Compass Points - November 2021

 

 
 November 2021
Inside this Issue:
  • Update from Haiti
  • Voorhees College Pays Off Its Students' Loans
  • COVID Reports from CUAC Members 
  • New College Heads Across the Globe
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Carnegie Foundation Singles Out
Three CUAC Colleges in U.S.

 

Bard, Hobart and William Smith, and Sewanee are among only 16 private liberal arts colleges to earn national recognition in the U.S. as “community engaged institutions.”

The Carnegie Foundation has given Classifications for Community Engagement to Bard College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the University of the South, Sewanee, an impressive three out of a total of sixteen to private liberal arts colleges in the country.
 
The classification is not an award. It is an evidence-based documentation of institutional practice to be used in a process of self-assessment and quality improvement. In this way, it is similar to an accreditation process of self-study. The documentation is reviewed by a National Review Panel to determine whether the institution qualifies for recognition as a community engaged institution.
 
Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, earned the Carnegie Foundation Classification for Community Engagement for its commitment to connecting higher education and civic life. The classification recognizes excellent alignment among campus mission, culture, leadership, resources, and practices that support dynamic and noteworthy endeavors for the public good. 
 “Receiving the Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement is a tremendous achievement for the College,” says Jonathan Becker, executive vice president and vice president for academic affairs. “It is a recognition of our deep partnerships in the community and our many programs providing access for underrepresented communities across the country, including the Bard High School Early Colleges, the Clemente Course, and the Bard Prison Initiative, and in the Hudson Valley with Brothers at Bard and La Voz, among others.” In 1999, Bard student Max Kenner visited a nearby state prison to explore offering classes to inmates cut off from education in a draconian withdrawal of programs for prisoners in the state’s “get tough on crime” wave. What followed was the Bard Prison Initiative’s becoming a national model.
 
At Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, Katie Flowers, director of the HWS Center for Community Engagement, notes, “We are grateful for our faculty, staff students and partners, and remain committed to continuing to learn from each other, find avenues to emphasize community assets, and build on current successes.”
 
Geneva City Manager Sage Gerling notes there are “numerous examples of the reciprocal nature of our partnership that puts Geneva on the map for being a service learning community. HWS faculty and staff serve on city boards; students participate in days of service and special projects with neighborhoods; intern around the city; and officials often interact with students through interviews for course assignments and class discussions.”
 
At the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, Jim Peterman, the Office of Civic Engagement director, reported to Carnegie the vast array of community engagement and social justice activities at Sewanee: stewardship of the environment, gender discrimination, race and reconciliation among others. Long-term partnerships are hallmarks of the programs – some organized through the Chapel Outreach Program directed by Dixon Myers in the early 1990s and still vibrant today.
 
In 2013, Sewanee launched an innovative partnership with South Cumberland Community Fund that brought to campus the AmeriCorps VISTA program and a Philanthropy Internship Program guided by Community Conversations. 

‘Who is my neighbor?’ is a timeless question,” says CUAC General Secretary Jamie Callaway. “'Its coming to fruition in college joins together the maturation quests of ‘Who am I becoming?’ and ‘For what purpose?’ Reaching out to the community in college has been a classic mission of Anglican higher education.'” In 1977, for example, when Episcopal Presiding Bishop John Allin was preparing the casebook for a massive “Venture in Mission Campaign”, the Association of Episcopal Colleges chose endowing the Community Service Scholarship Program as its top priority to further Anglican higher education, a program that has now continued for over 40 years.

 

Breaking News From CUAC’s

Beleaguered Haitian Member

On November 11, the Very Revd Dr Pierre Simpson Gabaud, Rector of the Université Episcopale d'Haïti, wrote from Port-au-Prince:

The socio-economic and political crises of the country have disastrous consequences for the functioning of the Episcopal University of Haïti (UNEPH). There is no fuel, transport hardly works because of the lack of fuel, insecurity is rampant, life is becoming excessively expensive, the prices of goods have tripled. People live in fear. Professors and students are unable to come to the University because of the scarcity of gasoline and the fear of being kidnapped. 

The UNEPH is currently in an impasse where courses, for the most part, are suspended. Some students are coming to close their academic files to seek refuge in the countryside. This critical situation does not spare the employees either, who are doing their best to meet the demands of their position. 

 
 

Voorhees College Dedicates $925,000

To Pay Off Its Students’ Loans

Dr Ronnie Hopkins, President of Voorhees College, an HBCU in Denmark, South Carolina, reports: 

During the Covid pandemic, Voorhees College has been deliberate in placing students first and ensuring that student needs are accommodated to the fullest extent possible using the College’s resources. Because of the pandemic, students have expressed a tremendous decline in resources. Either they or their parents were impacted by un- and under-employment, while others faced food and housing insecurities. 

