CUAC’s India Chapter offers many exemplary stories of how innovative and socially responsible institutions are leading their communities in meeting the challenges of COVID’s second wave.
On leafy campuses where not so long ago you might have found young people heading to class or the athletic fields or the computing center, today you see a very different version of what a college looks like – emergency food trucks, ambulances with oxygen tanks, funeral support services, blood and plasma banks. Yet the life of learning and teaching goes on. Here is how three such colleges in South India have adjusted to this “new normal.”
Bishop Heber College (Tiruchirappalli): Dr D. Paul Dhayabaran, the Principal, reports that “living not in fear but in faith” has meant collaborating with the CSI Trichy/Tanjore Diocese in a Task Force characterized by “not only unprecedented kindness, but also with unprecedented spiritual, psycho-social, professional intervention services.” The College’s experience last year with the first wave of COVID meant that it was much better prepared to meet the second wave and its devastating impact on a population whose financial resources had already been drained.
The Task Force identified six areas of need and marshalled its resources accordingly: Food, Prayer Request, Hospital Beds & Oxygen, Counseling, Ambulance Service, Funeral Support, and Blood & Plasma Support.
What this has meant in practice was that – to cite only two examples – the College worked with local churches to provide hundreds of food packets with drinking water on a regular basis during the lockdown and has helped families find hospital vacancies to ease “the add-on pressure of frantically running from one hospital to another search of beds.”
Madras Christian College (Chennai): Dr Paul Wilson, the Principal, says that the MCC Covid Task Force is designed to help affected patients in and around MCC’s Tambaram neighborhood in Chennai, in accord with its “guiding principal of social relevance.” This has meant providing a 15-bed isolation facility for mild/asymptomatic patients, a 5-bed primary contacts facility, and an ambulance service with oxygen, all coordinated by the College Infirmary working with other campus social service agencies. Doctors, counselors, nurses, and chaplains are available 24/7.
“This is not a sophisticated full-fledged COVID treatment center, but a basic ambulance and isolation service,” he reports. More complicated cases and patients over 60 with serious health conditions are referred to local hospitals. These on-campus services are open to all MCC faculty and families, MCC alumni, students and their parents, and the general public (when space is available).
Lady Doak College (Madurai): Dr Christianna Singh, the Principal, says the College seeks to be pro-active in adapting to the “new normal” with online classes, virtual programs, and tele-counseling. The challenges are greater than simply vaccinating people. Colleges today are filled with “anxious adolescents struggling to cope with grief, anxiety, fear, uncertainty!” Individual therapeutic counseling at Lady Doak is up 76% over a regular year, as college-age populations experience “spiritual, emotional, and physiological drain.”
Specific steps include working with the district administration as a COVID care-center for the general public, free swab tests and vaccination camps, and seven teams comprising 172 students and staff working directly in the community – for example, doing “rapid action surveys” to locate distinct areas and people in need of counseling, vaccination drives, and ensuring the spread of accurate information about managing the virus.
India is among those nations most devastatingly hit by COVID, and we would very much like to publish news from CUAC’s other Indian members as to how they are coping with the pandemic. Please send such reports to [email protected].
From the 'How' to the 'Why'
CUAC’s first online Annual Meeting on July 7 shared cyberspace with its fourth Online Seminar, dedicated to “The Identity and Character of Christian Higher Education” and drawing some 50 participants around the globe.
Moderator the Revd Dr Jeremy Law (Dean of Chapel, Canterbury Christ Church University UK) set the stage with a plea “to move beyond the how” by which CUAC educators teach and administer and to search for “something deeper” in their calling.
He called on “one of the foremost Christian educators of our time” – former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams – who spoke, in a recorded video, on the Anglican tradition of wisdom – “the ability to seek connections” – and its importance in “a life in which different perspectives on wisdom are allowed to flourish.”
When it comes to witnessing creation and redemption, he said, “no single mind alone will know the whole truth.” Rather, what Christian educators seek is a level of conversation and collaboration which will illumine “the truth that surrounds us.” This means “listening so that we grow.”
Dr Christianna Singh, Principal of Lady Doak College (Madurai, India), spoke of going beyond the pursuit of mere intellectual growth to the realm where, in the Revd Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s words, “love is creative and redemptive.” This means facing “the demands of the day” with a kind of “generous neighborliness.” It means seeing civic engagement and social commitment as “walking in the footsteps of Jesus.”
