BCU grad's "Religious Teacher" certificate combines education, theology

BCU grad's "Religious Teacher" certificate combines education, theology

Jacob Rosenmeyer

BCU theology/history/education triple major Jacob Rosenmeyer ('15) holds his Teacher of Religion certificate. Behind him are (from left) Dr. Dan Ryan, superintendent of diocesan schools, Beverly Wharton, BCU president; Linda Harrington, associate professor of theology, and Bishop R. Walker Nickless. Photo by Joanne Fox, Catholic Gllobe

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Briar Cliff University recent graduate Jacob Rosenmeyer of Wesley, Iowa, was one of “those” kids.

He LOVED his religion classes at Bishop Garrigan High School in Algona.

That joy Rosenmeyer experienced has translated to the awarding of a Teacher of Religion certificate from the Diocese of Sioux City’s Office of Education and a job at his alma mater [Bishop Garrigan High School in Algona, Iowa].


“This program is a way of training young people ... to engage their students and to pass on our faith to new generations.”

— Dr. Linda Harrington, associate professor of theology


“I started out as a history major,” Rosenmeyer explained. “As I continued in my studies, I knew I would not be happy teaching history. I knew teaching religion would be more fruitful for me.”

According to Linda Harrington, BCU associate professor of theology, the Teacher of Religion certificate program was initiated in 2010 when a BCU theology major wanted to prepare for teaching religion in a Catholic high school.

“But Iowa does not grant a teaching license in religion,” she clarified. “So, he asked if there was a way to combine education courses with his theology courses.”

Briar Cliff worked with the school’s education department and with the education office of the Diocese of Sioux City to develop the program for that student and to put it in place for future students.

BCU theology majors have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the Catholic faith, but with the certificate program, they can teach it as well. To earn the certificate, students do a double major, taking theology courses and education courses, just as if they were working toward a teaching license in any other subject.

Said Harrington: “This program is a way of training young people who are called to teach the skills and the knowledge that they need to teach well, to engage their students and to pass on our faith to new generations.”

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Tags: Theology, Academics, Campus Ministry