Seminary to offer new program

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This September the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary (WLS) will offer undergraduate courses for the first time since Wilfrid Laurier University was known as Waterloo Lutheran University.

The fall of 2012 will see the Seminary institute a bachelor of arts in Christian studies and global citizenship, the first non-graduate program offered by the WLS since Waterloo Lutheran was provincialized in 1973 and became Wilfrid Laurier University.

Prior to that, the Seminary was heavily involved in the operation of the university, dating all the way back to 1911, when this institution was founded as the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada.

“This program will, in a way, rebuild a bridge that was there from the earliest days,” said David Pfrimmer, principal dean of the Seminary. “We wanted to have a program that could help people prepare, in whatever kind of work they do to contribute to that kind of goal of serving the common good, making Canada a better place, making a difference in the world.”

Since 1973, the Seminary has operated as a federated college of Laurier, offering graduate programs. By offering this new undergraduate program, Pfrimmer is excited at the possibility of collaborating with other faculties.

“We’re very open to working with other departments,” he said. “We’ve designed the program with that intention in mind. We fully expect and hope that there will be students in other fields who will take this as an option or a minor.

“Conversely, we hope people that register in this program will take options and minors in other programs. We don’t want people to just be theologically literate, we want them to be, in the good liberal arts tradition, fully aware of a full range of fields.”

According to Pfrimmer, the Seminary technically operates as a faculty of theology. Therefore, the decision to add the program went through WLU’s Senate Academic Planning, and Senate before approval.

The Seminary is currently in the process of looking for instructors for the new program, however Pfrimmer said that there are current faculty in the Seminary’s graduate program interested in teaching at the undergraduate level.

Pfrimmer also noted that there would be opportunities for students beyond the classroom such as getting credit for volunteer work.

“There may be service learning opportunities, there may be global internship opportunities, there may be opportunities for people who want to work with a faith-based NGO,” he said.

He added that the program will be available at both the Waterloo and Brantford campuses, as well as online.

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