University and School of Religion consider integration
The Principals of Queen’s University and Queen’s School of Religion (formerly Queen’s Theological College) have agreed in principle to enter into discussions to explore the possibility of fully integrating the School back into the University in 2012, the centenary of the current affiliation agreement between the then-Theological College and the University.
“I welcome the prospect of having these discussions and giving leadership to what could be a historic event where the University’s parent is brought back into the fold,” says Queen’s Principal Daniel Woolf.
Queen's was founded by the Presbyterian Church in 1841. In 1912, Queen's separated from the church in order to become eligible for provincial funding as a nondenominational institution, and the federal government of the day incorporated the original Theological College as a separate body.
School Principal Jean Stairs says these discussions will strengthen the School’s recently adopted strategic plan.
“We recently changed our name, after 169 years, from Queen’s Theological College to the Queen’s School of Religion in order to assume a broader academic mandate within the University and in response to our religiously diverse Canadian context,” says Principal Stairs.
The University and the School have had separate charters since 1912. Both charters will need to be reviewed as part of integration discussions.
The School’s other federal charter partner, The United Church of Canada, welcomes these discussions.
“It is my initial sense that this integration may well be of long-term benefit, ensuring continuing excellence in theological and religious studies programs,” says the Church's General Secretary Nora Sanders.
The integration will require the approval of both the University’s Board of Trustees and the Board of the Queen’s School of Religion. At a special meeting in late July, the School’s Board unanimously endorsed pursuing integration talks. The integration is expected to be cost-neutral.
Bruce Hutchinson, Chair of the Board of the Queen’s School of Religion, will convene regular Town Hall meetings for the School’s faculty, staff and students during the academic year to receive input and keep all parties fully informed. The Queen’s University Faculty Association, which represents the faculty of the School, will be invited to comment throughout the process.
The first town hall meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 31 at 1:00 pm in Room 209, Theological Hall.
“I look forward to working on a process that will see the School of Religion’s undergraduate and graduate programs in religious studies and theology as integral contributions to the academic life of Queen’s University,” says Mr. Hutchinson.