Professor of Psychology | Director of Teaching, Learning & Faith Integration
Years of Service: 39
What brought you to Whitworth, and what kept you here?
There were two events that were especially memorable in my initial introduction to Whitworth. First, while in graduate school, I met Whitworth alumni who spoke so warmly about their experience of community and learning here that it caught my attention. Second, even when visiting, I was impressed by the commitments to faith that grounded the institution and, within that context, by conversations I witnessed on campus around difficult issues – conversations that seemed not to be limited by boundaries of fear. Those same factors – warm community and valued friendships, commitment to thoughtful discussions of faith, interest in difficult and challenging ideas, willingness to remain within community even across differences of experience and views – have made this a wonderful place to work.
What is one unforgettable moment you experienced in a class?
That would have to be when Greg Orwig played the part of Teresa of Avila in a Core debate.
What is one unexpected thing a student has taught you?
I have learned and gained so much from students. I've witnessed courage in the face of unbelievably tragic life circumstances; I've seen regrouping and resilience in the wake of failure; I've seen courage in speaking with conviction and compassion at the risk of friendship; and I've been inspired by interest in ideas. Some of my own views have changed as a result of hearing students' stories.
How have you changed since coming to Whitworth?
There are ways in which I've remained the same – core convictions, basic inclinations and values. But I've been changed in countless ways. One thing that comes to mind first is how I've been enriched by Whitworth's "big tent" approach to living out faith; I've come to realize how important it has been for me to learn from people whose traditions and expressions of faith are different from my own. That's just one change. There are many more.
What parting advice would you offer current students and lifelong learners alike?
I've valued others' challenges to me to risk failure.
What is one Whitworth experience, value or memory that you'll carry with you into retirement?
I've been here for 39 years. It's pretty hard to reduce that to a single memory, I'm afraid. There's so much for which I'm grateful: valuable insights into teaching and ideas that I've gained from faculty colleagues (especially through team-teaching; I've learned so much from colleagues in Core!); warm relationships with staff colleagues whose capable front-line work I was able to witness first-hand – especially in some of the very challenging situations faced by student life staff; the many students whose lives, ideas and commitments have inspired me; and the chance to work with wonderful, capable colleagues – especially, of course, my favorite historian and wonderful spouse, Dale Soden.
What do you look forward to in retirement?
Pretty much everything.