Explore, Develop or Enhance CBTE Programs through CBTE 2023 at CBExchange

The annual gathering on competency-based theological education — CBTE 2023 — will be held during the CBExchange conference, October 3 to 6, 2023, at the Omni Amelia Island Resort in Florida. Registration is open to anyone who would like to learn more about competency-based education (CBE) and CBTE.

CBExchange, an annual conference hosted by the Competency-Based Education Network, is the world’s foremost conference on CBE, where leaders from hundreds of institutions gather to learn how to build and bring to scale high-quality programs. The CBTE track at CBExchange connects theological educators to the broader CBE movement in North America while providing specialized support and guidance to theological schools and agencies exploring, developing, and enhancing competency-based theological education (CBTE). Now in its 6th year, the conference has proven itself an effective place to foster connection and share best practices with like-minded educators and experts in the field, exchanging ideas and strategies to improve the effectiveness, accessibility, and affordability of theological education.

This year the track will be led by a team of five experienced CBTE educators including Greg Henson, Nathan Hitchcock, Julie Lytle, Ruth McGillivray, and Susan Reese. In addition to the 100+ CBExchange conference sessions available to attendees, the track will include a pre-conference Introduction to CBTE workshop, daily CBTE cohort gatherings to discuss shared questions and insights, and featured CBTE sessions on topics including:

  • How commonly held ways of knowing can hinder learners' growth and development
  • Assessing competencies of character and the affective domain
  • Best practices for creating and managing mentor teams in varied contexts
  • A faculty case study on moving from course-based to mentor-based programs
  • Growth, challenges, and observations in the CBTE movement worldwide

The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) is offering scholarship funding for the fifth consecutive year to participants from ATS member schools. Scholarships of $500 toward CBExchange registration and $300 toward conference hotel costs will be awarded to a limited number of participants. Applicants must be employees of an ATS member school, and a maximum of two participants per school may receive scholarships depending on demand. Schools that received Pathways phase 2 or 3 grants may be eligible to receive additional scholarships. More information, along with the scholarship application form, is available on the CBTE website. The application deadline is Friday, June 16, 2023. If you have questions, please contact Ruth McGillivray or Nikki Lanigan here.

More background:

CBE is an approach to learning that emphasizes the mastery of specific skills and knowledge rather than the completion of a certain number of courses or credits. Students progress based on their abilities to demonstrate mastery of a particular skill or set of skills, rather than on the amount of time they spend in a classroom or on the completion of a certain number of assignments. It is a respected model of education that has been utilized in higher education for decades and it has roots in vocational training and apprenticeship. CBTE draws on many of the best practices of CBE, with additional emphasis on holistic formation, mentor-guided learning, and contextualized application and assessment.

Until the last couple of years, CBTE programs were being offered by a very small number of theological schools. However, the landscape is changing as more and more Seminaries and Bible Colleges undertake development and launch of their own programs. Stephen Graham, Strategic Director of Context and Continuity and Director of Accrediting at the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) estimates that as many as 30 ATS seminaries are currently developing or launching CBTE programs, or at least integrating elements of CBE and CBTE into existing programs. Last month, a workshop on CBTE program design was held by the Association of Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) and attended by participants from more than 15 schools preparing to build CBTE programs. The CBTE movement is also positioned for exponential growth as educators throughout the world begin to see its potential for serving populations that do not have ready access to formal theological education. This fall, ICETE, the International Council on Evangelical Theological Education, will lead a consultation that brings qualified people together from around the globe to identify standards and procedures that will harmonize global quality assurance of CBTE. The consultation will also be dealing with micro-credentials (MC) and exploring how both CBTE and MCs can advance and bridge formal theological education and non-formal ministerial training.

Posted May 30, 2023