Announcement Concerning the Merger Proceeding

Morling-Vose Merger Proceeding

On Saturday October 24, 2020 the Assembly of the Baptist Churches of Western Australia voted unanimously to approve the merger of Vose Seminary and Morling College by authorising the BCWA Council to complete the legal work required for the merger to take place. As a result, from January 1st, 2021 the Seminary will formally become the Vose Campus of Morling College.

What impact will this merger have for Vose students?

It is our sincere belief that the merger will prove to be very beneficial for our present and future student body. Teaching and learning will continue at the Vose Campus in the same way as it always has. But students will also find that they have access to a wider range of units in all the disciplines we offer, and to a broader cohort of supervisors for those undertaking research projects or research degrees. Other benefits will include an enhanced library collection—especially eBooks, as well as access to the recently announced scholarship programme which is open to all Morling-Vose students.

Morling College also offers two degree programmes in disciplines other than theology: in Education, and in Counselling, Chaplaincy, and Spiritual Care. We hope that in coming years these programmes might be offered through the Perth Campus as well.

You will notice some administrative changes

All Vose Higher Ed students are enrolled as Australian College of Theology students, studying at Vose Seminary. This will change in the new year so that your enrolment will be as an ACT student studying at Morling College (Vose campus).

Some other things such as our Moodle platform or library catalogues will change as we integrate the operation of the two colleges. There is a massive amount of work to be done here and the relevant teams have already been working very diligently to ensure that the integration will be as smooth as possible.

We anticipate that VET students will also become part of the Morling family, although this will occur later in 2021—we are staggering the merger in order to make the workload more manageable. The Vose VET programme is operated by Vose independently of the ACT, and so VET students should not notice any appreciable difference to their study programme in semester 1, 2021.

There is a significant personnel change

Dr Brian Harris has been Principal of Vose Seminary for seventeen years, and in that time has led the Seminary in a prolonged season of development and growth. His contribution to the Seminary, to theological education in Australia as a whole, and to the church at large, has been an extraordinary gift of God to those of us privileged to study or work at Vose during his tenure. Brian had intended to retire from his position at the end of 2021, but given the merger is happening now, Brian has brought his retirement plans forward by one year.

Of course, Brian is not really retiring, although he is relinquishing his position as Principal. The good news is that Brian will continue to be a part of the Vose faculty in a part time capacity and continue to teach several units each year. Those of you who have been the recipients of Brian’s teaching will agree that this is a blessing for the Seminary.

From January 2021 the Principal of Morling College—both Sydney and Perth—will be Dr Ross Clifford. A Campus Dean has been appointed for the Vose Campus—Dr Michael O’Neil, who will take up his new role from January 1st. Michael has been part of Vose for over a decade and is currently the head of both our Department of Christian Thought and History, and of Vose Research. Michael is a popular lecturer, and a highly respected theologian. He was the Senior Pastor of Lesmurdie Baptist Church prior to starting at Vose, and his warm pastoral manner coupled with his academic credibility make him ideal for this role.

It is inevitable that some staff restructuring will occur in the New Year as we settle into being a national college. Some staff will find that they have a role in the national organisation, while other staff will continue to operate primarily in the Vose Campus. We are hopeful, however, that this will all occur behind the scenes, and will not impact largely on student experience.

Next Steps…

Now that this merger has been approved the momentum toward the integration of our two colleges will increase. In the meantime, what should students do?

  1. First, the best thing you can do is finish this semester well! Continue your hard work to finish this semester strongly and in a manner in which you can be proud of. We really hope that this news will not distract you from this primary task!
  2. Come speak to us if you have any questions, concerns, or anxieties about the merger and what it means for your study programme.
  3. Please pray for the Morling-Vose staff as they work through the many details large and small involved in this merger. No doubt many little things will continue to arise even after January 1st, and we desire your prayerful support that God’s grace and wisdom will equip us to do all required for a smooth transition to the 2021 academic year.
  4. Please be patient if you do notice something does not work and do also let us know.
  5. Finally, if you have not yet explored the possibility of applying for one of the recently announced scholarships, why not do it now at:
    If you don’t apply you definitely will not get one; if you do qualify and apply, perhaps you might!
  6. Celebrate and share in the many new opportunities this merger will open.

Thank you for reading this long announcement.

Brian Harris & Michael O’Neil
October 26, 2020


You can view the original Merger Announcement here.