Christian Heritage College (CHC) was founded in 1986 by Christian Outreach Centre Australia (trading as International Network of Churches [INC]), its parent company, and is incorporated as a public company limited by guarantee. The company’s members are the members of the national governing body of Christian Outreach Centre Australia. CHC’s operations and those of its parent company are located in Australia.

CHC was established with the twin aims of meeting the needs of the Christian school sector in Australia for teaching graduates and of establishing a Christian presence in Australian higher education. Accordingly, the purpose of CHC is prescribed in its constitution as “to foster, promote and undertake education, scholarship and research …” (Christian Heritage College Constitution, p7). This is further developed in the CHC strategic plan which states CHC’s collective ambition to be “a global leader in distinctively Christian higher education” (p.1).

CHC’s first higher education award, the Diploma of Teaching, was accredited in 1988, and the first bachelor degree in Education was accredited in 1990. These initial teacher education courses prepare students for classroom teaching in Primary schools (including Early Phase) and Secondary schools (including Middle Years), and carry recognition with the relevant professional registration authorities. Postgraduate courses in Education have been offered since the 1990s: enrolments in postgraduate initial teacher education courses commenced in 1997, and the Master of Education was introduced in 1998.

Undergraduate programs in the Social Sciences, initially in Human Behaviour and Counselling, were introduced in 1995, with postgraduate courses in these fields commencing in 1997. Further fields of study, including Chaplaincy, Community Development, Human Services and Youth Work, were introduced in subsequent years at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Courses in the Social Sciences are offered from Diploma to Masters levels and are recognised by the relevant professional associations.

The School of Business commenced offering courses at Diploma and Bachelor levels in 1999. The Bachelor of Business offers majors in Accounting, Management and Marketing, with the major in Accounting being recognised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia (ICAA), Certified Practising Accountants (CPA) Australia and the Institute of Public Accountants. Postgraduate courses in Business were introduced in 2004.

Courses in the preparation for ministry were originally commenced by Christian Outreach Centre in the 1980s. Through the establishment of a formal partnership agreement, courses developed by the CHC School of Ministries are offered by Citipointe Ministry College, with courses at Diploma and Bachelor level being accredited in 1996, and postgraduate courses in 2001. The Master of Ministry Leadership commenced offering in 2011.

The consolidation of enrolments in CHC courses has been supported by changes in the financial assistance available to students: firstly, the introduction of the Postgraduate Education Loans Program (PELS) in 2003, followed by the introduction of FEE-HELP in 2005 and the provision of Commonwealth supported places (and access to HECS-HELP) for students in initial teacher education courses in 2008.

Alongside its longstanding recognition by the Queensland government through the Office of Higher Education, CHC was approved by the Commonwealth government as a provider of higher education under the Higher Education Support Act (Cth 2003) in 2004. Following the Commonwealth government’s assuming of responsibility for regulating the Australian higher education sector, under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act (Cth 2011), CHC was placed on the National Register of Higher Education Providers.

Over its history, CHC has grown from offering one course with an initial enrolment of nine students to a community of nearly 900 students that offers more than 25 courses across multiple disciplines. These courses offer a unique combination of personal growth and professional academic studies within a Christian worldview, and graduates of CHC can be found in many countries throughout the world. CHC is a place where lives are transformed and people are equipped to make a difference in the world around them. From small beginnings, CHC has gained recognition as an integral part of the Australian higher education sector.