Today, the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit in Leuven opens the academic year 2019-2020 with a new rector, practical theologian and education expert Prof. Dr. Jos de Kock, and with 65 new enrollments. During the festive opening night Jos de Kock will give his inaugural address and be installed as the new rector of the independent faculty.
The ETF Leuven currently has 28 new students enrolled in a program at bachelor level, 31 at master level and 6 for the doctoral program. At this writing registrations are not yet complete. The total number of students for 2019-2020 has grown slightly and is projected to be 221.
In his opening speech, outgoing rector Prof. Dr. Andreas Beck will focus, among other things, on Flemish government negotiations which question the value of religious education: “In a time of diversity, we see an increasing importance of qualitative religious education, including that of protestant evangelical religious education. This education should always engage in open dialogue with church and society. The appointment of practical theologian and pedagogue Jos de Kock as professor and new rector of ETF demonstrates our commitment par excellence. His inaugural address emphasizes the importance of learning in encounter. If religious education gives shape to this form of learning, it not only contributes to the formation of young people in their own tradition, but also to their ability to act justly towards the other and to live together constructively.”
Learning in Encounter
In his inaugural address “Wait a Minute in Stressful Times. A Practical Theological Account of Learning in Encounter”, De Kock will explore the concept of face-to-face learning and its significance as a guide to the practice of religious education, youth work, and the outworking of (practical) theology at ETF as an academic and educational institution. De Kock argues that the empirical reality of the here and now should be viewed as an important source for development of theological reflection. “I consider learning in general and learning in relation to faith in particular pedagogically as a relational process. And theologically I see learning as a phenomenon embedded in the encounter with God and the encounter with others, whoever that other person may be. For religious communities and schools, it is essential literally to create space to share life with ‘the other’,” claims the professor.
About Prof. Dr. Jos de Kock
Jos de Kock (1978) joined ETF Leuven in October 2018 and was appointed professor of Practical Theology on September 1, 2019. He obtained Master’s degrees in Educational Sciences (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Theology (Utrecht University) and obtained his PhD in 2005 with a dissertation entitled: “Arranging Learning Environments for New Learning. Educational Theory, Practical Knowledge, and Everyday Practice” (Radboud University Nijmegen). As a practical theologian, he previously worked as assistant professor at the Protestant Theological University (PThU) (Amsterdam) and its Research Centre for Youth, Church and Culture. As education expert he worked as a lecturer, researcher and advisor for various institutions in Dutch higher education. He is currently a board member of the International Academy of Practical Theology and the Religious Education Association.
Developments at ETF Leuven
Today Prof. Dr. Jos de Kock takes over the rectorate from Prof. Dr. Andreas Beck who will once again function as Academic Dean, with the support of Academic Vice Dean Dr. Maria Verhoeff. Prof. Dr. Aza Goudriaan was recently appointed part-time guest professor of Historical Theology at the ETF Leuven, in addition to his main affiliation at the VU Amsterdam. The appointment of Goudriaan will especially stimulate ongoing development of research in the Institute of Post-Reformation Studies established at ETF, just when Prof. Dr. Antonie Vos finished his work at the ETF in September 2019 due to retirement. The ETF Leuven and PThU Groningen have also jointly recruited Dr. Bosco Bangura as senior researcher giving special attention to the relationship between migration and Christianity in Europe and to intercultural theology. In addition, Dr. Koert van Bekkum was appointed chairman of the Old Testament department, Dr. Dolf te Velde was promoted to associate professor in Historical Theology and Dr. Steven van den Heuvel was appointed assistant professor in Systematic Theology.