Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GRE) will offer six new continuing education courses in adult faith formation, as part of a groundbreaking collaboration with the Archdiocese of New York.

“This is one of the first collaborations at this time between a major Catholic university and an archdiocese to produce these kinds of online classes, and it’s something that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been encouraging bishops and universities to do,” said C. Colt Anderson, Ph.D., dean of the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education.

The adult faith formation curriculum at Fordham is geared toward employees of the diocese, catechists, and lay leaders who are already working in some capacity with the church or ministry, said Anderson.

The online program consists of six courses— Introduction to Catholicism, Understanding the Creed, Understanding the Holy Scripture, Unveiling the Sacraments, Moral and Social Teaching, and Trinity and Christology—all of which were reviewed and approved by Anderson and the Archdiocese of New York’s Office of Adult Faith Formation. Each course runs for approximately six weeks, but the University plans to offer two courses for the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

“The courses are not just one long, continuous talking head video or audio,” said Anderson. “Instead, each lecture is about 7 to 12 minutes long, which means that students can participate at whatever rate they want. They can choose one lecture a day or do them all at once. It gives them maximum flexibility.”

The program will begin on Feb. 6 with an introductory course on Catholicism that aims to help participants recognize the connection between their lives as Catholics and a God who uses history as a form of communication.

By working with the Archdiocese of New York, the GRE hopes to help the diocese expand its reach and better communicate the teachings of the Catholic Faith to its community.

“It’s part of an initiative to meet the Jesuit mission of serving the local church,” said Anderson. “We’re trying to produce these courses in a way that speaks to the broad range of Catholics in the church around issues like unity, but we’re also making a new effort to communicate matters of faith in a way that postmodern people might be able to hear.”