Bob ‘66 and Carol Parke '67 have established the Parke Ethicist in Residence Program to provide ethics suppor...
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August 25, 2016
Knox College recently welcomed its first director of spiritual life, a new position within the Division of Student Development. Lisa Seiwert officially joined the Knox community on August 8. She came to Knox from the Chicago Theological Seminary, where she served as director of admission and recruitment since 2012.
"First and foremost, like all of us in Student Development, Lisa is an educator and will engage students in programs and dialogues around issues that are core to being human: compassion, understanding, equality, justice," said Vice President for Student Development Anne Ehrlich. "She is also, in many ways, a counselor, and will help students navigate their personal, ethical, and spiritual lives."
Seiwert will also be of service to the entire Knox community providing, as Ehrlich says, "thoughtful care for our students, faculty, staff, and alumni."
After receiving her bachelor's degree from Michigan State University, Lisa Seiwert began her career in social work. In 2008, she returned to school to pursue her master of divinity followed by a master of sacred theology, both at the Chicago Theological Seminary. She has worked with many faith-based, community organizing groups throughout her career, including Chicago Regional Organizing Group for Antiracism, The Night Ministry's Youth Outreach Team in Chicago, and ISAAC (Interfaith Strategy for Advocacy and Action in the Community). She is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
Seiwert, whose office will be located in the College's Center for Intercultural Life, views her position as a resource for the entire Knox community. "I believe this role at Knox has the potential to help build spiritual resiliency to the enrichment of the community as a whole and to individual students, staff, and faculty," said Seiwert.
The addition of a director of spiritual life to the College is part of the Knox 2018 Strategic Plan, which includes three overarching goals: to advance Knox's distinct approach to liberal learning, to engage Knox's diverse, vibrant campus community, and to ensure a Knox education for generations to come. "The hiring of a director of spiritual life is an initiative that connects multiple goals within our strategic plan," said Vice President Ehrlich.
"Advancing Knox's distinct approach to liberal learning requires that we intentionally focus on the development of the whole student, which includes spiritual development. The director will also play a key role in engaging our community by promoting vibrant multi-faith dialogue and cooperation throughout our community."
The new position is funded through donor support and is an example of where college initiatives intersect with donor interest. "A very important aspect of education takes place outside of the classroom," says the donor, who prefers to remain anonymous. "It will be wonderful to have someone who can help students work through the sometimes difficult personal and philosophical issues that confront them as they make the transition between living at home and, eventually, taking their places in the world after Knox."
Seiwert will dedicate her first year at Knox to building relationships with members of the Knox community, ultimately helping her to shape the role into an integral component of the Knox experience. "By the end of the academic year, I hope to have a clear vision statement for this role and strategies and plans in place to guide the coming years," she said.
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