Hori­zon 8.0 of­fers a new con­cept to bi­ble ed­u­ca­tion

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - RELIGION - DAR­LENE POLACHIC FOR THE STARPHOENIX

This fall Hori­zon Col­lege & Sem­i­nary will of­fer a brand new style of ed­u­ca­tional phi­los­o­phy and cur­ricu­lum known as com­pe­tency-based ed­u­ca­tion.

Pres­i­dent Jeromey Mar­tini says com­pe­tency-based ed­u­ca­tion is not the norm for Chris­tian higher ed­u­ca­tion.

“We haven’t found any­thing like this any­where else in Canada and pos­si­bly in the United States, ei­ther.”

Com­pe­tency-based ed­u­ca­tion is a model that fo­cuses on demon­strated out­comes. It as­sesses how stu­dents are able to demon­strate and ap­ply what they have learned.

“Tra­di­tional ed­u­ca­tion fo­cuses on the com­ple­tion of re­quired credit hours — time in seats,” Mar­tini says. “We want to look at demon­strated com­pe­tency. In the old model, time is fixed and learn­ing is vari­able; in com­pe­tency-based ed­u­ca­tion, time is vari­able and learn­ing is fixed.”

“This is a big shift for us,” he says. “In talk­ing to our alumni and con­stituents, and peo­ple in pro­fes­sional min­istry sit­u­a­tions who at­tended bi­ble school, many speak of hav­ing a great time, mak­ing good friends and grow­ing per­son­ally and spir­i­tu­ally. But they ad­mit that when they en­tered their vo­ca­tion, they lacked the skills they needed to do the work re­quired. Their Chris­tian ed­u­ca­tion had not pre­pared them for that.”

“The com­pe­tency-based model is not some­thing we’re in­vent­ing,” he adds. “It ex­ists in the med­i­cal and den­tal pro­fes­sions, in busi­ness, and in much of in­dus­try. How­ever, we’re the first we know of to uti­lize it in our par­tic­u­lar stream.”

The new pro­gram has forced the school to re­think its tools for as­sess­ment. In­stead of us­ing es­says and ex­ams to as­sess stu­dents’ ca­pa­bil­ity, they will now be re­quired to demon­strate their un­der­stand­ing by how they can put their learn­ing into prac­tice.

“Pa­pers don’t cut it any­more,” Mar­tini says, “even with some­thing as the­o­ret­i­cal as doc­trine and the­ol­ogy. Stu­dents won’t be re­quired to write a pa­per. In­stead, they will have to demon­strate their un­der­stand­ing of the doc­trine of the Trinity, for in­stance, by ex­plain­ing it to a group of youth, or a con­gre­ga­tion. Can they com­mu­ni­cate their learn­ing ac­cu­rately with­out com­pro­mis­ing their higher level of learn­ing?”

The Hori­zon 8.0 cur­ricu­lum will en­com­pass seven core com­pe­tency streams. When stu­dents grad­u­ate, the aim is for them to be con­tex­tu­ally aware, spir­i­tu­ally ma­ture, have lead­er­ship and ad­min­is­tra­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties, be bib­li­cally and the­o­log­i­cally sound, skilled in com­mu­ni­cat­ing, be a dis­ci­ple maker, and a min­istry de­vel­oper.

Hori­zon Col­lege & Sem­i­nary of­fers up to four years of train­ing with sev­eral break-off points. Dur­ing that time a port­fo­lio will be de­vel­oped for each stu­dent, with the port­fo­lio grow­ing with each year of study. Mar­tini says the port­fo­lio cre­ates a de­scrip­tive as­sess­ment of the stu­dent’s ca­pa­bil­ity and their growth in ar­eas of self-aware­ness.

“The port­fo­lio demon­strates the stu­dent’s achieved com­pe­tency,” he says. “It is valu­able not only for the per­son, but for their prospec­tive em­ployer, as well.”

In­cor­po­rated, as well, will be the re­sults of such tools as Strength­sfin­der and My­ers-Briggs which help to iden­tify an in­di­vid­ual’s strengths and weak­nesses.

The new pro­gram’s name, Hori­zon 8.0, ref­er­ences the in­sti­tu­tion’s 80th an­niver­sary this year. It will be of­fi­cially launched in Septem­ber, though the school has al­ready been do­ing some of it in small ways.

Mar­tini says all bi­ble schools and sem­i­nar­ies are at a cru­cial point. “Most re­al­ize they have to make changes to sur­vive. Some are be­com­ing lib­eral arts in­sti­tu­tions; oth­ers are go­ing back to their bi­ble school roots. Our mission is to pro­duce the very best Chris­tian lead­ers we can. We want to pre­pare Chris­tian lead­ers not only for pro­fes­sional min­istry, but give lead­er­ship skills to Chris­tians go­ing into the mar­ket place so they can be lead­ers in what­ever area they’re en­ter­ing.”

He says for the new pro­gram to be suc­cess­ful, Hori­zon will need par­tic­i­pa­tion in and from lo­cal churches, and Chris­tian lead­ers like pas­tors, youth pas­tors, Chris­tian work­ers, Chris­tian ed­u­ca­tors and busi­ness lead­ers. “All will give voice to help­ing us speak to the for­ma­tion of the pro­gram. They will help us in­te­grate back into the lo­cal church by in­form­ing us of the church’s needs.”

Hori­zon Col­lege & Sem­i­nary will con­tinue to be a res­i­den­tial in­sti­tu­tion, but with an in­creas­ing on­line pres­ence.

“We wel­come sec­ond ca­reer peo­ple, and in­vite those in their 30s, 40s and 50s to en­rol — any­one who has a call from God on their life to be a bet­ter Chris­tian leader in their work en­vi­ron­ment, or who wants to go into pro­fes­sional Chris­tian min­istry.”

Hori­zon part­ners with Prov­i­dence Sem­i­nary in Man­i­toba to of­fer grad­u­ate level stud­ies, in­clud­ing a grad­u­ate cer­tifi­cate in lead­er­ship pro­gram which in­volves six on­line cour­ses the can­di­date can do with­out in­ter­rupt­ing their ex­ist­ing work sched­ule.

Learn more about the Hori­zon 8.0 pro­gram at www. hori­zon.edu. The web­site is also a ticket source for Hori­zon’s gala fundraiser to be held on Fri­day, May 29, at the Sher­a­ton. Tick­ets can also be pur­chased by call­ing 306-374-6655.

Jeromey Mar­tini, pres­i­dent of Hori­zon Col­lege &

Sem­i­nary.

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