2020 Theme: "Building on Our Rock: Resilient Reimagining and Retooling.”
Dates: August 13–14, 2020.
Registration: Open until Friday August 7, 2020.
“In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. 3 Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:1-3”
Dear Andrews University Community:
I well remember the overwhelming anticipation with which we greeted the year 2020. Many universities took that opportunity to rebrand themselves by unveiling their 2020 Strategic Plans or their 2020 Vision! Also, for countless individuals, the start of 2020 was not only the beginning of a New Year – a time for resolutions and renewal – it was also a moment for deep reflection, to think about our purpose and our calling. Individually and collectively, 2020 was going to be a year of opportunity and promise!
But then, the pandemic happened. And now, most of us cannot wait for 2020 to come to a close.
A year that was hoped for with anticipation and promise will be remembered for its pain and chaos. Deaths from the pandemic continue to rise. Deaths of black and brown people at the hands of police continue to be concerning. A criminal justice system that unfairly targets people of color is doing great harm. Many in our community are made to feel that their lives are dispensable.
And thus, we are a University in pain. Our students and employees feel unsafe because of two viruses – the COVID 19 virus and the racism virus. These viruses are taking their toll on all of us – emotionally, psychologically, socially and intellectually we are in pain.
In light of these challenges, where do we turn? The Psalmist provides an answer:
“In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame.
2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress” (Psalm 71: 1-3).
The Psalmist reminds us that we matter to God! Our lives matter! Our students’ lives matter!
We are on the cusp of reopening our campus for in-person face-to-face learning and teaching for fall 2020. The most significant aspect of our preparation to reopen our campus is to turn to God for strength, direction and hope. This year, our faculty Institute is calling us to do just that, with the theme: Building on Our Rock: Resilient Reimagining and Retooling.
Each day we will gather together for worship and a plenary session. On Thursday, August 13, our own Dr. Ann Hamel, will inspire us to nourish our emotional, mental and psychological selves. Teaching is a caring profession – and as caregivers we have to first take care of ourselves!
On Friday, August 14, Dr. Robert Benne, the Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion Emeritus and Founding Director of the Robert D. Benne Center for Religion and Society at Roanoke College, will share on Renewing Our Minds: Faith and Reason Engagement in the Christian College or University.
At Andrews University we are not simply in the business of learning that makes our students better informed. However, we are in the business of learning that transforms our students – a transformation into what God has created them to be. And the old adage is true – transformed people transform people! The goal of Faculty Institute is to accentuate your transformation and better equip you to accomplish the salvific work of transformation in our students.
Therefore, I urge you to register for the Institute at andrews.edu/rsvp/facultyinstitute Let’s avail ourselves to the opportunities that will first transform us, and then equip us to do this life transformative work that is called education.
Thank you for your life-transforming work!