A vibrant research ethos is a clear distinguishing feature of the SCD. Whether you are a prospective research student considering taking one of our research degrees or a prospective new member of the SCD faculty based in one of the SCD’s Member Institutions, you will find that effective scholarship and the pursuit of research are highly valued and strongly supported across the SCD. For an overview see Research Policy.
In 2009 two of the Commendations made by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) specifically addressed our research ethos:
In the years since 2009 individual students and some staff have moved on, but others have taken their place. Research activity continues to have a significant role in SCD life.
As well as the programs attaching to the research degrees the SCD offers research opportunities for students in several other ways. The BTh (Hons) requires production of a short thesis under the direction of a supervisor. The masters coursework degrees provide for research projects and research essays. The SCD has been a partner with four other national theological institutions in having developed the annual Postgraduate Research Conference: Theology and Philosophy, where SCD research students are encouraged to offer papers or simply attend and meet research students from across the spectrum.
Opportunities to participate in relevant research conferences within SCD circles and beyond are publicized to both research students and faculty, and the academic publications of SCD faculty are celebrated in internal SCD communications. Faculty are encouraged to participate in regular professional development for scholarship and research in events arranged for both SCD as a whole and the faculty of particular Member Institutions and disciplines, including sessions devoted to familiarization with supervision.
The SCD as a whole espouses the ideal of research-led teaching, so that classes are delivered by teachers aware of current scholarship and, as far as possible, teachers who are developing related research projects themselves. While it is, of course, essential that existing knowledge and skills should be passed on, the SCD appreciates that teaching as sheer repetition is ultimately insufficient, that education is about expanding horizons for both the student and the teacher through embracing new learning and fresh thinking.
The SCD Research Active Policy sets out the criteria for being approved as a supervisor of research theses in terms of peer-reviewed academic publications and supervision experience, and similar factors are also central to the academic classification of SCD faculty at one of the five academic levels used by universities and to applications for promotion from one level of classification to another.