Vander Weele '73
He may not see himself as
an activist, but Michael Vander Weele '73 knows how to make things happen.
As Trinity's director of professional development for the past three years,
he is the catalyst for many of the scholarship initiatives available to
the faculty. One of his priorities is exposing his colleagues to more research
avenues that not only will enhance their expertise, but also filter down
to the classroom instruction.
"Faculty scholarship strengthens
us and our ability to teach, and the students reap the biggest dividends.
It also encourages us to build better relationships with each other and
to establish a network of contacts with other people in our fields. We
all should take advantage of as many opportunities to learn as we can."
in his seventeenth year teaching at Trinity, he spent six years on the
professional development committee before former President AJ Anglin suggested
that he be the first to take on duties as the director.
Vander Weele's proactive
contributions stretch beyond the campus' boundaries. During a tense debate
a couple of years ago between the city of Palos Heights and a Muslim group
trying to purchase property for a mosque, he offered a brief statement
at a city council meeting that discouraged the city's political involvement
in religious affairs. That stance led to his membership in the Christian/Muslim
Dialogue Group, in which he has been vital to bridging the gaps between
members of those communities. He helps facilitate monthly meetings that
allow members to discuss their issues and concerns, and he does so without
compromising his spiritual perspective.
"I don't want to leave my
religious beliefs behind in order to enter those public conversations.
The integrity of the group is based on bringing our values to the table
openly, so I participate in that dialogue without hiding my Christianity.
In order to work with one another, we have to be honest."
to Alumni Profiles