To that end, the College strategically dedicated the maximum dollars allowed to support students within given restrictions from the federal CARES ACT and from donations from private donors. To date, the College has spent over $925,000 to pay-off student accounts and to eliminate student balances. Additionally, over $1,124,000 has been spent in direct payments to students to support living expenses and to mitigate emergency situations. Certainly, students have appreciated the financial support and impact and we hope that it will keep them motivated and destined for their Next Level of Excellence.  To God be the glory!  

 

From the COVID Front: CUAC Members Report

 

Huron University College, London, Ontario 

We have been conducting classes fully in-person since September. In developing our return-to-campus policies, we kept in mind the principles of keeping our community safe while creating the civic-minded and academically rigorous community our students have come to expect. Using our strengthened policies and guidance from the Ontario government, our staff, faculty and students are now back on campus for the first time since the university went online exclusively in March, 2020.

At Huron, we have implemented a mandatory vaccination policy for all staff, faculty, students and visitors, with limited permitted exceptions (medical and other protected-grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code). Individuals with these approved exemptions must be tested for COVID-19 twice weekly. We are proud to report a 99% vaccination rate of students, staff and faculty.

Masking is mandatory for everyone on campus as, is physical distancing, where appropriate. As well, our campus has undergone a transformation with protective barriers installed in public spaces, new HVAC systems, and other infrastructure upgrades.

We continue to support a small number of international students online who, due to visa permitting issues or travel restrictions, have not yet been able to make it to Canada. However, we are welcoming new groups of international students arriving each week, and are working hard to acquaint them with the community in person. We are continuing to monitor the situation and remain diligent. However, we foresee the rest of the school year going forward as planned.        The Revd Dr Barry Craig, President

Sungkonghoe University, Seoul, South Korea

We’re going to prevent COVID-19 infection among University members. Staffing is on a rota basis with some members working from home, in order to avoid too many people on-site at any one time. As a result, there has been just one new recent case.

2,500 students are enrolled in the 2021 autumn semester. Most classes are conducted online and with limited face-to-face, as quarantine policy is strictly implemented. Social distancing and wearing of masks in indoor spaces and operating thermal cameras at the entrance of each building, including classrooms, are strictly required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have an Electronic Check-in System using QR code, in order to keep track of those who access on-campus facilities. Partitioning indoor spaces and disinfecting more than three times a day helps create a safe campus.

In the 2022 Spring semester, we are trying to restore the educational environment to a blended model of education (online classes and face-to-face classes).        The Revd Dr Amos Kim, President

The University of Chester, United Kingdom

We took the decision to continue to be cautious this term regarding Covid. I was determined to avoid an outbreak which might jeopardise all activities. We’ve been monitoring things carefully. After Christmas our timetable alters to being majority in-person teaching with a minority of sessions online. This was always the intention.” 

From January 2022 (unless different Covid measures are announced by the Government before the start of term), the University of Chester will proceed with an average delivery pattern being at least 75% in-person. 

“As we manage this next phase of Covid we need to keep our eyes on the future and how the new ways of teaching and learning will influence our culture going forward,” says Professor Simmons. “There are lots of ongoing discussions in various meetings, including the need to encourage social engagement for students to avoid isolation until campuses are busier. Student Services is booking spaces for face-to-face appointments, Residential Life has increased its resource and the Wardens team has been active. I am also keen to explore ways to encourage greater membership of societies.         Professor Eunice Simmons, Vice-Chancellor

Trinity University of Asia, Quezon City, Philippines

The current COVID-19 pandemic stretching for almost two years and the subsequent varying degrees of community quarantine status and alert levels have served as an impetus for TUA to respond creatively and relevantly to the changing landscape of instruction and community service.

A learning management system called the Trinity Learning Cloud (TLC) became the “teaching- learning community” where students and faculty actively interact. As a complement to the online classes and with the approval of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), TUA was approved to hold limited face to face classes for laboratory lessons of the health science students. The students come to the University in small groups to attend these lessons following stringent health protocols. 

Even so TUA students find the experience of going back to school a positive one. TUA does not only address the physical and intellectual needs of its students, the Chaplain’s office also sends daily devotional messages in the email in the TLC as well as weekly “Trivotion,” a TUA devotion following a monthly theme.

