CHICAGO, Dec. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Rev. Dr. Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom has been appointed Interim Dean of Faculty for North Park University Theological Seminary. A Seminary alum, Professor of Theology and Ethics, and Director of the School of Restorative Arts, Rev. Clifton-Soderstrom brings 15 years of teaching and leadership experience at North Park while spearheading innovative programs both on- and off- campus.
Rev. Clifton-Soderstrom launched a successful partnership with Stateville Correctional Center, where persons both incarcerated and free work and study together towards earning a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry. The program, offered through North Park's School of Restorative Arts, focuses on positive race relations, non-violent communication, deepening of one's faith, and servant leadership.
Rev. Clifton-Soderstrom hopes to dramatically transform the way the Church, and society, as a whole, handle conflict, seeing it not as something to be avoided, but as an opportunity to grow.
"We live in a society that gives away its conflict and pays others to handle it, such as police or the legal system," said Rev. Clifton-Soderstrom.
North Park President Mary K. Surridge said she has faith in Clifton-Soderstrom based on her years of service to the institution.
"As Interim Dean, Rev. Clifton-Soderstrom brings to the entire North Park community her devoted connection to the Christian faith and hands-on commitment to a city-centered experiential learning curriculum and intercultural core values," President Surridge said.
A $30,000 grant from the Wabash Center will fund Rev. Clifton-Soderstrom and her colleagues' continued work fostering the University's core values. She is particularly excited about "stewarding curriculum, pedagogy, and faculty culture as it relates to our institution as a whole."
As Interim Dean, Rev. Clifton-Soderstrom will actively pilot institutional and structural changes to support the University's intercultural commitment:
- Retain faculty, staff, and students of color and increasing faculty in underrepresented groups over five years.
- Support ongoing work of intercultural proficiency in leadership and faculty over a three-year period.
- Reduce institutional bias and establish antiracist caucusing in collaboration with the University Dean's office.
- Create mechanisms for feedback from and accountability to faculty, staff, and students of color.
"I am looking forward to supporting Rev. Clifton-Soderstrom's initiatives towards making integrative enhancements within the university," President Surridge said.
ABOUT NORTH PARK UNIVERSITY
North Park University is a Christian, city-centered, and intercultural university located in Chicago.
SOURCE North Park University