Following an external review of student experiences, Hillsong College has announced a range of new initiatives as it looks to build on over 30 years of Christian education that has seen thousands of graduates impact the world for Christ.
Executive Vice President Lee Burns said the review has highlighted areas that require updating and improvement, and many changes have already been made.
“We’ve had a great history but it’s time to reset and forge a great future.
“We’ve always said at Hillsong that ‘the best is yet to come’ and this is certainty the case with Hillsong College.”
He said many of the changes focus on student wellbeing, which was the catalyst for commissioning the review.
“When we heard from former and current students that some of their experiences were not as they expected we took this very seriously and immediately reached out to as many as we could for their feedback.”
The leadership team made the decision to undertake an external review and commissioned respected legal firm HWL Ebsworth.
The result is a number of positive reforms, and the college has communicated these in correspondence to students who were part of the process.
While the review noted that students believed many of the practices and protocols were being performed well, the focus was on areas that could be improved.
In a letter to students the college said it is firmly committed to maintaining a safe and effective environment in order to raise, equip, empower and release the next generation of Christian leaders.
A key innovation is the establishment of a student representative council, with elected and appointed student representatives to facilitate ongoing communication of key areas of concern for the student body.
Key minority stakeholder representatives will also be appointed “in order to reaffirm our commitment to diversity and equality.”
The college is also implementing a new harassment, unlawful discrimination and sexual misconduct policy and procedure, and more defined complaints mechanisms and appeals processes.
There will be a greater focus on pastoral care, while the scope and scale of practicum hours for students will be reviewed and clarified for future students.
Lee said he is thankful for the students who shared their concerns, even ones that had negative experiences.
“Sometimes it’s hard to hear that not everyone viewed their college experience the same way, and to those alumni whose experience didn’t meet their expectations, our message is that we are sorry, we are still here for you and will support you if you reach out to us.”
Hillsong College has seen over 14,000 students graduate from more than 70 nations, many who are today involved in ministry and church leadership across the world.
“It’s humbling to think of the impact this college has had on the world.
“Together, with our amazing staff, students and former students who continue to be part of our wider family, we are looking forward to a new era of building the church and impacting the world.”