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Act 6, 2018 (VI) – Act anent The Quinquennial Review of Edinburgh Theological Seminary. 22nd May 2018.

  1. The General Assembly appoint a Committee to carry out the Quinquennial Review of the Edinburgh Theological Seminary.
  2. The General Assembly appoint the Rev. Ivor MacDonald of Hope Church, Coatbridge as Convener of the Quinquennial Review
  3. The General Assembly instruct the Board of Trustees, the Board of Ministry and the Mission Board, at their next regular meetings, to nominate one of their number to serve on the Quinquennial Review
  4. The General Assembly appoint Rev. Alasdair Macleod of Smithton-Culloden Free Church as a member of the Quinquennial Review
  5. The General Assembly instruct the Quinquennial Review Committee not to engage in an assessment of the quality of the academic provision given in ETS or to consider the doctrinal orthodoxy of ETS Staff.
  6. The General Assembly instruct the Quinquennial Review Committee to make use of suitable advisers, including the chairmen of the Board of Ministry and the Board of Edinburgh Theological Seminary, as well as a student from Edinburgh Theological Seminary, and a Free Church minister having recently graduated from ETS.
  7. The General Assembly instruct the Quinquennial Review Committee to consider the governance, academic strategy, and sustainability of ETS as set out in Appendix One Sections 1-3 as well as the opinions of the various customers who use ETS as specified in Appendix One Section 4 regarding the scope of the review. Further, the Committee should consider the place of ETS within the wider ministry training structures and strategy of the Church.
  8. The General Assembly instruct the Quinquennial Review Committee to follow the process of producing the review as laid out in Appendix One, Section 5.
  9. The General Assembly instruct the Quinquennial Review Committee to investigate whether recommendations from the previous Quinquennial Review were implemented.
  10. The General Assembly instruct the Quinquennial Review Committee to produce a report for the 2019 General Assembly in which they shall make a judgement as to the fitness of the education and the training provided by ETS and make such recommendations as it sees fit for ensuring that the education and training meets the needs of the students and those who send the students to the Seminary.
1 – Governance – Institutional & AcademicAssessed in terms of:
1.1 Institutional Structures. 

ETS Board – Role of and function

Relationship and interaction with Principal, Senate and Assembly











Likelihood of delivering fit for purpose efficiently and effectively.

1.2 Senate  

Role, Composition and operation of Senate; functions – content of meetings and involvement of all academic staff

Other Committees

1.3 Delivery Structures 

Functions, powers etc of departments and course leaders.

1.4 External Relationships 

Other institutions –rationale and impact

2 – Academic Strategy

Educational Philosophy – What is it? Rationale?

·        Education and Training – is there a focus on how to use the knowledge that is provided in classes?

·        Core v Electives / General v Specialist

·        Product rationale – content and structure

·        External and internal infusion



Are rationale and structure likely to deliver training appropriate to purpose?

Academic Product 

·        Product variety and output.

·        Delivery modes and models – this includes distance learning and face to face instruction.

·        Input from customers

·        Academic input and feedback from students and from student providers – potential for critique, infusion of new ideas

·        Memoranda of agreements and statements of co-operative intent and impact on academic strategy and practice.

·        Future plans and development


Will content and structure deliver the type of training needed – competence, skills, knowledge and character?


·         Appointment process

·         Desired profiles

·         Succession Planning

·         Ongoing professional training and personal development

·         Review and Assessment

·         Scholarship. Research and Knowledge – Application

·         Full-time and occasional staff

·         Managing occasional staff

·         Role of occasional staff



Are there staff appropriate for the training purposes?

Activity – Teaching and Learning 

·        What are the predominant teaching methods and what is the rationale for them?

·        Teaching versus learning – balance and rationale.

·        Self-learning


·         Methodology and rationale

Is the conduct of the activity in tune with the desired outputs in terms of competences, skills, knowledge and character?


Are we measuring the right outputs?


What constitutes student success?


What constitutes student failure?


Fitness for purpose

Fitness for ministry and for modelling a Christian lifestyle

3- Sustainability
3.1 Resources 

·         Funding

·         Plant –buildings, equipment

·         Staffing levels

3.2 Planning 

·        Vision/ Mission

·        Process of formulation and revision

·        Methodology

·        Staff involvement

·        Customer involvement e.g. Board of Ministry and others

3.3 Management of Risk 

·        Risk Register – major risk and contingency scenarios

·        Funding from official organisations

·        Relationship with Glasgow University

·        Importance of degree for all students?



Are the resources and the way they are used likely to deliver the intended purpose?

How is sustainability sought?

4 – Customer Feedback
Feedback from the primary customer – students
Feedback from the suppliers – the Board of Ministry, FIEC etc
Impact of feedback
Feedback on teaching, learning, assessment and support

Feedback on ethos and culture

Feedback on appropriateness of course to destination