Faculty Handbook

Download the 2015 Faculty Handbook

Mission 1
Guiding Framework 1
A School for Religious Liberty 3
Course Offerings: 2016 4
Blended Learning 6
Online Experience 7
Onsite Symposium in Washington, DC .. . . .  7
Guiding Questions 8
Academic Calendar: 2016 9
Learning Styles 10
Case Studies 12
Videoconferences 12
Online Blocks 13
Onsite Sessions 15
Final Assignments 17
Grading 17
Components of a Syllabus 17
Accreditation Standards 20
Capstone Project for Certificate 21
Appendix A. Sample Grade Sheet 22



Instructors are asked to pay close attention to the following accreditation standards, as outlined in the faculty handbook.

Students who successfully complete the blended learning courses will receive academic credit toward their graduate degree programs from our partner schools that are accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).

In Educational Standard, the ATS Commission on Accrediting defines distance education as “a mode of education in which a course is offered without students and instructors being in the same location. Instruction may be synchronous or asynchronous and employs the use of technology. Distance education courses may consist of exclusively online or other technologically assisted instruction or a blend of intensive classroom and online instruction. In all cases, distance education courses shall ensure regular and substantive interaction of faculty with students.”

Standard ES.4.2.3 emphasizes that “distance education programs shall seek to enhance personal and spiritual formation, be sensitive to individual learning styles, and recognize diversity within the community of learners. Courses shall require regular and substantive interaction between teachers and learners and among learners to ensure a community of learning.”

Training and Technical Support

The Religious Freedom Center’s education designers, in partnership with the instructors, will offer students “training and one-on-one technical support” to prepare them for the distance education program, as required by the ATS accreditation standard ES.4.2.10.

Standard ES.4.2.11 requires that the technological support services “include both (1) staff with a sufficiently high level of technical skills to ensure student facility in handling software and the technological aspects of course offerings and (2) the systemic evaluation and upgrading of technological resources and services consistent with the learning goals of theological scholarship.”

Standard ES4.2.12 requires that “the program shall also ensure that the educational objectives are not hindered by time delays in support services or the lack of capable personnel to ensure the several bridging functions between technology and theological education, between theological curriculum and delivery systems, between teachers and learners, and between the distance education program and the goals of the overall curriculum for the courses and degree program being offered.” 

Advisory and Administrative Support

The education advisor will provide distance education students with “advisory and administrative support,” as required in ATS standard ES.4.2.18. This includes “program and vocational counseling, financial aid, academic records, and placement. The policies and procedures governing financial assistance shall be published and administered equitably.”

Recruitment and Admissions

Standard ES.4.2.16 requires that “in recruitment efforts, services, and publications, institutions shall accurately represent their distance education programs, including but not limited to a description of the technology used and the technological ability, skill, and access needed to participate in the program satisfactorily.