Southern Methodist University, on behalf of Perkins School of Theology, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bishop Han Theological School (BHTS) in Mindanao, Philippines, to promote collaboration and intercultural activities among theology faculty and students from the two institutions.
Beginning in the spring 2020 semester, the two theology schools will allow master’s-level students from each school to enroll in courses in the other school for credit without registering for a degree program in the host school.
“We’re excited about the possibilities this agreement offers for our students to learn in a global context while pursuing a master’s degree at Perkins, as well as to involve students from BHTS in our classrooms,” said Craig C. Hill, Dean of Perkins School of Theology.
The MOU was signed on December 3 in Kirby Parlor at Perkins. Signing on behalf of Perkins was Dean Hill and for SMU, Peter K. Moore, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, ad interim.
Representatives of BHTS present for the ceremony included the two signatories, Dr. Arnaldo Ladia Estrella, Dean; and Dr. Han Sang Ho, President and Senior Pastor of Jooan Methodist Church in Incheon, South Korea. Also on hand were Dr. Sang Ho’s wife, Mrs. Hwang Young-Ok; the Rev. Lee Chang-Sun, missionary and representative of the Jooan Church at BHTS (who served as translator); and Dr. David Upp, Perkins alum (M.Th. ’80, D.Min. ’91) and professor at Bishop Han Theological Seminary and Conference Missionary from the Great Plains Annual Conference, UMC.
The MOU provides for guest students from either BHTS or Perkins to enroll in courses of the host school, with the advance counsel and approval of the relevant course/program coordinator. Guest students will remain enrolled as regular degree candidates at their home institutions. In addition, faculty exchanges of short duration may be arranged to encourage global collaboration and intercultural instruction.
BHTS and Perkins have collaborated before, as part of the Global Theological Education project, headed by Perkins’ Robert Hunt. Hunt traveled in June 2019 to the campus of Wesleyan College of Manila in the Philippines, where he collaborated with Filipino scholars to record the first batch of classes for online sharing; BHTS Dean Estrella is one of the Virtual Visiting Professors featured on the website as a result.