September 25, 2017

New theology minor will be open to all students

Professors Amy Hughes and Sharon Ketcham will teach courses that will be part of Gordon's new theology minor. Photo by John Nadeau

By Alex Hall

Editor in Chief

Gordon College is adding a  22 credit theology minor.  It is currently available for students to sign up and officially begins in the fall.  The Humanities Division, the faculty Academic Program Committee, and the administration eagerly embraced this new course of study.  

The formal description of the minor states,  “The theology minor is designed for students who wish to pursue a formal course of study in theology, building on the common core curriculum.  Studies in theology introduce students to eras of history in the Christian tradition, specific systems of Christian doctrine, and ethical and practical considerations.  This minor supports a broad liberal arts education by enabling formal theological reflection on matters of faith and life.”

Dr. Amy Hughes and Dr. Sharon Ketcham are two of the professors who will teaching courses.

Hughes says, “Defining theology is no easy task but theology isn’t primarily an intellectual exercise, learning a set of beliefs. While the content of the Christian faith is certainly central to the minor, theology is where faith and life meet. It is this intersection that Gordon students are particularly connecting with.”

The theology minor will include three required courses, then students will be able to choose from a menu of other courses. Along with Dr. Hughes and Dr. Ketcham, courses will also be taught by Dr. Dan Darko, Dr. Marv Wilson, and Dr. Elaine Phillips.

In 2009, changes were made to the core curriculum, and this is when theology became a common core requirement. The faculty initiated adding this course to the core because they wanted students to be introduced to this disciplinary lens. Students had a positive reaction to this course along with much of the administration. Students began requesting that additional courses beyond the core theology course be offered. “In response to student interest, I worked with my department to create the minor, which was approved Fall 2015,” said Ketcham.

Dr. Roger Green taught theology courses for many years, but due to his retirement, some of these courses, along with new ones, will be taught by Dr. Hughes who was hired last fall. “Working closely with students to help spur a deeper love for the substance of their faith and solidify their commitment to the gospel in their respective fields of study is central to my understanding of myself as a professor of theology,” said Hughes.

Dr. Ketcham will teach courses that will include formal studies in ecclesiology, practical theology and feminist theology.  These courses were intermixed with ministry and biblical studies courses and had not yet been organized into a formal course of study.  

Ketcham is excited to be working with this minor.  She says, “I deeply value the diversity of Christian traditions represented among Gordon students as well as across the faculty and staff.”  Ketcham went on to talk about how we can better understand ourselves, others, God and the world once we face views that are not like our own.  

Students are excited to learn more about doctrines and why theology matters and what they can use it for.

“The minor is about learning how to reflect theologically on, well, everything. Thus, it is an immensely relevant and practical endeavor,” said Hughes.

Hughes speaks towards the opportunities that come with offering this minor.  “It’s exciting to do theology at a place like Gordon that puts paramount value on the liberal arts and consider how we might contribute to the church at large. As part of the core, Christian Theology offers students an avenue to do the vital work of learning how to reflect theologically…”

By adding this minor, it will allow students to explore what they learned in Christian Theology at a deeper level, since a core class cannot cover everything as in depth as some student may want.  Hughes continued, “The Theology Minor is designed for students to add no matter what their major: ‘Theology is like a great pair of jeans…it goes with everything!’”

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