Educating Ministry Professionals in the Nordic context

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Educating Ministry Professionals in the Nordic context


This conference is a gathering for those who primarily work with pastoral education and the training of other ecclesial professionals in the Nordic countries (Profesjonsprogrammene og relevante masterprogram in Norway, Pastoralseminaret/FUV in Denmark, Utbildningsinstitutet in Sweden, and The Institute for Advanced Training, Finland).

The training of ecclesial professionals varies in the Nordic countries, and it is beneficial to know more about how colleagues in other context go about this task as well as how the structural frames differ from country to country. The aim of the gathering, therefore, is to create a space for colleagues in the Nordic context who work with the training of ecclesial professionals to connect, network, and share experiences. There will be some shorter introductions to topics related to the training of ecclesial professionals followed by conversation and discussion in various forms. 

We hope that the conference can continue the valuable contributions from the former “Nätverket för teologisk utbildning i Norden”, and at the same time constitute a meeting point that fits today’s challenges.

In the days before this conference, MF is also hosting a conference on practice and theology organized by the Nordic Network for Practice and Theology, called Exploring Practices in Theological Research. For more information see

12.12.2018 - 14:00 til 13.12.2018 - 14:00

MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, Oslo
Venue: Gydas vei 4, 0302 OSLO

Registration fee: 500 NOK

Registration form


Key Note abstract

Key Note abstract

Collaborative practices for university teachers - obstacles and potentialities

As teachers in higher education, we have a core obligation to prepare students for future professional lives in positions like priests, deacons or teachers. In both research literature and policy-documents, transformative learning is underscored as an ideal for how teaching should be designed. Transformative learning can be understood as a theory of adult learning that utilizes different – often contrasting – assumptions and expectations to challenge students’ thinking. Students are encouraged to use critical thinking and questioning to consider if their personal underlying assumptions and beliefs about the world are accurate and proper for (professional) actions.

This lecture will not take the perspective of the students, but rather the teachers. I argue that transformative learning should be held as a key premise also for professional development of teachers in higher education. Furthermore, I argue that critical thinking and questioning have a large potential for enhancing transformative learning for university teachers. In that regard, we need arrangements where teachers thinking about designs for learning and their confirmations can be challenged within collaborative teams.

The task of designing constructive learning environments in our society is complex and multi-layered, and it is well documented that the best learning environments for students are those in which teachers collaborate. However, both teaching and supervision are tasks typically enacted by teachers as solo actors. Hence, a key question is how more collaborative practices can be cultivated, in order to support the development of transformative learning for both university teachers and students. This question will be addressed through a discussion of an ongoing project financed by the Norwegian research Council: “Faculty peer-tutoring in teaching and supervision – Innovating teacher collaboration practices in Norwegian higher education” (PETS). The project is about how to improve teaching and supervision in higher education through collaboration. By documenting work in four cases through different phases, we collect a rich, in-depth data set on processes and change. This material will give us the opportunity to learn about collaborative processes on teaching and learning, and to gain insights about obstacles and potentialities in these.


For more information about PETS, see:



12. December

14:00 - Opening: v/Fredrik Saxegaard
                Presentation of participants

14:45 - Coffee break

15:15 - Introduction: The status of higher education of ordained ministry in the Nordic churches, and reflections on the role of theology in cross-disciplinary academic and professional contexts. Introductions on the status of theological education from the different Nordic countries. Roundtable discussions. Panelists: Ulla Morre Bidstrup (DK), Sivert Angel (N), Sini Hulmi (SF), Kenneth Nordgren (S)

17:15 - Coffee break

17:30 - Presentation of two research projects:
               SPOR and PLP (Pastoral Learning in Practice(s)

In this session, two ongoing projects are presented that research the boundary areas of professional education.
SPOR investigates motivation for, and recruitment to, church education and ordained ministry - Astrid Sandsmark
PLP: Pastoral Learning in Practice(s) investigates professional learning processes of recently graduated pastors in the Scandinavian countries during their first three years of ministry - Kirsten Donskov Felter (DK), Jonas Ideström (S), Tone Stangeland Kaufman (N)

18:30 - Dinner

After dinner: time to socialize - feel free to ask a native for good tips!

13. December

08:45 - Coffee

09:00 - Key note: Collaborative practices for university teachers - obstacles and potentialities - Anne Line Wittek.
 For the key note abstract see:

10:45 - Coffee break

11:00 - Educating for ministry in a secular age - Halvard Johannessen

12.00 - Business meeting

13:00 - Lunch