The partnership of NAIITS and the University of Divinity (UD) is transitioning!
After nearly six years of a mutually beneficial partnership delivering post-graduate theological education with Indigenous Australians, each is now heading in different directions – NAIITS to a new set of opportunities for expanded program delivery, and the UD to focus on its new School of Indigenous Studies (SIS).
Even as the decision to conclude our partnership was being taken, NAIITS and the UD were conscious that our years of partnership have realized much. Over nearly six years, 14 students graduated with Graduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and/or Masters degrees. What’s more, the partnership brought Indigenous-led post-graduate theological education into reality. These accomplishments were and still are historic.
NAIITS is now embarking on the next step toward the goal of Indigenous self-direction in Australia. Effective December 31, 2022, NAIITS will be transitioning to an expanded set of relationships as the newest member college of the Sydney College of Divinity (SCD) in Sydney, Australia. On its website, SCD notes:
The Sydney College of Divinity is broadly in the tradition of the University of London, which was established in 1836 as a non-teaching body to provide examinations for multiple colleges around England. When Higher Education was being introduced into Australia in the late 1840s, the promoters of the University of Sydney found this innovative multi-college model more attractive than that of the more ancient single-campus universities – especially as a way of allowing for the distinctives of the various Christian denominations to find a proper place within the university environment. In its organisational structure, the Sydney College of Divinity continues this tradition to the great advantage of its students.
As we conclude this part of NAIITS’ journey with Whitley and the University of Divinity, we wish to acknowledge the supportive efforts of both institutions, but especially Whitley College, the Baptist College of Victoria. They each created space when many before could or would not. In doing so, Indigenous designed, developed, delivered, and governed theological education was able to establish a post-graduate foothold in Australia.
Since both the UD and NAIITS are concerned that our students do not falter as this change takes place, current students are being informed about several options from which they might choose to continue their educational journey. All students, whether current, or those who have completed an award, but who wish to continue their studies, should contact Naomi Wolfe (firstname.lastname@example.org) for transition options, course mapping, and to make their choice among these options.
While coursework programs with Whitley will cease as of December 31, 2022, the HDR portion of the NAIITS/UD MOU will continue to be in force until such time as the last of the NAIITS HDR students who chooses to remain and complete with the NAIITS/UD PhD program has finished and graduated. During this time, all NAIITS/UD HDR students will continue to be managed, overseen, and their programs of study maintained solely by NAIITS, and its faculty as noted within the current agreement between the UD and NAIITS.