What is the ICETE Academy
The ICETE Academy is an educational development platform providing certified professional training for theological educators wherever they are in the world. The Academy is formally linked with the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (and works with a number of partner providers.
It features bite-sized courses for busy faculty, administrators, leaders and managers in theological education. Courses normally entail no more than 2-10 hours of learning, cover a broad range of topics and are delivered online and through events.
The ICETE Academy works on a fellowship scheme for certification so anyone can become an ICETE Academy Fellow and obtain recognition for their educational competence.
History and governance
The ICETE Academy was founded in 2016 by the European Council of Theological Education thanks to a start-up donation from a foundation. Following an international consultation in Rome in September 2016, a strategic plan was drafted, a Steering Committee was formed and a Director was nominated. In October 2018, the ICETE Academy was formally turned over to the ICETE Board, that now owns and provides governance. In November 2018, courses were officially opened. As of 2023 more than 100 courses are available, and over 3000 theological educators from 125 countries have registered an account with the ICETE Academy
The educational career path of most theological educators tends to remain in the field of theology, and most faculty members, deans, principals and administrative staff in theological schools have little or no professional educational training.
The result can be an impoverished educational engagement, a reduced ability to respond to change, and an uncritical acceptance of traditional and/or innovative educational practices. The opportunity and need for educational training is universally recognized across higher education and theological education.
The accreditation and quality assurance agencies that operate within the ICETE are keen to enhance the educational profession in the schools they serve.
Many organizations and individuals have risen to the occasion and provided a variety of educational products specifically tailored for theological educators. These include: (a) itinerant individuals who lead focused seminars, (b) agencies that organize institutes and conferences, and (c) theological schools that have developed degree programs specifically for theological educators.
While acknowledging the huge quality contribution that has been made through these products, there are a number of problems:
- The activities are normally not globally coordinated, and this can lead to duplication and lack of synergy.
- Resources are not fully exploited and excellent products are often limited to local beneficiaries.
- Several prominent experts and trainers are ageing, reducing their availability to travel. Many have not recorded their expertise (in writing or otherwise) with the risk that their legacy will be lost.
- The available degree programs, although excellent, are relatively expensive and time consuming and remain inaccessible to many. Furthermore, many theological educators already hold terminal degrees and are not looking for further formal qualifications.
- The short training opportunities that are available are generally not certified in any way, and do normally do not appear as contributing to CVs, lifelong learning portfolios or continuing professional development schemes.
- Most training products are only recognized locally or within specific organizations rather than globally.
The place of the ICETE Academy
The ICETE Academy brings coordination, synergy, a greater volume of available products, increased accessibility through a variety of delivery approaches, global certification and quality assurance of learning through the ICETE. The ICETE Academy responds to the problems listed above as follows:
- The ICETE Academy increases global coordination and avoid duplication.
- Within the ICETE Academy, resources are pooled and made more globally available.
- The ICETE Academy functions as a hub, allowing existing providers to retain autonomy and freedom of provision, with the added benefit of quality certification.
- A variety of delivery approaches are included, allowing existing partner providers to continue to operate within their educational philosophies and strategies.
- Among the many courses envisioned, online video-based courses capture the legacy of current prominent experts and trainers.
- Short, bite-sized educational products are offered at a low cost and with limited time commitments.
- All ICETE Academy course are certified and contribute to an ICETE Academy Fellowship scheme that can be used to enhance personal CVs and institutional QA requirements.
- The ICETE brand is enhanced by the ICETE Academy, and products certified under the ICETE Academy benefit from global recognition.
- The ICETE Academy provides a hub for quality assurance agencies in the ICETE to provide tools and training directly related to accreditation and QA work.