More Information
ISBN: 9781783683185
Imprint: Langham Global Library
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 13
Publication Date: 14/10/2017
Pages: 238
Series: ICETE Series
Language: English

Transitioning from a Theological College to a Christian University

A Multi-Case Study in the East African Context


The decision for ministerial training institutions to become broader educational institutions that offer courses outside the traditional areas of theology is certainly not unique to a specific geographical context. While there are many examples of notable institutions making this transition in North America and Europe, very little reflection has been carried out in the global south.
In this book, Dr Semeon Mulatu looks to institutions in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo that have completed or embarked upon the journey to university status. The study explores the motivations of educational leaders in pursuing such a transition, as well as the impact it has had or will have on the continued theological education and Christian mission of the institution. Here you will find answers to key questions such as:

  • What is lost and gained by a seminary becoming a university?
  • What are the challenges along the road?
  • Is it all worth it in the end?

Author Bios

Semeon Mulatu

SEMEON MULATU has a PhD in Leadership from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kentucky, USA. He is Principal at Evangelical Theological College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the second time, and has also been Assistant Principal, Dean of Students and a Lecturer. He has been involved in theological education for nearly twenty-five years but his background was originally in Mathematics. Semeon is also currently Chairman of the Elders Board at Mekanissa Kale Heywot Church.


A timely and relevant resource to guide numerous institutions into an informed engagement of this exciting, challenging and enriching process of transitioning into the university status.

Rev Emmanuel Chemengich, DMin
Executive Director,
Association for Christian Theological Education inAfrica (ACTEA)

Essential reading for those who wish a better understanding of this very important phenomenon in Christian higher education.

Scott Cunningham, PhD
Interim President and CEO, Overseas Council

The important trend of recent years for theological colleges in Africa to transition to Christian universities is here provided with a pioneering research study. Semeon Mulatu has elegantly surfaced the core issues and patternsrelevant to assessment of this trend.

Paul Bowers
Managing Editor, BookNotes for Africa
Former International Director,
International Council for Evangelical Theological Education

[This] is an important work for all theological education institutions, not only in Eastern Africa, but all of Africa and beyond. Indeed, even for Christian universities, working through the issues that Mulatu raises would be a good investment of time on their behalf. I thoroughly recommend the work to all theological education institutions of whatever ilk.

Roger Kemp
Deputy Director, International Council for Evangelical Theological
Education (ICETE)

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. List of Tables and Figures
  3. List of Abbreviations

  4. 1 – Introduction
    1. Christian Higher Education in Africa
    2. Research Purpose
    3. Delimitations of the Study
    4. Research Questions
    5. Terminology
    6. Procedural Overview
    7. Research Assumptions
  5. 2 – Precedent Literature
    1. Biblical-Theological Foundations
    2. What Makes Higher Education Distinctly Christian?
    3. The Role and Purpose of Christian Higher Education
    4. Threats of Secularization
    5. Higher Education in Africa
    6. Church-Affiliated Higher-Educational Institutes in Africa
    7. Conclusion
  6. 3 – Methodological Design
    1. Research Questions Synopsis
    2. Design Overview
    3. Population
    4. Sample and Sampling Technique
    5. Delimitations of the Sample
    6. Limitations of Generalization
    7. Instrumentation
    8. Procedures
  7. 4 – Analysis of Findings
    1. Compilation Protocol
    2. Findings and Displays
    3. Mekane Yesus Seminary
    4. Africa International University
    5. St Paul’s University
    6. Uganda Christian University
    7. Shalom University of Bunia
    8. Evaluation of the Research Design
  8. 5 – Conclusion
    1. Research Purpose
    2. Research Questions
    3. Reasons for the Transition
    4. External and Internal Challenges
    5. Effects of the Transition on the Mission
    6. Effects of the Transition on the Relationship with Churches
    7. Effects of the Transitions on the Theology Program
    8. Research Implications
    9. Research Applications
    10. Research Limitations
    11. Further Research

  9. Appendix 1: Semi-structured Interview Questions
  10. Appendix 2: Expert Panel Selection

  11. Reference List

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