PROGRAMS IN EASTERN CHRISTIAN STUDIES
St. Gregory Nazianzen Orthodox Institute for Eastern Christian Studies provides faith-based distance learning opportunities in higher education through accessible, flexible, and high-quality certificate, diploma, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs in Eastern Christian Studies (ECS). In order to better support the Institute's vision, mission, goals, and objectives, the Institute undertook an extensive and comprehensive programmatic prioritization and reengineering process in 2017-2018, resulting in a dynamic restructuring of all ECS programs.
The ecclesiastical academic certificate and degree offerings [which came into effect on 1 January 2019] include (a) Undergraduate Certificates in ECS, (b) Undergraduate Diplomas in ECS, (c) Bachelor of Arts in ECS, (d) Certificate in Advanced [Eastern Christian] Studies for Presbyteral Ministry, (e) Master of Arts in [Eastern Christian] Spirituality and Ministry, and (f) Doctor of Ministry in [Eastern Christian] Spirituality and Ministry Mindset. The Institute also offers a number of specialized sabbatical, renewal, and certificate programs in ECS. Students enrolled in ECS programs prior to June 2018 are not affected by the programmatic changes.
Specialization tracks [majors] for ECS programs include (a) Eastern Orthodox Studies, (b) Eastern Catholic Studies, and (c) Student-initiated Specializations [which must be pre-approved by the Office of Academic Affairs]. Three key drivers—Orthodox Faith, Orthodox Practice, and Orthodox Mindset [phronema]—motivate, impel, and sustain ECS programs and specializations, which focus on the creation of a learning and research environment that fosters growth in knowledge, faith, spiritual life and experience, and service to the Universal Church through a rigorous personal training/coaching regimen of human, spiritual/liturgical, intellectual, and pastoral formation.
In conjunction with the aforementioned ecclesiastical academic certificate/degree programs and specializations, the Institute offers integrated, [interdisciplinary], double majors, minors, and concentrations in Business Administration, Ecology, Education Sciences, Hellenic Studies, Information Technology and Security, Law, Leadership and Management, Slavic Studies, and student-initiated double majors, minors, and concentrations,[which like student-initiated specializations, must be pre-approved by the Office of Academic Affairs].
Interdisciplinary double majors, minors, and concentrations can supplement and strengthen the ECS programs and specialization tracks [in Eastern Orthodox Studies, Eastern Catholic Studies, and Student-initiated Specializations] and assist in the development of a full range of integrative skills in the areas of critical thinking and inquiry, creative synthesis, conceptual blending, dialogue, and multicultural/transcultural thinking. The intention is to foster a creative and transformative paradigm in which movement across the regulated perspectives and methodologies of disciplinary thought and learning can be achieved, and ultimately employed to span the divides between cultures, languages, philosophies, worldviews, and lifeworlds. The dynamic goal-orientation is the formation of servant-leaders who are equipped to ‘break down the middle wall of enmity’, (cf. Ephesians 2:14), and to move across seemingly insurmountable chasms in an effort to ‘bridge and build’ for the Kingdom of God.
PERSONALIZED LEARNING OPTIONS
St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute utilizes the Individualized Distance Learning Delivery Model, which combines personal choice, quality, convenience, and flexibility. This model includes: (a) Open/Rolling Enrollment; (b) Advanced Placement; (c) FlexStart Scheduling; (d) Independent Study, (i.e., Individualized Learning for Motivated Students); and (e) College Level Testing.
The model's Open/Rolling Enrollment policy allows a prospective student to submit his/her Admissions Application to the Institute at any time. The Institute then reviews the Admissions Application and notifies the applicant as to the admission decision within a 2-3 weeks after submission. Advanced Placement allows the student to transfer credits from other recognized institutions, [subject to review and approval by the Registrar’s Office], and/or to earn credits upon the satisfactory completion of Advanced Placement examinations/evaluations. FlexStart Scheduling allows the student to choose and register for non-sequential fast-track courses. Independent Study rewards the diligent student by allowing him/her to enroll in a course, complete the requirements, and move on to the next course at his/her own speed or pace. College Level Testing allows the student to translate life experience into academic credit.
The goal of this learner-centered model is to facilitate the student’s pursuit of academic excellence, and moreover, to foment the acquisition of critical thinking, emotional literacy, social intelligence, and other 'hard/soft' skills, (e.g., attention, communication skills, conflict resolution, flexibility, focus, independence, integrity, Christian leadership, motivation, multitasking, organizational skills, patience, self-direction, self-discipline, situational awareness, sound judgment, teamwork, time-management, and tolerance).
Ultimately, St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute’s innovative distance learning programs provide study tracks and spiritual growth pathways that fit the adult learner’s individual needs, schedule, and learning style, making it possible for the student to manage a family, job, career, and/or other responsibilities while studying.
On 17 March 2019, St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute and Avgustyn Voloshyn Carpathian University (UA) signed a Bilateral Agreement and Validation Partnership. The agreement serves as the framework for a comprehensive model of cooperation and integration between the signatory institutions [including the Uzhgorod Theological Academy]. In addition to establishing credit transfer and program/degree recognition, accreditation, and validation, the partnership promotes:
The Validation Partnership complements the accreditation of St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute’s ECS programs and specialization tracks by the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association and the Institute’s membership in the Association of Universities of Latin America and the Caribbean for Integration.
SECULAR DEGREE PROGRAMS THROUGH NIKOLA TESLA UNION UNIVERSITY (RS)
On 17 December 2017, St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute and Nikola Tesla Union University (RS) signed a Bilateral Agreement, which serves as the framework for a comprehensive model of cooperation between the signatory institutions. The new Bilateral Agreement serves as a mechanism for joint strategic management; it also regulates credit transfer, degree recognition and validation, joint degree development and research projects, student and staff exchanges, outreach activities, and the sharing of resources and technology.
In addition to the ecclesiastical academic programs listed above, a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate secular degree options are now available through Nikola Tesla Union University (NTU), an institution of higher learning accredited by the Republic of Serbia (RS) Commission for Quality Evaluation, [Komisija za Vrednovanje Kvaliteta]. For information regarding 'St. Gregory Nazianzen Institute at NTU' program offerings, see Nikola Tesla Union University Programs of Study or A Guide through Accredited Institutions of Higher Education and Study Programs in Serbia, (pp. 59-61).
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