She gave numerous examples of how this engagement with a troubled world takes shape in her College. Its Centre for Women’s Studies sponsors leadership training. Its “eco-brigade,” value-based courses, human rights initiatives, and legal aid for those who need it all further this hands-on approach. “The cruel impact” of COVID has offered an opportunity to study “suffering as a creative force.” Lady Doak’s campus functions as a safe space for young adult women.
We must accept, Dr Singh argued, that 2021 is “the new normal” and that “community includes people of all faiths,” meeting in a shared service each day. The College’s goal is the “the whole-person education of young women.”
Dr Rama Thirunamachandran Vice Chancellor, Canterbury Christ Church University UK, found wisdom in CUAC’s ability to make connections across so many time zones. “What’s the greatest challenge of our time?” he asked. Not COVID, not security issues, but climate change and the environment – in other words, understanding the ways in which we have “destroyed God’s creation.” He reminded CUAC members of their responsibility to work together to meet this challenge and to foster an ethic of “a life of service.”
Christian educators, he said, “will need to make the case every day for what we do, particularly at a time when there is antagonism to Christian institutions and intellectuals.” This is part of a broader anti-intellectual culture that proclaims “enough of experts.” Yet who gave us the vaccines that have saved so many lives but “the experts?”
In chatroom questions and comments, Chaplain Jane Speck suggested that what might seem a purely vocational course – nursing school – was in fact an avenue for linking a profession with “a larger commitment to the human family.” She cited the large number of applications for York St John’s nursing program in the UK as evidence of young people wanting to make a difference. “It’s not organized religion as in the past, but a commitment to helping people.”
The Revd Dr Barry Craig contrasted the loss of moral voice that allowed churches in his native Canada to become complicit in the residential school abuses of aboriginal children with the strong voices of some churches in the abolition movement. The daunting challenges of compensation for racial injustice, he said, offered “an opportunity to rediscover our mission with Christ as its core.”
Dr Law summarized the 90-minute seminar as an opportunity to define “the ground on which we stand.” Anglican higher education should not be “a factory that produces marketable educational products” but a force that meets “the life-sustaining needs of the planet.”
SAVE THE DATE
July 2-7, 2023
Hosted by Trinity College and Janet Clarke Hall
CUAC Elects a New Chair
The Revd Dr Peter Neil (right), Vice Chancellor of Bishop Grosseteste College in Lincoln (UK), was elected CUAC’s new chair at the online Annual Meeting on July 7. An experienced CUAC trustee, Professor Neil chairs the Cathedrals Group of Universities, serves on the Executive of GuildHE, and is a Canon of Lincoln Cathedral, where he assists on occasion. He succeeds the Revd Dr Robert Derrenbacker(lower right), Dean of the Theological School at Trinity College, Melbourne, Australia, and former Vice Chancellor of Thorneloe University in Sudbury, Canada. As Canon Jamie Callaway, CUAC's General Secretary, noted, "Peter's laying the groundwork of capacity building for the postponed 2020 Triennial prepares him well to further CUAC's growing focus on leadership development."
“CUAC is an organization I have been involved with for the past nine years, and I have very much admired the work that it does across the world,” said Dr Neil. “I have a very hard act to follow as Dr Derrenbacher has led the group with inspiration and by example. I see CUAC as having a major role in encouraging, developing and supporting our Christian leaders. I look forward to the challenge of taking CUAC forward in ‘interesting times’.”
Also elected were the Rt Revd Martin Wharton, Bishop of Newcastle retired, as Vice Chair, Dr Lilian Jasper, Principal of Women's Christian College, Chennai, India as Secretary and Dr Joel Cunningham, Vice Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee, USA, as Treasurer.
NEW BOARD MEMBERS (pictured from left to right)
Dr Davamani Christober, Principal, American College, Madurai, INDIA
The Revd Dr James Kombo, President, St. Paul's University, Limuru, KENYA
Dr Gisela Luna, President, Trinity University of Asia, Manila, PHILIPPINES
Dr Christine Johnson McPhail, President, St. Augustine's University, Raleigh, USA
Prof Eunice Simmons, Vice Chancellor, University of Chester, UK
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 October to the Editor, Revd Dr Mark Garner: [email protected] Please also make contact with Mark if you need any further information.
