Slate of nominees

Here is the slate of nominees offered by the nominations committee, placed here in advance of the business meeting:

Vice-President, Program Chair Elect
Rev. Dr. Boyung Lee joined Iliff as Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty on July 1, 2017. Her theological and scholarly pursuit is fueled by a commitment to social justice and works hard to embody her commitment in her leadership and pedagogical practices. She also considers herself as a feminist communitarian educator as she values transparent communications and processes, consensus building, ongoing assessments of individual and communal needs, creating space for the least visible, delegating and stepping back for others, and setting boundaries with care. Prior to accepting the position at Iliff, Rev. Dr. Lee served as Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Education, and Spiritual Formation at Pacific School of Religion, and a Core Doctoral Faculty member at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She started at PSR in 2002 and was the first woman of color tenured faculty. Rev. Dr. Lee is also an ordained United Methodist elder. In addition to being an editorial board member of Religious Education, Journal of Feminist Studies and Religion, and International Journal of Practical Theology, she is also a board member of Religious Education Association and PANAAWTM (Pacific, Asian, North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry), and a member of American Academy of Religion’s Teaching and Learning Committee, Women and Religion program and Transformative Pedagogy group.

Chair, RE in Public Life & Global Communities
Dr. Christine Hong, Columbia Theological Seminary. Dr. Hong’s research interest includes Asian American studies, child and adolescent behavior and development and immigrant communities, church history, post-colonial studies, and systematic theology. She holds the PhD from the Claremont School of Theology; a ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary; an MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary; a BA from The University of Washington. She is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Member, RE in Public Life and Global Communities (3 years)
Rabbi Dr Michael Shire is Chief Academic Officer and Dean of the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education at Hebrew College in Boston. He has a BA(Hons) degree in Hebrew Literature and Jewish History from University College London and Master’s degrees from Leo Baeck College and Hebrew Union College. He has a PhD from Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles and was ordained at Leo Baeck College in London. Formerly the Vice-Principal of Leo Baeck College in London, he relocated to the United States in 2011 to Hebrew College in Boston. His research interests lie in the field of children’s spirituality in which he is widely published and he established the ‘Torah Godly Play’ Community of Practice. He has also published four books of creative liturgy in association with the medieval illuminations collections of the British Library and Bodleian library at Oxford University. He is the past chairman of the Association of Higher Education Institutions for Jewish Education.

Member, RE in Public Life and Global Communities (3 years)
Dr. Lakisha R. Lockhart, Ph.D is a playful womanist scholar-activist. She serves as Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and Director of STREAM Youth Theology Institute at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. As the Director of the STREAM Youth Theology Institute she has the pleasure of journeying with high school students as they explore ways in which they live out their faith in the world. As both educator and director she actively advocates and uses the body as a locus for doing theology through engaged and embodied pedagogical practices. She is also the current President of ARC: Arts | Religion | Culture, which is a collaborative community for those who cultivate embodied and just ways of knowing and being through artistic and spiritual practices in order to promote the just flourishing of all creation.
B.A. Claflin University (Orangeburg, SC)
M.Div. Wesley Theological Seminary (Washington DC)
M.A. Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
Ph.D. Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA)

Chair, Advancement Committee
Dr. Jose Irizarry, Vice President of Education, Board of Pensions, Presbyterian Church.
Irizarry joined the Board from Villanova University, where he was Associate Professor of Theological and Religious Education. In addition to ministerial positions, he has held classroom and administration posts in several institutions of higher learning, including the Seminario Evangelico of Puerto Rico, San Juan; Cambridge College, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; and Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California. He has served the PC(USA) in numerous volunteer posts, most recently on the Committee on Theological Education. After earning a bachelor’s in philosophy from the University of Puerto Rico, Irizarry went on to attain a Master of Divinity in ministry studies from McCormick Theology Seminary and a doctorate from Northwestern University in religion, society, and personality sciences. He holds several professional certificates, including in fundraising and program evaluation.

Member, Advancement Committee (3 years)
Dr. Tamara Henry serves as Assistant Professor of Religious Education at New York Theological Seminary, where she also directs the Master of Arts in Religious Education and the Master of Arts in Youth Ministry degree programs. An urban youth ministry practitioner for the past fifteen years and also a licensed minister of American Baptist churches USA, Dr. Henry frequents as an itinerant preacher/speaker and youth and young adult ministry consultant for religious and educational organizations, both locally and across the nation. Her role calls her to oversee the design and implementation of successful training models for others working within youth and young adult ministry. Dr. Henry received a Bachelor of Arts in American Government (Georgetown University), a Masters of Social Work (Fordham University, School of Social Service) and a Masters of Arts in Religious Education and PhD in Religious Education (Fordham University, School of Religion). Her research and writing interests center on the intersection between youth popular culture, religion and liberative pedagogical practice within youth and young adult ministry.

