To all students
Every 6 years Theological Education Institutions within the oversight of the Church of England and the Methodist Church undergo a process called a Periodic External Review (PER). Our PER will take place this term. Staff have been busy preparing information and material for reviewers who will engage carefully with this alongside a visit to Queen’s this month. The PER includes two processes:
i) Durham University will be paying particular attention to the
Common Awards programmes and pathways we offer, with a view to re-validating
these for the next 5 years. A team consisting of Alyson Bird and Frances
Clemson will visit on Monday 21st October, to meet with academic and
registry staff as well as with some students.
ii) The Church of England and the
Methodist Church will pay attention to all aspects of learning and formation
for the Churches’ ministries – for ministerial candidates and for
Readers. A team of four will visit a range of activities, focusing on the
period Tuesday to Thursday 22nd – 24th October, and the
preceding residential weekend for first year ministerial candidates and
Lichfield Readers. The team consists of two Methodist reviewers – Philip
Luscombe and Christine Jones – and two Anglican reviewers – Nick Moir and Sue
Waterston. Christine Jones will also join the Durham team on Monday to
connect the two processes. The team is co-chaired by Philip and Nick to
ensure the review engages fully with both our sponsoring churches. The
review focuses on the learning and formation we offer to prepare people for
public ministries: for the Church of England this means Ordinands and Readers;
for the Methodist Church it means student ministers and probationers.
Although reviewers will be interested in other activities and other students,
they do not report on them.
During the PER, reviewers will be
observing a range of activities. They may be in classes, in various meetings, in
chapel, in the dining room and the Common Room. They will meet with a
sample of students on the 21st and 22nd but they realise
that this can’t include everyone. Their job is to report on Queen’s, not
on you. They will be assuring the sponsoring churches about the quality
of the teaching, learning and formation we provide, identifying strengths and
making recommendations for improvement.
Though they are not reporting on you, they will be talking with you and observing you, so what
you say and do will inform how they see Queen’s. Being observed can be an
uncomfortable experience, and this may be most pronounced in chapel or in
classes. Insofar as it is possible you should ignore their presence, and
in classes they are meant only to observe, not participate. Because PER
is a serious process, with a report that is public and scrutinised by the
Churches, I ask you to engage with reviewers thoughtfully and openly.
The report is likely to be
published in the new year and we will of course share this with you.