Doug Blomberg and I were both students at the Institute for Christian Studies in the mid-70s, I first ‘met’ him in the pages of his University of Sydney doctoral thesis, after I came to share his interest in philosophy of Education. It was a heavy tome with an even weightier title: The Development of Curriculum with Relation to the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea. In plain language, Doug’s thesis explored the implications, for Education and Christian schooling, of the branch of Christian philosophy that has animated ICS since its founding. This project signaled not only Doug’s capacity for serious Christian reflection, but also marked him as a potential candidate for a faculty position at ICS. Little did I know that 20 years later I would have the privilege of welcoming Doug to ICS to fill the vacancy in Philosophy of Education created by my move into the president’s office.
What stands out in my experience of Doug over the years is his unwavering commitment to the project of developing an integrally Christian understanding of education or, in his words, “how schools might be restructured to better reflect God’s purposes for our lives.” How else do you explain his willingness, supported by Heather, to uproot from family and familiar surroundings in Australia to come to ICS, first as a visiting professor with few guarantees of a secure position? Doug has applied his talents to his project with dogged determination, and God has blessed his efforts richly, as his important books and other publications attest.
Academics who recognize that “administration” is actually “educational leadership” are few and far between.
Another outstanding feature of Doug’s career is his gravitation to positions of institutional leadership. At Mount Evelyn Christian School he became a vice-principal. At the National Institute for Christian Education he served as Principal and developed a masters-level distance-based degree program, before distance learning became a ‘big thing’. At ICS his academic leadership was recognized in his appointment, in 2011, as Academic Dean. In the university world “administration” is often regarded as a necessary nuisance. Academics who recognize that “administration” is actually “educational leadership” are few and far between. Doug Blomberg is such an academic; his appointment as ICS President is fully consistent with the trajectory of his career and capitalizes on the gifts recognized by various institutions along the way.
Doug describes ICS as his “spiritual home” because it “opened the Bible… as the good news of Christ’s comprehensive and radical sacrifice and rule.” It is fitting that this dedicated educational leader has now become the chief steward of his spiritual home. May God richly prosper ICS under Doug’s leadership and enable it to flourish.
September 2014 >