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Following the tremendous response to the first annual conference on competency-based theological education (CBTE) held last November in Vancouver, British Columbia, plans for the second annual CBTE conference are well underway. CBTE 2019 will be held in partnership with the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), as a specialized track at CBExchange 2019 on Oct 22-25, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells in Palm Springs, California. Participants will be able to attend one conference and get the benefit of two.

Last year’s inaugural conference, CBTE 2018, was organized by Northwest Baptist Seminary and was funded in part by an innovation grant from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) through the Educational Models and Practices project. As the first event of its kind, the focus was on awareness of CBTE as an educational model, and the conference offered the opportunity to hear from multiple leaders who advocate for CBTE. 

This year, CBTE 2019 is being organized by the newly formed CBTE Advocacy Group, a broader, more diverse group led by representatives from the In Trust CenterATS, the Association for Biblical Higher EducationC-BENLexington Theological SeminaryGrace SeminarySioux Falls Seminary, and Northwest Baptist Seminary. The group’s purpose is to advocate for and explore CBTE as an educational philosophy and facilitate education on CBTE. As a result, this year’s conference will take a different approach.

At CBTE 2019, theological educators will learn alongside their peers in other disciplines about the latest developments in competency-based education from top experts in the field, and then gather periodically throughout the conference to share ideas and discuss common and unique aspects of the theological context. CBTE-specific breakout sessions will also be offered on topics including:

  • CBTE as an educational philosophy, and what makes it distinct from CBE.

  • Diverse program delivery models utilizing the CBTE philosophy.

  • Accreditation issues or concerns.

  • CBTE program development and implementation.

  • CBTE curriculum development workshops.

  • Faculty and mentor roles and models in CBTE program development and delivery.

  • Leadership and administration roles and responsibilities in CBTE program implementation.

CBTE 2019 is an opportunity for theological educators to gather as peers and explore one of the most exciting innovations in theological education in decades. ATS, through the Educational Models and Practices project, is supporting this event by subsidizing the cost for representatives from ATS schools to attend.

The first 25 ATS schools to register will be given a discount code for $500 off the CBExchange registration fee (one per school). For maximum cost savings, make sure you register prior to the Early Bird registration deadline of June 1, 2019. If you would like to take advantage of the ATS discount code, please contact Ruth McGillivray at

For more information, visit

Blog post written by Ruth McGillivray, Chief Innovation Officer at Northwest Baptist Seminary. 

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