them.
The updates we have made can be categorized into three areas: Integrated Voice, Supported Flexibility, and Adjusted Expectations.
When the first 15 students began their journeys with Kairos in 2014, they did so under the guidance of about five faculty members–all of whom lived in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Most of the faculty had spent significant portions of their academic careers at Sioux Falls Seminary, one of the legacy partners of Kairos University, and all of them had recently reviewed the program learning outcomes for the Master of Divinity offered by Sioux Falls Seminary. It was this small group of faculty that developed the curriculum for Kairos 1.0. As new students began to join the movement, this small group of faculty developed Kairos 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0.
Today, we have over 150 faculty mentors spread out across six continents. They are connected to dozens of partners and five legacy partners. Obviously, that is a much larger and more diverse group of people. Kairos 10.0 is the first version of the Kairos curriculum that will leverage the strength of this diverse group of voices. We created small groups of faculty to review the learning outcomes, course structures, and learning journeys for the various programs within Kairos University. This is one of the reasons we have been working on it for over 18 months. We wanted to give people time to talk with each other, to write, review, and rewrite various pieces of the curriculum. The whole time, our hope was to develop something that went beyond the small group of voices that created the early versions of Kairos.
Every program within Kairos University must be affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful. Creating that reality requires immense flexibility. What might be accessible to one person may be out of reach for another. What works in one context may be detrimental in another. Flexibility has been a hallmark of Kairos since we began with Kairos 1.0. With that being said, we have also strived to create a support structure for students, partners, and mentors. Kairos 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0—for competency-based programs specifically—provided enormous structure with their exhaustive progress maps, rigid Kairos gathering requirements, and 72 pages of targets and prescriptive assignments, while versions 1.0, 7.0, 8.0, and 9.0 had, comparatively, much less structure.
Our aim with Kairos 10.0 is to create something we are calling “supported flexibility.” That is to say, there is an additional level of support than was provided in Kairos 7.0, 8.0, and 9.0 as well as some enhanced flexibility. This is probably most evident in the Master of Arts, Master of Divinity, and Master of Arts in Leadership programs but there are hints of it in the other programs as well.
Finally, several updates within Kairos 10.0 are related to the required aspects of various programs. In the past, we have made adjustments to the expectations related to Kairos gatherings. For example, there was a period of time wherein Master of Divinity students had to attend six Kairos gatherings in Sioux Falls in order to graduate. That expectation was shifted to require participation in four case studies, which could be online or in-person. In Kairos 10.0, we have adjusted the requirement expectations for a few programs, most notably the Bachelor of Arts degree, and clarified the requirements in a few others.
In the coming weeks, we will go into more detail about each of the programs and the requisite updates so stay tuned! Next week, however, we will take a look at the programs that have the fewest updates.