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Resources for Writing Faculty Faith Essay

Dear Prospective Whitworth Applicants:

Thank you for your interest in Whitworth University. As you will have seen on our website, we describe ourselves as "a different kind of Christian university." What makes us different from other faith-based universities is the fact that our faculty do not sign faith statements. Instead, faculty candidates interested in positions at Whitworth are asked to write a short essay describing their faith. Faith plays an important role for Christian scholars at Whitworth where we are particularly interested in exploring the intersection of faith and learning. Whitworth describes itself as an institution with Presbyterian, evangelical and ecumenical identities. We welcome Christian scholars representing the theological spectrum of Christianity and not just one particular branch. We don't expect faculty candidates to be steeped in the rich tradition of the integration of faith in learning. However, through faculty mentoring programs and workshops, we provide resources to new faculty members so they can find productive ways to teach from a Christian point of view.

While Whitworth is unapologetically a Christian institution, the university embraces academic freedom and the scope of theological and ideological convictions among our faculty is broad. We value intellectual generosity, the ability to generously engage with each other's viewpoints. When you look at our faculty's profiles, you will encounter colleagues who are considered leaders in their fields. There is good reason why Whitworth has been consistently ranked as one of the top schools in the West.

Since the 1990s, we have used Martin Buber's metaphor of the "narrow ridge" to describe the educational enterprise at Whitworth. Beginning in 1907 and throughout his works, the Austrian-Jewish philosopher Buber evokes the term to denote a space between extremes, where true dialogue was possible. In a recent essay, Whitworth's President Beck Taylor points out that Buber's narrow ridge was not to be confused with a "happy middle": "Rather, Buber described the ridge as sometimes precarious, always potentially dangerous, and a place where the topology could potentially cause missteps and stumbles" (Beck Taylor, Walking the 'Narrow Ridge' of Calling and Academic Excellence, in Campus Life: In Search of Community, Drew Moser and Todd C. Ream, eds. (Downers Grove: IVP, 2019), 71). Educating on the "narrow ridge" in Whitworth's case means rejecting both relativism and fundamentalism and creating a space where rigorous academic inquiry and faith can intersect.

Watch a video from our Dean of Spiritual Life Forrest Buckner describing Whitworth's Christian identity.

We look forward to receiving your application.


Gregor Thuswaldner
Whitworth University Provost & Executive Vice President