October 14, 2008 Manila, Philippines Megan Brauner and Ansel Oliver/ANN
Seventh-day Adventist world church officers approved several education proposals during an October 14 business session, including an initiative to promote and fund research, as well as a policy change delegating education oversight to local administrations.
Encouraging scholarly research will positively affect church members and others around the world, said leaders meeting at the Philippines International Convention Center in Manila, Philippines.
"Adventist scholars should be leaders in identifying solutions to the world's problems," Ella Simmons, a general vice president for the Adventist Church, told the church's Executive Committee of some 300 delegates before their approval.
"This initiative will help decision makers at all levels of the church to make wise, informed decisions from the data collected," Simmons said.
The awards initiative is the first of its kind in the church, offering Adventist researchers the opportunity to receive funding for topics relating to life, health, education and spirituality. The two categories for awards are doctoral degree scholarships and Adventist research grants.
The awards will vary in size on a project-by-project basis. Specific areas for research and study priorities will be indentified and published annually.
"This is a possibility we [as a church] never had available to us before," said Garland Dulan, Education director for the Adventist Church.
The denomination's Archives and Statistics Web site could serve as a host for research results, said department director Bert Haloviak, responding to concerns that existing research is not accessible or well known.
"Many times the church engages in activities for which we have very little information," Dulan said.
The Executive Committee also voted a policy amendment allowing local church regions to adjust their undergraduate education programs.
The world church will now grant authority to each of the 13 world regions that maintain required standards to add, revise and close school programs at the undergraduate level.
"We're decentralizing some authority while still maintaining unity within church education structures," Simmons said. "This is possible because of the developing maturity of educational structures within [world regions]."
The new policy can aid schools in countries whose governments mandate inside accreditation and decrease time required for approval in program changes. It allows flexibility as the number of schools and programs increase.
There are now twice as many Adventist colleges and universities as in the mid-1980s.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/1075