Extramural study requires devotion and ongoing dedication. This is so much easier to sustain when you enjoy the process, like a favourite hobby, and when you don't feel alone. After nearly 20 years providing academic correspondence courses in theology, we have learned how to make home study more collegiate, more supportive and more successful for you.
That's why our distance tutors keep in contact with course participants during the whole course process... with ongoing help, comments and encouragement.
The Board are pleased to announce the appointment of Linda Cowan as the new Director for EIDTS. Linda started in this role on 16 May this year.
Linda was born and grew up in Dunedin where her father was Professor of Accounting at the University of Otago. Her family was closely involved in the life of the Presbyterian Church and from a young age Linda attended Sunday School, Busy Bees and the Girls’ Brigade.
After attending Otago Girls High School Linda took a “year out” to work as a volunteer teacher with VSA on the island of Paama in Vanuatu. Linda describes that as a “formative experience”. Paama is a rugged isolated island measuring only 9km by 4km and at that time had little outside contact. At one stage no mail arrived for over 3 months.
Linda returned to Dunedin where she studied History at Otago University. In her final year she took a unit in Education and discovered that she had an aptitude for the subject and a passion for the work. After graduating she worked as a Youth Officer for CORSO before commencing her career in teaching.
Her first appointment was at Burnside High School in Christchurch teaching history and social studies. In a school with 2,500 students Linda was soon given added responsibilities and became a Divisional Tutor. This involved half-time teaching and a half-time pastoral role working with “troubled” students.
In 1981 Linda moved to the Waimate High School as HOD Social Studies. In Waimate she taught in the Sunday School and was a Girls’ Brigade leader. It was here that she was ordained as an elder in the Presbyterian Church and began her “career” as a Lay Preacher.
From Waimate Linda moved to the position of Assistant Principal of the Dunstan High School in Alexandra before being appointed as Principal of Waitaki Girls’ High School in Oamaru in 1994. This was the time of Tomorrow’s Schools, unit standards and the influx of “paying students” from overseas. Linda was involved in marketing the school in Asia and oversaw an expanding number of Pacifica students enrolling at the school.
During her time at Burnside High School Linda also held the role of Canterbury and West Coast Regional Commissioner for the Girls’ Brigade. Later when in Waimate and Alexandra she was Chairperson of the Asia and Pacific Committee of the Girls’Brigade and in her holidays travelled to Malaysia, Singapore and the Cook Islands to train Girls’ Brigade leaders in those countries.
After 13 years as Principal of Waitaki Girls’ Linda resigned and moved to Christchurch where she has been involved inpart-time positions as a learning support tutor at the NZ College of Early Childhood Education and as the Children and Family Worker for the St Stephen’s Presbyterian Parish.
Of her new position with EIDTS Linda says that having completed a Diploma in Theology from the University of Otago by distance learning during her time in Alexandra she is committed to the concept of adult learning and the opportunity to learn from home. She was grateful for the intellectual challenge and stimulation of her own learning and for the opportunities that that gave her. She is attracted by the ecumenical base of EIDTS and the diverse staff and student body. She believes that with the increasing role for lay people in the church it is important that they should be able to access theological education to equip them in that role. Further than that at a time when there is a growing interest in spirituality EIDTS allows people to explore their faith in a mature way and at a time in life when they are looking for that.
Linda says “That’s what I did” and she is excited to be a part of making that possible for others.