Skip to content

The Forum for Theological Exploration

The Forum for Theological Exploration (FTE) is a leadership incubator that inspires young people to make a difference in the world through Christian communities. Since 1954, FTE has provided resources, events, networks, grants, and fellowships to cultivate tomorrow’s leaders, pastors, and theological educators. FTE provides a forum through which gifted, purposeful students, young adults, and partners explore their passion, purpose, and call.

FTE awarded a grant to Fuller faculty members Amos Yong (School of Intercultural Studies), Tina Armstrong (School of Psychology), and David Downs (School of Theology) to provide a series of forums through the end of 2019. Please note that these forums are open only to Fuller doctoral students in theology, intercultural studies, and clinical psychology, as well as Fuller faculty members. Information about them can be found below, and archived material collected during the forums can be found on FULLER studio.

Forum Dates

These events are open to PhD students and faculty; BlueJeans video access will be available for those who cannot attend in person.

Thursday, March 29, 2018, 3–5 pm
Wednesday, May 9, 2018, 1–3 pm
Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 3–5 pm
Wednesday, April 17, 2019, 1–3 pm
Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 3-5 pm
Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 3-5 pm
Thursday, December 5, 2019, 12:30–2:30 pm

Upcoming Forums

Next and Fuller Steps: Faculty and Student Conversations for the 2020s

December 5, 2019

This final gathering provides the opportunity to actively revisit the themes discussed in this series of panel discussions. While the previous discussions have been in a panel format this final forum provides the opportunity for you to be an active participant. You are encouraged to participate as much or little as they like! Using a series of vignettes and interactive exercises, we will identify challenges and possible next steps for Fuller’s navigating of white evangelical academia, and will include substantial space for small and large group discussion – between faculty and students separately and together.


Tina Armstrong

Tina Armstrong

Director of Clinical Training and Assistant Professor Clinical Psychology, Department of Doctoral Psychology
Amos Yong

Amos Yong

Professor of Theology and Mission (School of Intercultural Studies)
Daniel Lee

Daniel D. Lee

Director of the Center for Asian American Theology and Ministry and Assistant Professor of Theology and Asian American Ministry (School of Theology)

Past Forums

Navigating (White Evangelical) Academia:

Why Not Subverting Instead?

March 29, 2018

Panelists discussed what it means to say Fuller is a white or “color-blind” institution, why many of us might be vested in this reality, and what concrete steps are needed to form ourselves and our doctoral students (especially) so that all of us can live more fully into the call of the coming reign of God that includes many peoples, languages, and cultures.

Watch videos of the presentations here.


Amos Yong

Amos Yong

Professor of Theology and Mission (School of Intercultural Studies)
Mark Labberton

Mark Labberton

Alexis Abernethy

Alexis D. Abernethy

Professor of Psychology (School of Psychology)
Alexander Jin

Alexander Jun

Professor of Higher Education, Azusa Pacific University

The Question of Identity in Society, Institution, and Academic Work

May 9, 2018

This panel addressed the multiplicities of our identities: personal, societal, institutional, and academic ones in particular. After providing a set of common categories that we can use together, we explored the dynamics of how these identities can intersect, conflict, or compartmentalize in our vocation and the challenges that we face.

Watch videos of the presentations here.


daniel D. Lee

Daniel D. Lee

Director of the Center for Asian American Theology and Ministry and Assistant Professor of Theology and Asian American Ministry (School of Theology)
Cynthia Eriksson

Cynthia Eriksson

Associate Professor of Psychology (School of Psychology)
Tamisha Tyler

Tamisha Tyler

PhD student in Theology and Culture (School of Theology)

Economics and the White Evangelical Academy, from the Latinx Perspective

October 3, 2018

This panel discussion will address, from a Latino/a  perspective, how  the  academy has been shaped by modern/colonial economics and race relations as two of the elements conforming western academic hegemony through a global educational design, and engage in concrete discussion of how evangelical academics – faculty and students – can take concrete steps toward a more economically just evangelical academy.



