In Canada, provincial governments have jurisdiction over higher education and the granting of academic degrees. The Institute for Christian Studies operates under a charter granted by the Ontario Legislature in the Institute for Christian Studies Act, 1983 (amended in 1992 and 2005).
ICS is an affiliate member of the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto. ICS courses are crosslisted with the University of Toronto, ICS faculty members are crossappointed, ICS library holdings are available to University of Toronto students, and ICS students can access University of Toronto libraries.
Organisation and Governance
The institutional life of ICS encompasses everything from such obvious matters as curriculum and assessment to such intangibles as community life and celebratory occasions such as Convocation. ICS insists on the involvement of Junior and Senior Members alike in its planning and decision-making, under the oversight of the Senate and Board of Trustees.
The original model for ICS was the Central Interfaculty of the VU (Free University of Amsterdam), an interdisciplinary philosophy department in which the foundations of the special disciplines were to be investigated. ICS operates with the understanding that all academic disciplines are embedded in philosophical perspectives on the nature of the world and how we come to know it reliably. Since such perspectives are rooted in religious convictions and commitments, scholarship is neither philosophically nor religiously neutral with respect to basic questions concerning the origin and coherence of meaning. This understanding remains at the core of ICS today, enabling teaching and research to focus on foundational issues from a reformational Christian perspective.
An Academic Council, composed of students, faculty, and administrators, meets regularly to consider and act upon the advice of several working committees. These include the Educational Policy, Enrolment Development, Special Events, Community Life, and Professional Status Committees. The Academic Council is responsible, in turn, to the Senate of ICS. The Senate, which meets twice yearly, includes internal and external members. The latter, sympathetic to the mission of ICS, bring to bear the wisdom of scholars whose experience in other institutions, both public and private, makes them well placed to offer sage counsel. Similarly, members of the ICS Board of Trustees represent different geographic regions and also support the mission of ICS.