TUA has always been responsive to the needs of its community. When the Covid 19 came with its subsequent prolonged quarantine periods, TUA collectively raised funds to support the utility persons, guards, canteen helpers who lost their sources of income as a result of the closure of the school. TUA also put up a “community pantry” for its janitors and utility persons working in the University and shared some of the goods with nearby communities. When the Quezon City local government unit sought assistance for TUA to become a vaccination center for nearby communities, TUA volunteered its facilities and medical personnel including the faculty of the College of Nursing to assist in the conduct of vaccination. The local government responded magnanimously to TUA’s service by providing vaccines for its constituents and dependents, which has led to many of its workers and dependents to be fully vaccinated. 

Lately, realizing the financial plight of its many students, TUA has put on fund raising events called “Plants of Hope” and “Trees of Hope” for its scholarship fund. It’s a two-way giving of hope: TUA purchases the plants from its partner communities, and these plants are purchased by TUA constituents and alumni through pledges. The plants that are purchased are then displayed in a Garden of Hope in TUA, symbolically stating that all is not lost in the future and that TUA in faith and through its works of faith, sees hope in the midst of the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.           Dr Gisela Luna, RN, Vice-President for Academic Affairs

 

Occasional Papers on Faith in Higher Education

Can you help us?

We are very keen to receive contributions for the next edition of CUAC’s journal. Owing to Covid-19, we were unable to produce an edition in 2020, and in order not to lose momentum, we are aiming to start publishing again at the end of 2021.

Contributions relevant to any aspect of faith and higher education are welcome. They may take a variety of forms, including: full-length academic articles; ideas for discussion; reports of seminars or workshops; book reviews; and responses to papers previously published in the journal. They can be of any length, up to a maximum of 8,000 words, and should be sent by the end of November to the Editor, Revd Dr Mark Garner: markwjgarner@gmail.com. Please also make contact with Mark if you need any further information.

 

PASSAGES

News from Around the CUAC World

Dr Allison Abra has been appointed Warden of St John’s College, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, effective July 26, 2021 to July 25, 2026. The Warden has overall responsibility for the academic, administrative, and spiritual life of the College.

An alumna of the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Arts and a fourth-generation Johnian, Dr Abra returns to Canada from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she has been Associate Professor of History in the School of Humanities, the General Buford “Buff” Blount Professor in Military History, and a Fellow in the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society.  She also is Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of Southern Mississippi and has been engaged in a number of projects to expand teaching, scholarship, and public programing around women, and gender, and sexuality.

Dr Abra earned her master’s degree from Queen’s University and her PhD from the University of Michigan.  A historian of modern Britain, Dr Abra’s research interests are focused on women and gender, popular culture, nationalism, and war and society in the period of the two world wars.  Dr Abra has earned a number of accolades, including the Teacher of the Year award from the Mississippi Humanities Council, the state-level branch of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

St Paul’s University in Kenya has appointed Prof James H. Kombo, a professor of Systematic theology as its third Vice Chancellor. Founded as an Anglican university with ecumenical partners in 2007, St Paul's, sitting on the heights of its Limuru campus overlooking Nairobi, now has over 5,000 students. With a PhD from Stellenbosch University, Professor Kombo is a Kenyan Anglican priest, former Deputy Vice Chancellor for academic affairs at Daystar University, and has 25 years of teaching experience in addition to managerial positions. His foundational Theological Models of God in African Christian Thought was published by Brill in Leiden in 2007 and his The Trinity, Diversity and Theological Hermeneutics was published by Langham in Carlisle in 2016. In July he joined the CUAC board and convenes the Africa Chapter.


The Revd Fang Ling Quested is the new Chaplain at St John’s College, within the University of Queensland in Australia. She has a diploma in foreign trade from Ming Chuan University, a Bachelor of Theology from Brisbane College of Theology, and a Master of Philosophy from Queensland. She is also a Justice of the Peace and has been ordained for 25 years.  

As a young woman she moved from Taiwan to Australia to study theology with a desire to serve God and to care for God's people.  She soon met her husband Michael in New Testament Greek class and they now have two grown children. 

Prof Damian Powell is retiring as Principal of Janet Clarke Hall College in Melbourne, Australia, after 20 years in early 2022. He and his wife Dieni will be moving to Shepparton, where she will become Head of Campus of the Berry Street School, a specialist independent school working with students who have complex, unmet learning needs. 

