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Master Degree Recognized for Villa Aurora



Florence, Italy. On the 30th of November 2010, the Minister of Education signed the decree that positively concludes the process of recognition of the theology degrees of the Istituto Avventista di Cultura Biblica, which is the legal name of the Italian Adventist College „Villa Aurora“, Florence, Italy. Already on the 8th of June 2009, the Italian Parliament approved the Act No. 67 which recognized the degrees awarded by the Istituto. However, to give effect to this Act, it was necessary to have an implementing decree, and last November this decree was signed.

“The decree has very positive aspects”, said Dr. Tiziano Rimoldi, the Istituto’s Principal.  

Firstly, the decree recognizes two types of degrees: 1. a first level degree (three years), the „Laurea in Teologia“ (equivalent to a B.A. in Theology) with 180 credits; 2. a second level degree (after the Laurea in Teologia, two years), the „Laurea Magistrale in Teologia“ (equivalent to a M.A. in Theology) with 120 credits.

Secondly, the decree gives specific recognition to the theological education, mentioning explicitly in the Act the Theology Faculty with its two degree courses that are currently active, such as "Family Pastoral Care" and "Religion, Law and Society."

“With this decree, each student holding a degree from our Istituto can apply for state recognition from the Minister of Education” said Dr. Rimoldi. “Recognition implies that the degree is considered equivalent to a degree released by a state university”.

The Instituto envisions new academic objectives as well as scientific and cultural proposals. What a challenge! Dr. Rimodi is aware of this and replies:  “Ellen G. White recommended to our Schools of Medicine to “be placed in the most favourable position for qualifying our youth to meet the entrance requirements specified by the state laws regarding medical students” (Counsels To Teachers, p. 479). According to this inspired advise, the Adventist educational system has wisely chosen to implement the policy to have the State recognition, whenever possible, also for other kind of degrees, including theology, while safeguarding a complete denominational autonomy within our programs, courses, faculties, and Christian behavioural standards on the campus, which corresponds to our situation.”(Article 14 of the general agreement signed between the Italian Adventist Church and the Italian State in 1988 declares: “The management and the bylaws of the Istituto, as well as the appointment of the teaching staff, belongs to the competent organs of the Italian Union of Adventist Churches”).

The decree was the last step of a long process for the recognition of mentioned degrees, which began more than a decade ago. Today, the situation is very positive, while representing at the same time a challenge to constantly confirm the achieved level from the academic point of view. The challenge also concerns the facilities of the campus. The Istituto, the Italian Union of Adventist Churches and the Euro-Africa Region of the Seventh Day Adventist Church (one of the European headquarters of the Adventist Churches) are working very closely together to complete a building that will improve the facilities of the campus and that includes a new cafeteria, a new library, a new fitness room, more modern rooms with restrooms and other facilities for the students.

“We are a small school” continued Dr. Rimoldi, “but we want to give our contribution to the educational mission of the Church. We hope that our campus will be chosen by Adventist Universities and Colleges and the institutions of the Adventist Church to be the venue for seminars, colloquiums, off-campus courses, and educational trips.”

The Italian Adventist College was founded in 1940. Since 1947, the campus has been located at Villa Aurora, a Renaissance mansion in the hills of Careggi, Florence. It is part of the Adventist education system which embraces more than 7,500 schools of all levels, including 111 at post-secondary level, a total of over half a million students. The Italian Adventist College is accredited by the Adventist Accrediting Association.