Department of Research/Sathri
In 1926, in order to honour the second founder of Serampore College, Dr. George Howells, Senate recommended Council to institute an honorary degree, Doctor of Divinity (D.D). It was in 1934, Senate decided to award Degree of Doctor of Divinity by thesis as well. In 1959, Senate decided that DD degree, awarded on the basis of thesis, be changed to Doctor of Theology (D.Th), and DD be reserved as an honorary degree.
It is interesting to note that the candidates with first or second class BD (Honours) were eligible for registration for this degree. This BD (Hons) course later changed into Master of Theology course form 1948. It is also to note that minimum age of thirty years, with five years of teaching/ministerial experience, or five years after passing BD degree, was prescribed for admission into the course. Candidates were required to do their own research, and submit the thesis for the award of the degree. There were not many who could succeed in their attempts to complete the course as not much help was provided to the students. An attempt was, then, made to make it an residential degree course.
Research Under BTESSC/SATHRI:
With the amalgamation of the Board of Theological Education (BTE), a wing of NCCI, with Senate of Serampore college to form the Board of Theological Education of the Senate of Serampore College (BTESSC) in 1975 with the approval and support of the Council of Serampore College, a new Chapter for research commenced. BTESSC established Indian Theological Research Institute (ITRI) to strengthen doctoral and non-degree research but it could not receive the impetus it deserved. In the eighties the Board and the Senate saw the urgency to establish initially one advanced research centre in the country to develop, co-ordinate and facilitate research at doctoral and non-degree levels emphasising its indigenous and contextual character. A national consultation with the participation of several related Mission Boards from abroad was held in 1987. Intense planning and negotiations thus led to the establishment of the South Asia Theological Research Institute in 1989 at Bangalore. The Research wing of the BTESSC to dealt with promotion of contextualized theological research both at the degree and non-degree levels, faculty development, strengthening centres for research, production of basic tools for theological education and publishing research works. The Research wing of BTESSC has been engaged in promoting the doctoral level study and research for more than three decades with three-fold function:
It co-ordinated and guides formal research at the doctoral level under the guidance of the Committee for Research and with the co-operation of doctoral centres.
It organised programmes that are aimed at strengthening the relationship between theological education and the churches, strengthening inter-disciplinary research and answerability to burning problems of church and society.
It facilitated non-formal researches through consultations, seminars, conferences, symposia and colloquiums and research projects.
As such, it operated as the Research Centre of the BTESSC. As an enabling institute, it facilitated ecumenical links with overseas partners and promotes ecumenical theological education through its academic programmes. Further, by having resource persons drawn from Protestant, Orthodox and Roman Catholic institutions as well as secular universities, it facilitated research programmes in the areas other than what the doctoral centres can offer – such as Social analysis, Christian Liturgy, Christian Education, Homiletics, Women Studies etc.
Department of Research/SATHRI of Serampore College (University)
In view of the development of doctoral centres, since 1999, under Serampore, there arose a need for the review of the role of SATHRI/Research, a wing of BTESSC, located in Bangalore, was taken by the Board and the Senate. In the context of the role of SATHRI within the university, it is asserted that
SATHRI should play the role with the aim of coordinating and stimulating doctoral level research for the community of Serampore College/University, (given the changing scenario in education and research);
the research it promotes also integrally includes questions of pastoral concerns and social relevance.;
SATHRI’s academic programmes should respond positively beyond resorting to complaints and fears about falling academic standards and dilution in scholarship. Such efforts will be envisaged without compromising on issues of rigor, sound scholarship and so on;
The Board and the Senate in 2010 accepted the recommendations and the office of Research/SATHRI moved to Serampore so as to function as the Department of Research/SATHRI under the care of Senate of Serampore College (University), incorporating Research and SATHRI programme of the Senate and BTESSC. The primary task of Department of Research is to strengthen the academic programmes through providing teaching, to conduct research and to participate in the extension education programmes of the Senate. The Committee on Research, under the direction of the Senate of Serampore College (University,) is responsible for the academic affairs, financial matters and administrative arrangement of the Department of Research/SATHRI of the University.
The plans are underway for the construction of a research complex next to the Carey Library in Serampore College Campus. It will have offices, seminar rooms, reference rooms, research scholars rooms for twenty scholars, professor’s office-cum-consultation rooms, accommodation for national professors and scholars. A library cum residential complex will also be a part of this complex under the Council and Senate of Serampore College.
In 1999, Senate decided to de-centralized doctoral programme and recognized a few affiliated colleges that had the capacity, facilities and the infrastructure to develop their own doctoral programme according to the criteria laid down by the Senate of Serampore College as doctoral centres.
Doctor of Theology Programme
Aims, Objectives and Perspectives:
The Doctor of Theology programme of the Senate of Serampore College is an endeavour to promote advanced theological education and the formation and equipment of leadership personnel for the Ministry and Mission of the Church in the world and for the theological education of the Church as a whole. It is believed that a Doctor of Theology should have a creative, comprehensive and critical knowledge of the context and the content of the ministry and mission of the Church in the contemporary religious, social, economic, political and the cultural realities, as it is also envisaged in other theological degrees of the Senate of Serampore College
The main objectives of the Doctor of Theology programme shall be:
to promote critical and creative research in specialized fields of knowledge related to the life, heritage and mission of the Church as well as contextual Christian faith, and to advance the frontiers of knowledge;
to promote the formation of well equipped Christian teachers, leaders, communicators, writers and scholars;
to provide leadership for shaping the self-understanding and structures of the Church, which are relevant for fulfilling its God-given vocation in the world;
to encourage independent and original research using integrated and inter-disciplinary approach in theological education.
The perspectives of D.Th. programmes are essentially those of all theological education and are not limited by the practices and norms of secular universities in India or of institutions abroad. Following are some facets that need to be specially mentioned:
The legitimate aspirations of all people for justice, freedom, dignity and a life worthy of humanity.
The cultural, ideological and religious plurality of our societies.
The ecumenical dimension of all Christian thinking in relation to the unity of the Church, the integrity of creation, unity of faith and sensitivity to all other dimensions of our life – local, regional and global.
The study of Asian languages, cultures, patterns of thought and behaviour.
Department of Research/Sathri,
Faculty of Theology
Serampore College (University)
Mack House Complex
Serampore. WB. 712201
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