Dr Powell’s contributions to the tertiary education sector through the Australian Human Rights commission led to growing recognition of preventing sexual violence on university campuses. Chair of Council Clare Pullar writes: “Damian has been instrumental in the College’s strategic and operational success, guiding us through the changing higher education landscape, fundamentally re-setting and supporting the culture of the College.” During his stewardship, supporters endowed the college with a new building and significantly boosted scholarship endowment. 

After participating in the Seoul Triennial, Dr Powell observed: “As a lay person it underlined to me the strengths of international collegiality driven by the best elements of the Anglican tradition – diversity, tolerance, and gentle and thoughtful dialogue about what ‘Anglican’ identity might mean in various contexts.”

 

HORIZONS

From the General Secretary’s Desk

The fact that CUAC’s Online Seminar on November 30 is devoted to the climate crisis is a reminder that ours is a time when so much has to change if humanity is to have a future.  In such a time, we need to take get back to basics, starting with education. Yet there is no sector of society that has been more disrupted than higher education, given that it depends on a residential community to form the next generation of leaders. Yes, our universities have quickly adapted to on-line teaching to fill the COVID void, but we are painfully learning that there is no match for an on-campus community to shape students’ lives. And, over time, virtual studies will not be sustainable for the institutions themselves.

The over 160 Anglican colleges and universities worldwide are part of the DNA of the Anglican Communion, not only engaged in forming citizens realizing their God-given capacities to the fullest but also engaging in caring for their neighbors near and far. The CUAC network is the vine that ties them together for mutual learning, collaboration, and adaptive change. While required chapel and even religion classes are a thing of the past, innovative chaplains are evolving ways for the spiritual nurture of students. Several Indian colleges, for example, have removed the pews from their chapels to welcome Muslim and Hindu students wishing to pray on the floor. At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Nita Byrd is Dean of Spiritual Life for all students, working with the diverse faith groups on campus in opening a food pantry to support students living with food insecurity.

With today’s complex administrative demands, new Presidents, Vice Chancellors, and Principals are more likely to be hired from secular backgrounds and are often unaware of the value of Anglican foundations. There is no better mentoring for them than being connected with fellow Anglican heads, such as takes place at our Triennial Conferences. The week of intense seminars in community is designed for developing leaders, sending them home with a network of contacts. With our pivoting away from face-to-face encounters during the pandemic, we are designing supportive online opportunities for peer mentoring, which we hope to be ready to introduce in the coming year. A healthy vine and branches can produce much fruit together.            
                                                                                       
                                                                                                                       Jamie Callaway

 

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

A Turkey Day Unlike Any Other

Americans and American ex-pats and their friends sitting down to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner next week will experience what the New York Times predicts will be possibly “the most expensive meal in the history of the holiday.” The price of the bird is up 20%, and just about everything else from the disposable aluminum roasting pans to the post-prandial coffee is going to cost a lot more than last year. There’s no single culprit  -- rather, a pile up of supply chain breakdowns, high transport costs, labor shortages in the food industry, lousy weather on the farms, restrictive trade policies, and just bad luck for consumers. Truckers, for example, are being paid twice as much to haul all those sweet potatoes, turkeys are dearer because of a rise in the cost of the grain the birds are fattened with, and that gelatinous cranberry jelly will be hard to find because the Chinese are rationing the steel that goes into those iconic “tin” cans.

Help! As the Massachusetts indigenous population may have said when they looked out at the disembarking Pilgrim Fathers in 1620…

It’s all a textbook case of how one thing connects to another, quite often unexpectedly. If I may re-write an old adage into CUAC-speak, when a butterfly flaps her wings in Chennai today, a tornado hits Melbourne tomorrow. Small changes can have huge repercussions by setting off a chain reaction no one can predict. 

At this unhappy moment in our history, that kind of global disaster story is all too familiar. But the word “linkage” can have far happier connotations. We need to keep reminding each other that this is what CUAC is about…connecting “wildly different” people across the globe. When a student “flaps her wings” in Manila or Newcastle or Annandale-on-Hudson, an exchange program, a study tour, a research project, a lifelong friendship can land with gale-force percussion. A network is only as strong as its ability to keep these connections hitting their target.

                                                                                                               Charles Calhoun

 

Compass Points is published by 
GENERAL SECRETARY: The Revd Canon James G. Callaway, D.D.
PUBLISHER: Julia DeLashmutt 
EDITOR: Charles C. Calhoun
PRODUCER: Francis Rivera

 

 

Nov 2021 Compass Points
Inside this Issue:
  • Update from Haiti
  • Voorhees College Pays Off Its Students' Loans
  • COVID Reports from CUAC Members 
  • New College Heads Across the Globe