News from Around the CUAC World
Easter College, founded by American Episcopalian missionaries in Baguio City (Philippines) in 1906, has a new President, Dr Cleofe Padalla Kollin. She succeeded Dr Braille Van B. Reyes in June.
Dr Kollin began her career at Easter College in 1989, starting as a classroom teacher, student affairs coordinator, elementary school principal, senior high school principal and then vice president for academic affairs. Her experiences in these posts coupled with her Bachelor in Elementary Education Degree, Master of Arts in Education, Diploma in Special Education, and Doctor of Philosophy major in Educational Management prepared her for this new responsibility.
Easter College is an institution of the North Central Philippines Diocese of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines.
Allan Carl F. Bustamante, an electrical engineer, has become CEO of Brent Hospital and College in Zamboanga City, Philippines. He has worked for the Episcopal Diocese of the Southern Philippines for more than 20 years.
Dr Ronnie Hopkins became the 10th President of Vorhees Collegein Denmark, South Carolina (USA) in July, concluding a national search that drew 107 applicants. Founded in 1897, Vorhees is one of two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in CUAC and the Association of Episcopal Colleges. The 500-member student body is 98% African American.
Dr Hopkins, an English professor, has been Vorhees interim president, provost, and vice president for academic affairs. He has a B.A. from North Carolina Central University and advanced degrees from Michigan State University.
He succeeds Dr D. Franklin Evans, who left to head a college in West Virginia.
Vorhees graduate Dr Romelle Horton has succeeded Dr Herman Browne as Interim President of Cuttington University in Liberia. She is the former vice president for academic support services at African Methodist University. Her advanced degrees are from Roehampton University (UK) and the University of Botswana. She has served as a deputy minister in the Department of Education of the Republic of Liberia. Her areas of interest include gender issues, refugee policy, economic development, and service-learning.
Prof Emeritus M. S. Zakki has become interim Principal of Edwardes College Peshawar in Pakistan, succeeding Dr Nayor Fardows, who was Principal in 2014-19. Dr Zakki is an economist who played a large role in establishing Edwardes College’s links with Liverpool Hope University (UK). Established in 1900 by the Church Mission Society, the College has educated much of the leadership class of modern Pakistan.
The Revd Dr Pierre Simpson Gabuad, former dean of the Seminary, has been appointed as the Université Episcopale d'Haiti'sProvisional President. Dr Gabaud is a sociologist who earned his doctorate at the University of Laval in Canada and studied theology at Sewanee. He reports that they are recovering from the devastating earthquake of August 14, which affected the nursing school in Léogâne and the business school in Les Cayes, with property damage but fortunately without loss of lives. Their semester ends in September and the 2021-22 academic year begins in October. At the main campus in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where they are still holding classes in an airport hanger since the January 2010 earthquake, they are seeking to raise funds to remodel the classroom building to gain extra space that will cost USD $500,000.
July 1 marked the 50th anniversary of CUAC General Secretary James G. Callaway'sordination to the priesthood. He ministered in the dioceses of Newark and New York and served at Trinity Church Wall Street as Deputy for Grants for many years, before joining CUAC in 2011. In his anniversary sermon at Trinity, he noted: "At a church burial, the body of a layperson is brought in with his or her feet toward that altar, on the premise that the church faces east, as that is the direction the Parousia, or Second Coming, at the Lord’s return. If the body is a priest, the position is reversed, the head being toward the altar. While this might seem a fine point, there is a fundamental reason. As a priest is ordained to minister, he or she will not see the Parousia directly, but in the eyes of parishioners and others they faced over the years." He says he is grateful for the innumerable journeys he has shared over these years, a gift that continues giving.
- IN MEMORIAM -
With sadness we report the recent death of Dr Lucien Bernard(left), Rector of the Université Episcopale d'Haiti, from COVID. Dr Bernard died less than a week after Dr Robert Joseph(right), his colleague and Vice Rector. Dr Bernard was the first head of the social communication department of the Faculty of Human Sciences at UNEPH.
From the General Secretary’s Desk
When preparing a family for the Baptism of a child, I have often wondered if they realized what a staggering commitment the Baptismal journey begins -- from the self being the end to the self being a means. But for that to come about in any of us requires painstaking nurture.
