This paper briefly explores the social context of religion in Australia since white settlement, to help understand barriers denying theology or religious studies being taught as academic disciplines in public institutions before this millennium. It then gives a brief history of the more recent climate for social and educational change - leading to this new Bachelor of Theology program at Newcastle University. After a brief overview of the University's recent efforts to modernize all academic programs, we reveal key features of this Theology degree - its philosophy, broad interdisciplinary program structure, potential student markets and strategies, and definition of professional characteristics for all Theology graduates. Although we refer to these characteristics as Theological Program Attributes (TPAs), we also show how they must accommodate a wide range of students, their religious affiliations (or none), and their various motivations or interest in the program. The paper then briefly focuses on several key TPAs for their perceived importance in the new degree program, how they are 'taught', and the use of recent higher educational research models to assess levels of student progress in each course. Data from students' evaluation of (feedback on) each Theology course, and grade levels of achievement across courses so far will be presented, and taken to indicate that the BTh reflects best practice in higher education.
7th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities, 2009. Proceedings of the 2009 Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities (Honolulu, HI 9-12 January, 2009) p. 2195-2213