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Spring 2008 | Volume 31, Number 1 | Campus

New Leadership

Theology dean is ready to prepare students for global influence

Doug Strong
“In America today, the general populace has hardly the faintest idea of the role that the Bible has played in shaping who we are as a people,” says Doug Strong, who as dean will guide SPU’s initiative in biblical and theological education.
Doug Strong knows what parents feel when their children go away to college. The elder of his two sons enrolled at Seattle Pacific University this fall. But then again, Strong’s situation is unique. He is starting at Seattle Pacific himself — as the new dean of the School of Theology, and as professor of the history of Christianity.

After 18 years on the faculty at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., Strong comes to SPU with exceptional credentials as a scholar, teacher, and administrator. He earned his M.Div. (1981) and Ph.D. (1990) at Princeton Theological Seminary, and he is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies.

In addition to numerous published articles, the ordained United Methodist clergyman has four books to his name, including Reclaiming the Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today (Discipleship Resources, 2007), and They Walked in the Spirit: Personal Faith and Social Action in America (Westminster John Knox Press, 1997). He is currently working on two new projects: a book about the history of American Methodism, and a study of religious faith and interracial community on the Underground Railroad.

“Doug brings great wisdom and energy to his new role in the School of Theology,” says Les Steele, vice president for academic affairs at SPU. “He will also bring great skill to guiding our initiative in biblical and theological education.”

It’s a project Strong cares deeply about. “I’m blessed to have come to a School of Theology which for many years has been helping young men and women to appropriate their biblical and theological heritage in all aspects of their lives, whatever their major,” he says. “We hope to build on that experience to become a scholarly resource — not only for our current students, but also for alumni, parents, and the broader constituency of this region.”

In Seattle, the dean says he’ll find opportunity to indulge his various passions as a hiker, an avid reader — and an adventurous traveler. His experiences teaching and ministering around the world have helped to shape a clear vision for cross-cultural education: “Socially dislocating experiences are essential for every educated person, especially undergraduate students,” he explains. “We need to look, think, and act through a multicultural lens so that we can present the gospel of Jesus Christ in a sensitive and winsome way to our global society.”

Steven G. W. Moore, executive director of the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, has worked with Strong on projects such as the John Wesley Fellows program of the Foundation for Theological Education. Says Moore, “Doug cares passionately about the educational experience for students. He understands that what happens inside and outside the classroom is enriched when linked in intentional ways.”

—By Jeffrey Overstreet []
—Photo by Luke Rutan

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Department Highlights

New Leadership
SPU welcomes new theology dean, Doug Strong, Ph.D.

The “Oscar” for Educators
School of Education wins national “Model of Excellence” award.

Faculty, Students Offer Hope in Rural West Virginia
Faculty and graduate students helped local educators.

A New Day for SPU Chapel Program
Students receive a chance to distribute $37,500.

Reconciled Concert Welcomes John Perkins
SPU’s Gospel Choir and Wind Symphony joined for an exciting concert.

Challenge Your Mind in April
SPU is the place to be in April 2008 — with three major lectures.

Palmer’s Secrets for Preaching Great Sermons
Rev. Earl Palmer speaks to area church leaders.