Trinity Western University’s School of Education Is On the Move
SCSBC and the TWU School of Education have enjoyed a long and constructive working relationship, despite our locations on opposite sides of the TWU campus. The move of the School of Education into the Northwest Building has provided an opportunity to explore a concurrent move by SCSBC to bring our two organizations into closer proximity, thereby enhancing opportunities to collaborate. At the time of publication, discussions pertaining to this move are progressing well.
God is full of miracles. With an upcoming move to a renovated building on
TWU’s Langley campus in September 2021—one that includes a potentially new shared location with SCSBC—the School of Education is reflecting a lot on the miracles it has witnessed.
The School of Education at Trinity Western University is, in and of itself, a miracle. It is the only faith-based Teacher Education Program in the province and has a reputation for developing extraordinary teachers for both public and independent school systems. Our Professional Year Program emerged after a difficult legal challenge in 2001 about whether devout Christian teachers could be trusted to support all students, including those from the LGBTQ+ community. The result was that both the public and private sectors recognized the value of the Christian worldview in teacher preparation. Miracle #1: we exist – and a secular society found a place for our Christian Teacher Education Program and our vision to develop excellent teachers for BC schools.
Since 2001, TWU’s School of Education has been able to award the Bachelor of Education degree and full BC teaching certification. As such, there are more than 750 teachers in the province, across Canada, and around the world, who were prepared and educated at Trinity. That is 750 miracles: 750 people who felt a call to teach and who came to Trinity Western University for their preparation for the classroom. Such impact is being felt in the many lives of the children and youth that our graduates have influenced.
Our symbol since 2012 has been a green apple. Why? The traditional gift of an apple for the teacher seems to have been particularly associated with the first day of school in September which is also apple harvest time. Apples were seen as an acceptable “payment in kind” from parents across rural North America who were unable to afford the school fees. This was particularly adopted in Canada during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Learning is also associated with the apple: “A” stands for apple when learning the ABCs. Apples are a positive, easily recognizable emblem of teaching.
There are many red apples (thousands of varieties) but only three are green. The green apple is extra special. They are popular in both classic and contemporary art to symbolize the divine, the rare, and the mysterious—something exceptional and wonderful. A green apple is a special apple. We offer a special kind of teacher education for a special kind of teacher.
Before the pandemic, the School of Education experienced significant numerical growth; the incoming class grew from approximately 40 – 50 students in 2010 to some 100 today. Applicants to our two-year post-degree program have also increased from approximately 25 to 130 applicants this year. Surprisingly, the pandemic has done little to hamper this growth. We have met the challenges of covid-19 by moving courses online while still offering in-school practicum experiences. This is another miracle: TWU’s School of Education is thriving during very difficult times.
To watch what God has done and how God has used us to impact education in BC has been a steady marvel. And now, on our 20th anniversary we are witnessing another miracle. We are moving! The School of Education has been located in the Vernon Strombeck Centre, on the edge of campus, where the original TWU library was located, for many, many years even before the full B. Ed. Program was offered. But now, we have simply outgrown it. We are movng to TWU’s Northwest Building on the other side of campus, where the Northwest Seminary once lived. Renovations will happen over the summer of 2021 and we will move in September. The change of surroundings will be significant.
The number of classrooms will more than double our capacity and increase our office space—this will allow us to bring together various education-
related departments, including the Society of Christian Schools in BC (SCSBC). We are delighted about this merging of location and look forward to more collaboration, connection, and synergy with BC Christian schools. The closer connection will open up opportunity for a very special partnership with SCSBC—one which can serve to magnify the impact of Christian education. This is another miracle: together, we can form a larger, more comprehensive centre for our shared work. We educate new teachers and SCSBC supports them. What a wonderful relationship!
Once we are settled, we look forward to welcoming educators into our new space and celebrating together God’s work through the School of Education. We have much to celebrate: we are living the days of miracles and wonder. Enjoy a green apple today!
Dean, TWU School of Education