Original Research - Special Collection: The Commercialization and Commodification of Theological Education

Navigating through institutional identity in the context of a transformed United Church of Zambia University College in Zambia

Nelly Mwale, Joseph Chita
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 3 | a4569 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i3.4569 | © 2017 Nelly Mwale, Joseph Chita | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 March 2017 | Published: 04 December 2017

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Nelly Mwale, Department of Religious Studies, University of Zambia, Zambia
Joseph Chita, Department of Religious Studies, University of Zambia, Zambia


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Abstract

The article investigated the rising trend that has not received attention in Zambian scholarship of institutions that started as theological institutions transforming or shifting from the provision of theology only to other disciplines to meet the growing demand for higher education. Using the United Church of Zambia University College (UCZUC) as a case in point, the paper explored how the institution had experienced and repositioned itself in the context of transformation with reference to its identity and diversity from a descriptive case study perspective. Data was collected through document analyses and recorded interviews and informed by secularization of institutions’ theories. The study established that the institution had transformed into a university college and diversified its programmes from theology alone to other disciplines in order to broaden its scope of service in the area of education support to the nation. However, the integration of theology and other secular disciplines in the institution had not only transformed the institutional identity but also diversified the institution, and this required finding a balance between the two. Transformation had also initiated new marketing strategies to sell its products (programmes) to the public. The paper argues that in the context of sustainability challenges associated with theological education, UCZUC presents a potential success story of theological institutions’ quest to maintain viability in modern times through striving for active and intentional integration of sacred and secular (theology with other disciplines) as a contribution to higher education and society.

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