Information and Technology

Information and Technology

Personal spiritual formation and the acquisition of professional ministry skills are at the heart of the seminary's mission. As the world has moved into an information age, skills in information literacy and technological competence are important for professional ministry. We are doing several things to prepare for ministry in the information age:

Grounding in Information Literacy

A person who is "information literate":

  • Knows when information is needed
  • Knows how to formulate an effective search strategy
  • Knows how to access information
  • Knows how to evaluate information he or she has accessed
  • Knows how to incorporate information into his or her work

Students will find that course objectives will require them to strengthen their general information literacy.

Participation in a Technologically Enriched Environment

A Lilly-Endowment grant has brought new technology resources to the classroom instruction of seminary students. "Smart classrooms" (classrooms equipped with computer projection equipment with full multimedia capability and access to all network and Internet resources) enrich the in-class experience. Course websites and online access to licensed databases and library resources enable ongoing work and vibrant exchanges among students and faculty between class sessions. Faculty members have also strengthened their skills in the effective use of technology in teaching, and students often serve as interns and teaching assistants.

Exposure to Critical Software Tools

Faculty members are committed to orienting students to the critical software tools most relevant to their future ministries: personal-productivity software, Bible-research software, church-management software, and other helpful applications.

Access to Online Licensed Databases

All students have online access to valuable databases for study and research: ATLAS Religion Index, Academic Search Premier, PsycInfo, Sociological Abstracts, ERIC, and Dissertation Abstracts are a few of the more than 50 discipline-specific databases available. Students have access to the full text of the top theological journals of the past 50 years. Students can access these at the library or from home via the Internet through the George Fox University proxy server.

Resources for Advanced Study

Encounters with historical and contemporary texts in theology and religion are an integral part of a seminary education. The Portland Center Library houses 67,000 volumes of the university's 203,000 print-item collection and receives more than 300 periodicals. In addition, a regional consortium provides daily delivery from its combined collections of 27 million items. Interlibrary loans through an international reserve of 65 million items ensure that faculty and students have access to the variety of voices that speak to theological issues.

Participation in Electronically Enhanced Courses

Many of the seminary's courses are "electronically enhanced." A course that is electronically enhanced has a live class period once a week and an interactive website that directs the remainder of the work for the week (between 6 and 7.5 hours). Students at a distance do not need to be in class every day, but can come once or twice a week and do the rest of their work online.

Access to Computer Labs

The Portland Center has a well-equipped computer lab with full software, e-mail, and Internet access. The lab is open six days a week.