In 2018, the Associate Provost for Faculty Inclusion and Equity awarded seven grants to encourage faculty engagement and research in inclusion and equity. The awards were given in three categories: Course Revision Grants, Enrichment Grants, and Resource Grants. This past fall, those faculty members wrote reports on what they learned and accomplished with those awards.
Dr. Chris Blumhofer used his resource grant to study African American theology and consider themes from African American theology that he can to integrate more thoroughly into his classes. He wrote, “African American theology consistently affirms God’s commitment to humans flourishing in human community in a way that highlights this important biblical theme and exposes its long-term avoidance in biblical studies. It consistently correlates election and suffering. This link is rarely an area of focus in NT studies, which consistently develops election in terms of salvation and sees suffering as an avoidable side-effect.”
The resources also provided an opportunity for further reflection. Dr. Blumhofer wrote, “my study challenged my convictions in the following ways: (1) the application of the term ‘heresy’ to forms of Christianity (and presumably seminary teaching) that do not actively resist and speak out against oppression; (2) the location of experience as a primary source for theology, and (3) the related challenge that a commitment to a single, stable meaning in the inspired biblical text might imply a view of Scripture that is inherently racist as it institutionalizes a white/European view of meaning. I am grateful for the chance to think about my own work and vocation this summer, and for the way that this study spurred me on to greater self-reflection.”
Dr. Carly Crouch used the resource grant to purchase books that can further develop her course assignments. Reflecting on the grant, she wrote, “I’ve been able to check and double check existing assignments, especially for OT500, and with books at my fingertips I’ve been able to browse easily when I’m looking for inspiration for something new to add to my lists.”
Dr. Crouch has begun integrating her research into class preparation, noting their use as she prepares for her Methods doctoral Seminar and class on the Embodied Interpretation of the Old Testament. “This grant has done its job improving my awareness and my teaching.”
Dr. Lisa Lamb used the grant to read more deeply into the tradition of African American preaching. She noticed the broad influence of preaching in African American culture, writing, “for example, I had not noticed that novelist Zora Neale Hurston was also a scholar and historian of African American preaching.”
During her study, Dr. Lamb noticed the prominence of suffering in books on African American preaching. She wrote, “the theme of suffering ran through these books in ways that simply aren’t as present in homiletical textbooks by authors of European descent.” The books also offered Dr. Lamb the opportunity to learn more about her students so that she could better equip and care for them. “I also chose a book which is only peripherally related to preaching, Too Heavy A Yoke, as I wanted to be able to serve our students well as they find their voices and the freedom to be truly strong Black preachers.”