King's and ICS to begin affiliation discussion
For years, there has been talk about affiliating two Canadian institutions in the Reformed tradition: The Institute for Christian Studies (ICS) and The King's University. King's and ICS signed a Memorandum of Understanding on September 30 at the Board of Governor's twice-yearly meeting at King’s.
"It's been a long process getting to where we're at, which is the very beginning," said King's President Dr. Melanie Humphreys. "ICS operates under a Legislative Act in Ontario and we operate under an Act in Alberta, and it's important that we maintain both of these."
The two institutions have a vision for accomplishing something bigger than either can accomplish on their own – a Canadian Christian university in the Reformed tradition offering both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The initial scope of discussion includes the development of conjoint degrees, a financial agreement, and a study of governance structures that may need to happen in order to give full effect and meaning to an affiliation. This would also contribute to King's vision for a centre for Christian thought and action, a goal in the university's strategic plan, Shared Vision 2020.
Outgoing ICS President Dr. Doug Blomberg initiated conversations some time ago to bring the two institutions together and affirms that he is "deeply grateful for this outcome."
"Our institutions align ideologically quite well, and it's very exciting to envision what our affiliation could become, including imagining how it might extend our shared mission in Christian higher education," said Dr. Ronald Kuipers, new provost at ICS.
"We have a lot of questions to answer and work to do in figuring out what will allow us both to benefit and build capacity," said Humphreys. "This is just the beginning of exploring what we can do to advance both our missions programmatically."
In the upcoming year, King's and ICS will set timelines and processes in motion to be able to realize this vision.
This article is being jointly published in both Connection and Perspectives magazines.