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On a mission to learn


When Dr Nicole Archard decided to study for her masters degree she had temporarily moved out of the Catholic school system.

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“I was missing the connection I’d felt within that community and was looking for a way to re-establish it – and to gain a deeper philosophical understanding of the world,” she said.

Dr Archard, now the principal of Loreto College in Adelaide, undertook a Master of Theological Studies with Australian Catholic University (ACU).

“The course at ACU appealed because it covered such a broad range of challenging and thought-provoking topics. It also offered the opportunity of a four-week study tour to religious sites in Israel, Jordan, and Palestine, which was a real drawcard.

“That trip was an outstanding, fascinating experience and it had a profound impact on me. It’s made me engage in a more global debate around religion and politics and given me a far better understanding of how different religions interact.

“I often share stories and insights from my trip about the ways people of different faiths live together, sharing a common humanity.”

Postgraduate theology programs offer opportunities for rich, face to face learning with others, as well as ‘real-time’ online engagement and cross-campus networking. Working professionals in particular are afforded the flexibility to pursue their educational goals while remaining in full-time employment.

“I had the opportunity to learn from experts all over Australia. The lecturers were hugely supportive, and I felt very much a part of the ACU community,” Dr Archard said.

As Australia’s leading Catholic university, ACU is committed to a distinctive perspective on higher education; one that equips its students with the skills and knowledge to engage with the opportunities and challenges of our contemporary world.

“Studying for my masters at ACU provided the impetus for me to return to Catholic education. It’s has been very important to my role here at Loreto, supporting my ability to lead the school in its mission and values,” Dr Archard said.

“Loreto has a 400-year tradition of educating young women to become confident, articulate leaders who are fully equipped to have an impact on the world. That’s something I believe in very passionately and it’s wonderful to be a part of it.”

“I love leading the education of young people – to me, it’s the most important job you can do in the world. Education changes lives, and there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing the face of a child when they overcome a challenge and learn to do something new, or better.”

The largest Catholic university in the English-speaking world, ACU’s 32,000 students are spread over seven campuses across Australia and one in Rome, providing them with the benefits of a national university combined with small campus learning environments.

The university has a long history of producing high quality graduates. Strong links with partner schools and sector organisations give a practical edge to its courses.

Students graduate ready to start or advance their careers in Catholic and other faith-based schools, government and independent schools, and a wide range of early childhood education settings.

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