News Release

Dr. Julia Speller, professor of public ministry at Chicago Theological Seminary, applauded Trinity's efforts to achieve diversity and encouraged nearly 30 faculty and staff member to remain committed to that goal during the first of the College's diversity lecture series October 4.

Speller spoke on "Relevant Pedagogy and the Dilemma of Diversity" at the faculty forum in the Fireside Chapel and used Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf's metaphor of a physical embrace to show how professors can promote and accept diversity as they teach students of different cultures and backgrounds.

"Opening the arms creates a welcoming environment for learning," Speller said. "Waiting is a condition of mutual respect and implies patience and stillness, which are two important aspects of listening. Closing the arms gives evidence of trust that deepens the potential for dialogue. Opening the arms again encourages each person to return to his or her individual cultural location.

"The final release is done with the recognition that cultural and racial differences are not problems to overcome or reconcile but gifts to be celebrated. There should not be the naïve notion that all will agree with each other but a mutual respect that appreciates cultural distinctions without needing to fully understand them."

Sponsored by the office of ethnic diversity and the ethnic diversity committee, the lecture series is the College's latest initiative to provide diversity awareness training. Speller believes that Trinity is on the right track toward attaining the level of diversity it seeks.

"As overwhelming as this dilemma is, there are ways to face it and begin to turn the tide, particularly in the context of higher education," she said. "This series of lectures is a bold and positive step toward that goal. It suggests that one way to address the moral responsibility of promoting diversity is by courageously embracing it on multiple levels."

On November 1, Dr. Luis Carlo, professor of urban studies at Alliance Theological Seminary, will be the second speaker of the diversity lecture series.

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