Oscar Garcia-Johnson

Assistant Provost for the Center for the Study of Hispanic Church and Community and Associate Professor of Theology and Latino/a Studies

Juan Martinez

Professor of Hispanic Studies and Pastoral Leadership
katheryn smith

Kay Higuera Smith

Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Azusa Pacific University

Confucius or Socrates? Cross-Cultural Mentoring in White Evangelical Academia

April 17, 2019

This panel addresses some conceptual and practical issues in cross-cultural mentoring in a “white” context and the challenges and aspirations of the interaction between mentors and mentees. The questions to be discussed are: What are some models of cross-cultural mentoring and in what way should we navigate these? How do we best negotiate the potential tensions between keeping academic “norms” and being sensitive to cultural and racial diversities? How is the contemporary graduate seminar a historically “white” space and how can it become a more cross-culturally welcoming and inclusive site? The panelists come with their rich and diverse experiences of multi-cultural and multi-racial contexts and will bring thought-provoking insights to the audience for further interaction and reflection.

Listen to the presentation here.



Diane B. Obenchain

Director of the China Initiative and Professor of Religion, School of Intercultural Studies

Eun Ah Cho

Assistant Professor of Intercultural Leadership, School of Intercultural Studies

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

Professor of Systematic Theology, School of Theology

Sebastian Kim

Assistant Provost for the Korean Studies Center and Professor of Theology and Public Life, School of Theology
Soong Chan Rah

Soong Chan Rah

Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism
North Park Theological Seminary

Troubling Pedagogical Waters: Dislodging colonial pedagogical epistemologies in white evangelical academia

3-5pm, Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

This conversation commences on the contested premise that pedagogy within [predominantly white] evangelical academia proceeds from a practice that integrates particular curriculum content and design, instructional epistemologies and forms of evaluation that privileges a colonial epistemology. It advances the idea that this colonial epistemic version vis-à-vis what knowledge is of most worth, what it means to know something and how we might construct a representation of the world and our place within, is most valid.

Listen to the presentation here.


Grace Ji-Sun Kim

Grace Ji-Sun Kim

Associate Professor of Theology, Earlham School of Religion
Nicholas Grier

Nicholas Grier

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow in Spiritual Care and Pastoral Counseling, Claremont School of Theology
Clifton Clarke

Clifton R. Clarke

Assistant Provost for the William E. Pannell Center for African American Church Studies and Associate Professor of Black Church Studies and World Christianity

Mentoring at the intersection: Social Justice approaches in supporting ethnically and racially diverse doctoral women

October 16, 2019 NWEA Panel

Ethically and racially diverse women (ERDW) are the fastest growing demographic enrolling in graduate programs and academic institutions are faced with creating environment to support their success. Despite their increased enrollment rates, approaches to mentoring continue to be centered on traditional models which do not take into consideration the intersectionality that ERDWs present with. As quality mentorship is arguably one of the most significant factors leading to a host of beneficial graduate school and early career outcomes, it is crucial for administrators, professors, clinical supervisors, researcher advisers, etc. to engage in mentorship practices that uphold the multiple identities and intersections that ERDWs present with. This panel discussion will provide a brief overview of feminist and multicultural approaches to mentoring, explore the gaps and tensions, and offer promising practices in providing mentorship that has a social justice thrust and address gender-specific and ethnic/racial-specific variables.

Watch videos of the presentation here.


Tina Armstrong

Dr. Tina Armstrong

Director of Clinical Training and Assistant Professor Clinical Psychology, Department of Doctoral Psychology
Juli Green

Dr. Julii Green

Assistant Professor, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University (San Diego)
Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook

Dr. Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty, and Professor of Practical Theology, Claremont School of Theology
Anne Nolty

Dr. Anne A. Turk Nolty

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Department of Doctoral Psychology


INFORMATION, FAQs, and Bibliography