Over the past decade there has been a noticeable declining trend in applications to theology programs across North America, although somewhat more dramatically so at Queen’s School of Religion. During this time, the School has undertaken extensive recruitment efforts, including significant curriculum redesign in 2010 and an increase in student bursary funding. Despite these efforts, enrolments have continued to decline, and the School’s goal to have a strong cohort of students contributing to the academic culture no longer seems possible.
The proposal to consider temporarily suspending admissions is being brought forward by the School itself for further consultation. The authority to make this decision, after appropriate deliberation, consultation, and communication, resides with the Dean of Arts and Science, who will act in consultation with the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
If a decision is made to suspend temporarily theology program admissions, the School of Religion will continue to offer a full complement of theology courses until August 2015 in order to ensure that full-time students currently enrolled in the programs will be able to fulfill the requirements of their degrees as planned. The School will work individually with part-time students to forge a plan for their studies.
The School of Religion is not considering temporarily suspending admissions to the undergraduate program in Religious Studies or the MA in Religious Studies. No full time faculty members or staff will lose their position as a result of a suspension; all members of the unit will continue to work at the School in our growing programs in Religious Studies.
Temporarily suspending admissions to theology programs will give the School the time it needs to explore other ways to foster academic engagement with theology at Queen’s, including the possible development of a Research Centre that will promote public engagement with religion and theology.