Perkins School of Theology has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Cliff College, a Christian theological college in Calver, Derbyshire, in the United Kingdom. After formal approval by Peter K. Moore, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs ad interim, the MOU was signed in a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, April 28, by Perkins Dean Craig Hill and Cliff College Principal, the Rev. Ashley Cooper, and Head of Global Partnerships, the Rev. Andrew Harper.

The agreement provides for collaboration on digital resource creation projects, cultural immersion courses and student and faculty exchanges, as well as internships and post-graduation stationing in The Methodist Church of Great Britain. The UK school also helped facilitate the placement of a Perkins intern at Methodist churches in Derbyshire last fall.

“This agreement formalizes a collaboration between Perkins and Cliff College that is already well underway and fruitful,” said Dean Craig Hill of Perkins. “This is a long-term investment that will provide exciting opportunities for both institutions.”

A key aspect of the MOU is a continuation of the ongoing partnership between Perkins and Cliff College in the creation of digital resources for theological education, including lectures, interviews and lessons, with Cliff College facilitating the development of an online digital resource distribution platform and Perkins facilitating the production of the content. In recent years, Harper has worked with Robert Hunt and Perkins’ Global Theological Education program.

“This has been a long time coming, and we’re very glad at Cliff to be able to have done this remotely,” said Harper. “I think this speaks to the nature of the work we’re doing together – the digital nature of the work – so I think it’s very fitting that this signing has taken place via Zoom.”

Other components of the agreement include:

Cultural Immersion Courses: Through the agreement, Perkins School of Theology and Cliff College will make available to students of both schools organized intercultural immersion courses offered by each school respectively.

Student and Faculty Exchanges: Guest students from Cliff or Perkins may enroll in courses of the host school, subject to approval by the relevant program coordinator. Through the agreement, guest students will remain enrolled as regular degree candidates at their home institutions, with credits toward the student’s degree awarded by the student’s home institution. The host institution will assist in the arrangement of accommodation for the exchange students, with all costs paid by the incoming students. In addition, faculty exchanges may be arranged between the corresponding academic departments of the two institutions.

Internships and Post-Graduation Stationing: The Perkins Intern Program and The Methodist Church of Great Britain together with Cliff College have agreed that a Perkins student may complete their nine-month Master of Divinity Full-Time Internship within locations determined by The Methodist Church of Great Britain. The student will be supported by a committee of church members to meet monthly with the intern for feedback and evaluation. The Perkins Intern Program will sponsor the travel and accommodations for a Mentor Pastor to attend the New Mentor Pastor Institute at Perkins. In addition, Cliff and Perkins will explore the possibility of stationing Perkins alums in the Methodist Church in Britain system.

“We are excited about being in partnership with Perkins and look forward to what that means for the future as we journey together,” said Cooper. “We are eager to be together again face-to-face as soon as this time of isolation is over.”