Institute for Church Life expands distance learning program

Author: Dennis Brown

An expanded selection of STEP eCourses will be offered in 2001-02 by the Institute for Church Life (ICL) at the University of Notre Dame, beginning Oct. 22 (Monday) with “The American Catholic Experience,” taught by Jay Dolan, professor of history, and “Introduction to Sacraments,” taught by Rev. Joseph Weiss, S.J., acting director of the University’s Center for Pastoral Liturgy

STEP (Satellite Theological Education Program) is a distance-learning initiative that provides quality instruction to pastoral ministers and other adult Catholics across the United States. The six-week courses are available through the ICL’s Web site and feature Notre Dame faculty who provide instruction, reading materials, syllabi, and course study requirements. Participants receive a certificate of completion upon the conclusion of each course.

“This is an exciting initiative that furthers the mission of Notre Dame,” said STEP director Thomas Cummings. “By placing the theological, pedagogical, and technological resources of Notre Dame at service to the broader Church, we are able to assist in the faith formation of adults from dioceses and parishes across the country.”p. After a successful pilot year in which three eCourses were offered during 2000-01, STEP has expanded to six courses this year. In addition to the two starting in October, two courses will begin in January ? “An Introduction to the Letters of St. Paul,” taught by Rev. Jerome Neyrey, S.J., professor of theology, and “Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Christian Life,” to be taught Father Weiss ? and two more will begin in March ? “The Christian Conscience and Ethical Dilemmas: Guidance from the Catholic Tradition,” to be taught by Maura Ryan, associate professor of theology, and “From Proclamation to Scripture: An Introduction to Biblical Literary Forms in the Gospels,” taught by Rev. Michael Driscoll, C.S.C., associate professor of theology.

In the future, STEP organizers plan to offer multiple course components in different theological subjects that students may use as continuing education for their ministry or as adult education for their edification and faith development.

More information is available on the ICL Web site.

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