Thinking for Ourselves for God’s Sake
2023 Learning and Teaching Theology Conference
Dr Bella d’Abrera
Director of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program
Institute of Public Affairs
Dr Kevin Wagner
Lecturer in Theology at the School of Philosophy and Theology
University of Notre Dame
The Conference will be held on 14–15 April 2023. Conference will be online and on demand from 14 – 22 April 2023.
Despite the ideological bloodshed of the 20th century, the first two decades of the 21st century have been marked by increasingly totalitarian ideologies polarizing society and stifling public discussion.
Traditionally committed to freedom of inquiry, educational institutions have become a major battleground in this latest version of ideological warfare. Situated in the midst of this arena of conflict, will theological education simply capitulate, or will it martial its own resources to help society find freedom yet again?
How do educational institutions establish an ethos of freedom? How are students and faculty encouraged and enabled to be free to inquire, free to learn, free to speak, free to exchange and discuss all ideas, so that education produces graduates free to be individuals freely learning for a lifetime of true freedom? How is this ethos of freedom reflected (or destroyed) in the classroom, the learning experiences and outcomes, the assessment regime, the explict and implicit curriculum, student support services, faculty research expectations, faculty professional development, interaction with Government legislations and regulation, meeting community and stakeholder expectations?
Is education merely an instrument of ideology, or can it truly be a servant of humanity? Is theological education merely an instrument of indoctrination, or can it truly serve Christ and his mission to a lost world?
How do the answers to such questions make a difference in every domain, and to every aspect, of theological education in this current time of trouble — and beyond?
Call for Papers
The Call for Papers is open for the sixth SCD Learning and Teaching Conference, Thinking for Ourselves for God’s Sake. Papers addressing any aspect of this theme are now called for.
The Sydney College of Divinity invites scholars, doctoral candidates, and others working in the theological and wider academic community to propose a paper for the SCD 2023 Learning & Teaching Conference by 16 November, 2022. Acceptance of papers will be communicated as proposals are received. Presentations will be 20 minutes, with an additional 5–10 minutes for questions and interaction. A selection of papers from the conference will be subsequently published as the next volume in the SCD Press Learning & Teaching Theology series.
Presenters will need to register for the conference.
Guidelines for Paper Proposals
The title of the proposed presentation, with an abstract of 250–300 words, should be sent to the SCD Academic Director, Assoc Prof Peter Bolt (PeterB@scd.edu.au), by 16 November, 2022. Submissions should be accompanied by contact details: name, institutional affiliation, postal address, phone number and email address.
The title of the paper and its abstract must articulate clearly the line of argument that the paper will take, indicating its contribution to research in the chosen area.
Subject to the papers offered, the Conference Program will assign papers to various streams, so that conferees may specialize in their interest area. These streams will be organized (approximately) along the lines of the domains of the Higher Education Standards. This opens out the possibility for papers from those involved in Theological Education other than teaching Faculty. It would therefore be helpful if paper proposals nominate the area of focus:
- Student Participation & Attainment (Domain 1)
- Learning Environment (Domain 2)
- Teaching & Learning (Domain 3)
- Research & Research Training (Domain 4)
- Institutional Quality Assurance (Domain 5)
- Governance & Accountability (Domain 6)
- Representation, Information, & Information Management (Domain 7)
Dr Bella d’Abrera and Dr Kevin Wagner will be delivering two keynote addresses, each.
Education or Social Engineering?
Dr Bella d’Abrera will deliver the keynote address, Education or Social Engineering?
Bella is the Director of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program at the Institute of Public Affairs. She has a BA in History and Spanish from Monash University, an MA in Spanish from the University of St Andrews, and a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge. Bella is the author of a number of academic works and scholarly articles and specialises in education and skills, faith and society and culture, ideas and liberty and Western Civilisation. She appears frequently in the media and is a regular contributor to The Australian, the Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun and the Spectator Australia.
Indoctrination or Theological Education?
Dr Kevin Wagner will deliver the keynote address, Indoctrination or Theological Education?
Kevin is a lecturer in Theology at the School of Philosophy and Theology, University of Notre Dame Australia, specialising in Patristic Theology, Early Church History, and Scripture. Kevin’s research expertise is in the area of Patristics, Church History, Evangelisation, and Neo-Platonic philosophy.