Member, Advancement Committee (3 years)
The Rev. Dr. Barbara Davis is the Executive Minister at the First Presbyterian Church in the city of New York where she oversees communications and programs related to teaching/learning, discipleship/community, and pastoral care. She is an avid biker, reader, and writer. Barbara lives in Brooklyn with her two daughters, two cats and dog. She is a graduate of Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania, where she majored in religion and a graduate of Union Theological Seminary (M.Div., ’96), New York City. She completed her doctorate at Fordham University in religious education. During that time she served on the REA board as the student representative from 2014-2016.

Chair, Proposal Selection Committee (3 years)
Dr. Hosffman Ospino, PhD is an Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Education at Boston College, School of Theology and Ministry where he is also Director of Graduate Programs in Hispanic Ministry. He served as the principal investigator for the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry(2014) and co-investigator for the National Survey of Catholic Schools Serving Hispanic Families (2015). He is currently advancing a national study on Latino Catholic vocations. He has authored/edited 13 books and nearly a hundred academic and general essays. He has received several national awards from academic and ministerial organizations in recognition for his work as well as for his writings. He presently serves as an officer of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) and of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS). He has been a member of the Religious Education Association (REA) for a about a decade and a half. Presently he is one of the co-chairs the REA’s HORIZONS in Religious Education Editorial Board.

Student Representative to the Board (2 years)
Gina Robinson grew up on her great grandfather’s farm in rural Georgia, where hard work and education served as the primary vehicle for multi-generational success. She earned a BA in both political science and African American studies from Emory College followed by a Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Gina spent a year at Yale Divinity School to research the varying implications of colorism on the identity development of black girls who have interacted with the hashtags #teamlightskin and #teamdarkskin on social media platforms. Gina developed a practical theological response that promotes virtues, such as self-love and sisterhood. Her current research interests include the spiritual lives of African American girls, particularly nurturing their identity development through Womanist epistemological and emancipatory pedagogical methods. Gina is a licensed Baptist minister, who currently serves as a Youth and Young Adult Minister at St. John AME in Aurora, IL. When she is not reading, writing or researching, Gina enjoys playing and watching sports, cooking, traveling, hanging out with family and friends, and learning acoustic guitar.

Member, RE in Faith Communities (3 years)
The Rev. Dr. Dawn Alitz Director of the Center for Lifelong Learning at Luther Seminary
Dawn’s expertise is in the area of adult faith formation, coaching, and program coordination. She has over twenty years of experience in congregational leadership in both mission-start and established congregations. In addition, she is well-known within the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) and ecumenical circles for her work with adaptive leadership, mentoring and coaching other pastors, developing online learning opportunities, and collaborating with various networks of educational and synodical professionals. Dawn’s role as Director of the Center for Lifelong Learning places her in a unique position to design, pilot, and build out new business models for theological education, lifelong learning, and congregational leadership support.

Member, RE in Academic Disciplines and Institutions (3 years)
Dr, Joung Chul Lee, PSR – Visiting Assistant Professor of Practical Theology, Education, and Spiritual Formation at Pacific School of Religion (PSR) as a Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Lee is a committed educator and theologian whose passion lies in liberation through education. His specialty is philosophical and theological reflection on religious practice and its relation to formation and transformation. His research and teaching interests encompass the subjects of self, identity, faith, and religion. He specializes in theories, histories, and practices of ecumenical and inter-religious education; social change and peace-building; educational ministry and theology; engaged and decolonized spirituality; and conversations between practical theology and contemporary philosophies. Critical pedagogy, process/poststructuralist thoughts, and interreligious living are central to his study and life. Dr. Lee completed his Bachelor of Arts in Theology at Yonsei University in South Korea, where he is originally from. He then completed an MDiv at Emory University, a Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his PhD at Claremont School of Theology.

Member, RE in Academic Disciplines and Institutions (3 years)
Dr. Almeda M. Wright is the Assistant Professor of Religious Education at Yale Divinity School. Her research focuses on African American religion, adolescent spiritual development, and the intersections of religion and public life. She has written The Spiritual Lives of Young African Americans (Oxford University Press, 2018) and coedited a book with Mary Elizabeth Moore, Children, Youth, and Spirituality in a Troubling World. Almeda studied at Harvard University Divinity School (M.Div.), where she concentrated on Religion & Culture and History of Biblical Interpretation; Simmons College (M.A. in Teaching); and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (B.S. in Electrical Engineering). She completed her doctoral studies at Emory University, where she received fellowships from the Fund for Theological Education and the Louisville Institute. Almeda is an ordained minister of the American Baptist Churches and has served on the ministerial staff of various churches, including Union Baptist Church (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and Victory United Church of Christ (Stone Mountain, Georgia).

Member, Harper/Wornom Committee (4 years)
Dr. Joshua Lunde-Whitler serves as Executive Co-Director of the Walker Center, an education and retreat center and residential complex for faith communities in Newton, Massachusetts. There he works with an intentional community of graduate students focused on interreligious leadership, partners with multiple organizations to provide transformative educational experiences, and is developing innovative and practically-oriented workshops and retreats for faith leaders. This past summer, he completed his PhD in Theology and Education at Boston College. His current research focuses on educating in faith that fosters the evolution of identity and meaning-making through the lifespan, as understood through the lens of narrativity—and how this can help create a more just and compassionate world.


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