President Ronald Kuipers described the past year at Toronto’s Institute for Christian Studies (ICS) as “daunting, challenging, but also very rewarding.” Appointed as provost of the interdisciplinary graduate school in July 2017, Kuipers’ title was changed to president in January 2018, following the retirement of Doug Blomberg at the end of October 2017. Kuipers’ first official year as president included a move to a new location right in the heart of University of Toronto, a renovation of that space, and implementation of a new strategic plan to build financial stability. ICS has also found new ways to serve life-long learners, including vocation-discerning seminars and a Critical Faith podcast.
“We are seeking to find new ways to continue to provide intellectual nourishment to adult learners from a Christian and deeply Reformed perspective,” Kuipers said.
Part of that was adding an Educational Leadership stream to ICS’s Masters of Arts (Philosophy), offered in partnership with the Christian Teacher’s Academy. Teachers can focus their studies in administrative leadership or curriculum innovation.
ICS has also been developing a collaborative academic relationship with The King’s University in Edmonton, Alta. A memorandum of understanding signed in the fall of 2017 allows for exploring the possibility of a formal affiliation between the two schools—one institution with campuses in both Edmonton and Toronto.
In the spirit of collaboration, the institutions are beginning to offer joint educational programming. A seminar “To the Unknown God: Paul and Some Philosophers,” hosted at ICS from May 22-31 will be their first joint course. Co-taught by King's Jeffrey Dudiak and Kuipers from ICS, registered students from both institutions may take this course for credit.
“This is one tangible way we see King’s and ICS working together in the future,” said Kuipers. “It is our hope that these ties will strengthen both institutions. We are looking forward to what we can build together, something lasting and strong.”
It has been a year full of new beginnings, and ICS has been blessed as the plans take root. As Kuipers described, “The seeds we are planting are becoming seedlings.”