The public signing of an agreement between the University of Newcastle and the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle today officially recognises the funding support provided by the Diocese to establish the Morpeth Chair of Theology and the Senior Lecturer in Theology.
A Bachelor degree program in theology is being offered by the University of Newcastle, making the University one of just three in New South Wales to offer such a degree.
Dr John McDowell, former Cambridge researcher and current senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, has been appointed the Foundation Morpeth Chair of Theology at the University.
With funding support from the Anglican Diocese, the professorial position will strengthen the knowledge base in the University's theology discipline and provide fresh leadership for the degree program.
Bishop of Newcastle, Dr Brian Farran, said the establishment of such a degree in a public institution had been a long dream of the Diocese beginning with the first Bishop, William Tyrrell and continuing with successive Bishops.
"I am delighted that the Diocese can enable the University to offer a theology degree with a foundational professor with an international reputation," Bishop Farran said.
Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University's Faculty of Education and Arts, Professor Terry Lovat, said the University greatly valued the partnership with the Anglican Diocese.
"Through this partnership allowing for a theology degree to be available, we are are able to foster greater understanding and tolerance of different religions throughout the world."
Today's public signing between Bishop Farran and Vice-Chancellor Nicholas Saunders confirms the Diocese's funding for a five year period.
Photo opportunity: The agreement will be signed in the Vice-Chancellor's meeting room in the Chancellery at the University of Newcastle's Callaghan campus at 1pm.
Bishop Brian Farran is available for interview by contacting Elizabeth Keevers. Professor Terry Lovat is available for interview.