Classically at Baptism, parents and godparents pledge to “take heed that this Child learn the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and all other things which a Christian out to know and believe to his soul’s health.” Most congregations support this effort with Christian education offerings, starting at an early age. Yet we know that significant character formation also takes place in the college years when youth are living independently, often far from home.
Anglican colleges and universities exist to further this faith dialogue with students who attend, whatever their religious background. Anglican higher education itself provides an ongoing case study in what Christians should expect from higher education for their daughters and sons. Unlike learning a fixed trade, higher education challenges young people to find a path toward becoming what they can be. While intelligence is a God given capacity, it requires discipline to develop and live into its possibilities. For instance, knowing medicine and becoming a doctor are not the same.
As young people start to recognize and choose the gifts they want to develop, there can be a parallel experience of discerning neighbors who have a call on their gifts as well -- a discovery that love of self and of neighbor are integrally connected. Pandemics notwithstanding, higher education ideally places a young person in a community, where such discoveries can unfold. Through civic engagement programs, colleges present students with opportunities to broaden their horizons beyond just preparing for their own futures.
Here we see the Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion coming into play, starting with the third mark, to respond to human needs through loving service, which comes from responding to neighbors. But human needs usually arise from injustices, so getting involved in service goes deeper, to the fourth mark, to transform unjust structures of society, which is where volunteering leads to advocacy.
These are foundational dynamics to be sought in all higher education, religious or secular, private or public. CUAC has articulated the goals of Christian higher education in its Declaration of Ideals (2017), which, excepting the final value of an institution’s “ongoing church tie,” apply across the board. Support from the shift from caring only for the self to caring for the neighbor as well is focused in two:
4. Personal character and public citizenship: CUAC institutions are concerned with the common good and the contribution of the individual to it. They care for the communities around them, and encourage vocation, service and love of neighbor.
6. Shaping society: CUAC institutions are concerned with the way the world is, envisaging how it might be, with working for a better world and with preparing people to serve in it.
While many Anglican colleges have the focus of a chapel and engaged chaplains, every such college has Christians on its faculty and in the student body, and usually there is an active congregation or two in the neighborhood that can be a resource for nurturing and challenging the Baptismal journey. Charting this journey is CUAC’s vocation, while carrying it out is up to the historically Anglican colleges that are its constituent members.
FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK
The Virtues ofSmallness
Some years ago, when I worked at Bowdoin College in Maine, a scientist I knew – Dana Mayo – proved that small is not just beautiful, but often practical as well. He invented micro-chemistry, a teaching technique that by shrinking expensive lab equipment and costly inventories of chemicals, could produce the same pedagogical effects for a fraction of the price. A small college in Maine could teach chemistry as well as MIT or Stanford.
I thought of him the other day when reminded of how very small most of CUAC’s member institutions actually are – a few hundred students perhaps, rarely more than 2,000. (Some, of course, are affiliated with larger universities – though the recent experience of Thorneloe in Canada has shown how risky that can be.) The fact that many of our 160 members have small endowments or no endowments at all means they are especially vulnerable in being so tuition-dependent and hence at the mercy of shifts in the local economy.
Yet “smallness” has its virtues – intimacy, personal attention, the space to experiment with your life and explore its possibilities. Today, alas, these virtues are too often overshadowed by a grim utilitarian force – the notion that you won’t be able to make a living if you don’t devote your undergraduate years to a major in economics or sports management or some STEM pursuit.
A recent issue of Christian Century highlighted this dilemma in reporting on the threat to shrink humanities faculties at three Methodist, Quaker, and Jesuit colleges in the US. I was relieved to see that no Episcopal or Anglican institutions had made that hit list! And I was thrilled to find the author, Jeannine Marie Pitas, quoting the novelist David Foster Wallace, who in a famous 2005 commencement address told his audience “the humanities are significant in teaching us not just how to think but what to think about.”
Wallace gave that address at Kenyon College, in Gambier, Ohio (US) – a CUAC member!
To return to earth, do take a look at Netflix’s “The Chair,” a satirical romantic comedy about life in a troubled American college. Really start to worry if your Chaucer specialist is told her office has been moved…to the basement of the gym. Gaudeamus igitur indeed!
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