Northwestern to be featured at Christian college forum

Northwestern College will be well represented when 1,200 people gather for the International Forum on Christian Higher Education in Dallas March 30–April 1.

The event, sponsored by the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, includes three “Let Your Voice Be Heard” videos shown at plenary sessions that tell stories from across the organization’s constituency. The first four-minute video will feature Northwestern theatre professors Jeff and Karen Barker, focusing on the commitment they and the college’s theatre program have to ensemble work, servant leadership and the transformation of culture.

“The love and respect Karen and Jeff have for students is so evident, and they call all the students in the department to that as well from their example,” says senior Kristi Woodyard on the video.

“That’s the essence of those two,” adds Dr. Keith Anderson, Northwestern’s dean of spiritual formation and vocation. “It’s Jeff and Karen always teaching and loving and integrating all at the same time.”

The video concluded with this comment from Karen: “We’re trying to model artists who can do excellent work because they have a calling to a particular place and time, and if we live into that calling, the art that comes out of it can be really stunning.”

In addition, three of Northwestern’s leaders—Anderson, President Bruce Murphy and Vice President for Student Development John Brogan—will present a Saturday afternoon session on “Spiritual Formation: A New Way of Doing College.”

“Our purpose is to create a conversation about how we can recognize the essential integration that exists between academic learning, spiritual formation and the development of the person,” says Anderson. “We want to help people consider ways of knowing that will not separate prayer from thinking, social development from academic life, and formation for vocation from the development of mind and soul.

Anderson will begin by speaking from his role as a CCCU senior fellow for spiritual formation, talking about what he observes as “silos” on campuses—the problem of not seeing the “whole” of education.

Murphy plans to talk about his vision for an education that leads to wisdom. He will also emphasize the need to bring a new pace to higher education that allows students and faculty time to reflect and that helps to cultivate a way of life that allows for lifelong learning, not just lifelong busyness.

Brogan, a former member of Northwestern’s religion faculty, will provide observations from his perspective as an academic who is now in student development working alongside spiritual formation and academics.