The Early Years
By 1991, Christian Education National recognised that if Christian Education National schools were to retain their distinctiveness, their teachers would need to receive training that reflected the reformational worldview stance of the movement. The new institute, the National Institute for Christian Education, came under the direction of the Christian Education National Board with the National Council of Institutes for Christian Education having oversight of the shape and philosophical perspective of the Institute’s activities. Underwriting financial support for the infant Institute came from Christian Education National.
In 1996, the National Institute for Christian Education worked with ICTE to form the College of Christian Higher Education Inc. (CCHE) for the purposes of obtaining joint accreditation for courses through the NSW Department of Education.
Under the principalship of Dr Doug Blomberg, and aided by Dr Stuart Fowler, and Dr Ian Lambert, Institute student registrations by 1998 had reached over 70 student subjects per annum in CCHE accredited courses with dozens more in non-accredited professional development. Dr Blomberg and Dr Fowler wrote key subjects, with Mr Geoff Wilson, Mr Andrew Schmidt, and Dr Lambert providing strong lecturing support. Teaching predominantly was by distance education.
The Turn of the Century
In January 1999, Dr Richard Edlin was appointed principal of the National Institute for Christian Education. A number of initiatives were introduced leading to a steady increase in enrolments in the accredited courses. Some of the activities in which the Institute was involved were:
- The joint organisation of conferences such as the Transforming Conference (FOCUS) and parent vision conferences
- Inter-organisational scholarly exchanges
- Support of Christian teacher education initiatives in several overseas locations
- Publications of a quarterly professional journal (Christian Teachers Journal), a biennal book and a number of other resources in various formats including MP3 and DVD
The National Institute for Christian Education maintained a vibrant non-accredited short course program that provides biblically authentic professional development to hundreds of teachers, parents, and board members each year across Australia and abroad. Where appropriate, studies completed in these activities can be used to support applications for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or Professional Development Units (PDU) into the accredited courses.
The National Institute for Christian Education, at the request of member schools which have a desperate need for envisioned teachers, embarked on strategic cooperative initiatives with groups such as public universities in Perth and Sydney and private groups such as the Wesley Institute, Macquarie Christian Studies Institute, and the Masters Institute in Auckland to contribute to some undergraduate and pre-service training courses for people interested in teaching in Christian schools.
In 2001, Dr Ken Dickens was appointed as a full-time senior lecturer. From 2003–2007, Dr Rod Thompson undertook a number of roles involving both full-time and part-time lecturing with the Institute. Dr Geoff Beech joined the Institute staff as a part-time lecturer in 2005.
The National Institute for Christian Education became a legal company at the beginning of 2004, to enable it to meet the requirements of an agent under the new NSW DET accreditation/registration regulations as a consequence of the NSW Higher Education Act, 2001. This legal status established a Council as the legal controlling entity of the Institute (a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee) with Christian Education National Ltd as the sole company member.
In 2007, the National Institute for Christian Education began migrating its courses online through a Moodle based online learning portal. Increasingly, the online portal has become the source for such things as student discussion forums, lecturer/student interactions, required readings, and other course materials.
At the end of 2008 Dr Richard Edlin resigned to pursue a private consulting practice. Dr Ken Dickens took over the principalship of the Institute and Prof Geoff Beech became academic dean. Chris Parker also joined the lecturing staff with special responsibilities in strategically considering all forms of online communications including the online learning portal. Dr Charlie Justins joined the Institute as senior lecturer in 2010. Other adjunct lecturers (normally school-based in various locations around Australia) have included Sue Barter, Christina Belcher, Caroline Blake, Melissa Brown, John Denning, Dr Jill Ireland, Dr David Jackson, Dr Charlie Justins, Allan Long, Dr Samson Makhado, Dr Fiona Partridge, Dr Andrew Schmidt, Don Taylor, Geoff Wilson, Dr Lindsay Graieg, Narelle Sketcher, Simon Matthews, David Gray, Peter Muddle, Miriam Lili, Dr Chris Prior, Dr Christine Furner, Dr Christopher Rayner, Linda Hampstead, Jacqui Stok, and Tim Payze.
In 2009 the National Institute for Christian Education strengthened its organic association with Christian Education National by co-locating with the national office and renewed its emphasis on school based professional development. In 2009 the National Institute for Christian Education became a teaching agent of Morling College and subsequently had a third party arrangement with Morling College. David Gray joined the National Institute as Director in 2016 to 2018. In November 2018, the National Institute entered a new third party accreditation arrangement with Alphacrucis College. During 2019 Rev. Dr. Rod Thompson fulfilled the role of Institute Principal with Dr Chris Prior serving as Deputy Principal. During this year Dr Fiona Partridge began serving as Senior Lecturer focusing on student welfare. At the beginning of 2020 Dr Chris Prior began as National Institute Principal.