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.