27 Jan 2023
27 Jan 2023

Institutional Discernment for Building Intercultural Awareness among Faculty and Administrators

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The current ATS Standards of Accreditation reflect both an actual-existing and aspirational landscape of accredited graduate theological education and underscore principles of quality, diversity, and contextuality, from which we maintain our commitments to global awareness, intercultural competence, and educational formation. Consonant with those commitments, the ATS Committee on Race and Ethnicity (CORE), in partnership with the ATS coordination program for the Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative, is hosting this webinar designed to engender conversation about institutional discernment around matters related to interculturality and how schools might help their faculty and staff build capacity in this area, especially within a context of rapid social, political, and cultural change.



Opening and Welcome

Setting the Philosophical Foundation for the Discussion
Mary E. Hess, Professor of Educational Leadership, Luther Seminary

Why is this work important? Why is it needed?

What role does theology/purpose play in emerging conversations about intercultural awareness?

Participant Breakout Groups
Reflection Question: What are the risks and sacrifices made to move your school in this important conversation?

Examination of Questions by Panel Participants
Round 1: What needs to be discerned? What are the conditions that make institutional discernment possible? Who are the stakeholders vital for moving along the process?

Round 2:
 How can faculty and administrators create a climate where interculturality can thrive and be modeled for other institutional constituencies?

Round 3:
 Would you be willing to share an experience you’ve had where you intentionally lifted up and highlighted voices/perspectives that might have been missing from a conversation? What were the challenges in doing so? What lessons were learned?

Audience Q&A




S. Mary Krysiak Bittár

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S. Mary Krysiak Bittár

S. Mary Krysiak Bittár serves as professor of practical theology, director of the office of institutional research and effectiveness, and director of educational technology at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary. She is a licensed mental health counselor and serves on the board of Joseph House, a nonprofit ministry that serves men coming out of the prison system. Bittár has taught in the prison system and has been involved with reentry programs.

She received her MA in pastoral counseling from Loyola University and her PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan.


David Cassady

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David Cassady

David Cassady serves as Baptist Seminary of Kentucky’s second president. Over the last 30 years, he has served churches directly and through organizational leadership in publishing, business, and curriculum development.

Cassady is the founder and president of Faithlab, a growing communications and consulting firm that works with a wide range churches and religious nonprofits. As part of Faithlab’s work, Cassady assembled a team that created Faithelement, an online Bible study curriculum now used by hundreds of classes. He can be heard weekly on the Faithelement podcast. He also serves as the church resources editor and is a member of the book acquisitions team for Nurturing Faith. The organization, together with the team at Faithlab, publishes around 15 titles per year, as well as the popular Nurturing Faith Bible Studies. Cassady taught philosophy and religion courses as an adjunct at Wesleyan College and has also served on the Christian Education and Nurture Committee for the Baptist World Alliance.

Cassady earned a BS in religion and philosophy from Ouachita Baptist University, studied philosophy at the graduate level at Baylor University, and received an MDiv, CE, and PhD from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While in seminary, he served as associate pastor for education and youth at Buechel Park Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.

Sharon Grant

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Sharon Grant

Sharon Grant is an associate professor of the history of Christianity at Hood Theological Seminary. She joined the faculty in 2016 and teaches the major required surveys on the history of Christianity and elective courses in the fields of American religious history, Black church history and world religions.

Grant is involved in the scholarly conversations taking place in the fields of Wesleyan and Methodist studies. She has participated in the Wesley Studies Group at the American Academy of Religion and the Summer Wesley Studies Seminar at Duke Divinity School. Her current research is focused on Wesleyan Studies, Methodist church history, Black Atlantic studies, Black church studies in the Americas, and rites of Christian initiation. As a former environmental scientist, her research interests have converged to integrate religious studies, theological inquiry, and scientific content as the founder and director of the International Center of Faith, Science, and History. This initiative offers collaborative programming for Hood and surrounding communities, along with seminary courses that often feature scientists and religious scholars from local and global contexts.

Grant’s published work includes: a monograph, Rebaptism Calmly Considered: Christian Initiation and Resistance in the Early AME Church of Jamaica; contributions to edited book projects, such as the T&T Clark Handbook of African American Theology, book reviews, and contributions to journals such as, Wesley and Methodist Studies, Methodist History, and the AME Review. She has contributed to resources such as the Equipping Global Ministry: Wesleyan Studies Project, a digitally recorded lecture series designed to instruct Methodist clergy all over the world. She is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

David Han

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David Han

David Han serves as dean of the faculty and vice president for academics at Pentecostal Theological Seminary. He has published articles and chapters in various journals and books on theological issues such as sin and salvation, Jesus and the Spirit, the Spirit and life, Pentecostalism in Asia, Christian hospitality, and pastoral practices.

He currently serves on the central steering committee for the Global Christian Forum Committee. Han has also been invited to participate in dialogues such as "Race and Ethnicity in American Pentecostalism" and "Christian Hospitality and Pastoral Practices in a Multi-faith Context.” He was previously selected for the Pre-Tenure Faculty Workshop program and consequently received a faculty research/writing grant from the Wabash Center Summer Fellowship Program in 2009. Han has been honored by two successive grants from The Association of Theological Schools, the 2011–12 Lilly Theological Scholars Grant and a project called, "Christian Hospitality and Neighborliness in a Multi-Faith Context: A Wesleyan-Pentecostal Paradigm.” Han’s forthcoming monograph, Christian Hospitality and Neighborliness in Wesleyan-Pentecostal Tradition, will be an edited volume on the papers presented at the 2012 Ministers' Week conference on Christian Hospitality and Neighborliness in a Multi-Faith Context.

Han began his teaching ministry at Han Young Theological University, where he later served as the dean of the graduate schools. He received MDiv from Church of God Theological Seminary, his STM from Yale University Divinity School, and his PhD from Emory University.

Mary E. Hess

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Mary E. Hess

Mary E. Hess is professor of educational leadership at Luther Seminary, where she has taught since 2000. Her most recent professional experience includes serving on the editorial board of the premier journal in her field, Religious Education (1999–present), working with the Lexington Seminar and the Wabash Center, and serving as a core member of the International Study Commission on Media, Religion, and Culture. She is a member of the Religious Education Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the Catholic Theological Society of America.

Her most recent publications include the books: Teaching Reflectively in Theological Contexts: Promises and Contradictions (Melbourne, FL: Krieger, 2008), and Engaging Technology in Theological Education: All that We Can’t Leave Behind (New York: Rowman Littlefield, 2005). She maintains her own website and has written her blog, Tensegrities, since 2003.

She received her MTS degree from Harvard University and her PhD in religion and education from Boston College.

Date & Time
Fri, Jan 27, 2023 , 1:00 p.m. ET
Fri, Jan 27, 2023 , 2:15 p.m. ET


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