Ridley Melbourne is entering a bold new era in Christian marketplace thinking and practice with two appointments to its Marketplace Institute. Dr Ken Barnes has been appointed as the inaugural Dean and Ms Kara Martin as the Associate Dean.
With the support of Converge International and over 80 donors, the Marketplace Institute will serve business leaders and workers in a wide range of vocations, including small business and professions, with a focus on the commercial environment. This initiative will also help Ridley to shape the theology of a new generation of church leaders so that they will empower workers and support their vocations.
Ken Barnes appointment as Dean comes after an international search which sought to find a leader with credibility in both corporate and academic contexts. The Ridley Board believes Ken has both, having been active in the marketplace on six continents at the highest levels of business and industry. Having worked as Vice President, General Manager and Managing Director in multi-billion dollar corporations, Ken knows what it is like to have to make a payroll, manage cash-flow, bring new products to market, reduce working capital, improve shareholder value, pay a dividend, and deal with customers, employees, shareholders, boards of directors and the media.
Ken, an American who has lived in the UK since 1992, will be based in Oxford, making two 8-week trips to Melbourne each year. In addition he will conduct conferences in Oxford, giving the Melbourne Christian business community access to his extensive network which includes some of the world’s leading marketplace thinkers.
Ridley believes that almost all the objectives of the Institute can be achieved with Ken based in Oxford. However, the Ridley Board realises that to provide continuity, and to support culture change within the College, it is vital to have a person “on the ground”. Consequently, and with the further assistance of Converge International, Ridley has appointed Kara Martin as Associate Dean.
Like Ken, Kara will be a member of the Ridley Faculty. She will have some teaching responsibilities in the College, will coordinate the Ridley Certificate, and will also develop a cohort of students who are training at Ridley with the intention of going back to the regular workforce.
Those involved in the appointment process are delighted with this outcome, and see these appointments as giving the Institute greater reach and impact than we ever envisaged. Professor Ian Harper says, “I am very excited to have someone of Ken’s obvious godliness, talent and experience appointed as inaugural Dean of the Ridley Marketplace Institute. The connections he brings with the wider world of marketplace ministry, and Oxford University in particular, are invaluable. I am also delighted that Ken will be supported by Kara, who brings immense enthusiasm and expertise to the Institute, as well as her own perspective on the interplay of work and faith.”
Lindsay MacMillan, CEO of Converge International, says that, “Ridley is to be congratulated for its vision and intent to address issues such as the purpose and meaning of work, the Monday- Sunday divide, the theology of work and the engaging of business leaders and clergy around the reframing of our Christian view of work.”
The launch of the Ridley Marketplace Institute is one of the final elements of the 2008-2013 Ridley Vision to be implemented. It represents a broader agenda for the College anda desire to reconnect with lay people and to position the College to help its students to meet the demands of a changing world.