Merry Christmas! I hope the days ahead are a time of renewal, filled with good food, conversation, music and books, and relatively free of grading, year-end reports, second-semester preps . . .

In this final report of the year I am fortunate to be able to celebrate lots of fine work by our colleagues. At the end, I offer some brief thoughts on Advent, aware that the season will resonate differently for many people in New England this year.

Blessings to you, your friends and families as we remember the coming of Emmanuel.

Mark Sargent

Updates

Tito Paredes

Tito Paredes to Continue as Professor of Anthropology

I’m delighted that Rubén (Tito) Paredes, currently a visiting Professor of Anthropology, has agreed to join Westmont for an additional two years. One of the evangelical and ecumenical leaders in Peru, Tito was a founder of the Evangelical Andean-Amazonian Missiological Center, designed to educate the indigenous population. He completed his Ph.D. from UCLA and his M.Div. from Fuller, and since 1994 has been the Director and Professor of Anthropology and Missions at the Orlando E. Costas Graduate School of Mission in Lima. Over the last couple decades he has served on numerous boards and commissions for organizations such as World Vision, the World Council of Churches, and the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. For over a decade he was the General Secretary of the Latin American Theological Fraternity, and has written widely on issues of human rights, human needs, and Christian responsibility. I look forward to his involvement in a range of college programs.

Global Education

New Position: Director of Global Education

At the December faculty meeting I announced the establishment of a new position—Director of Global Education. We have launched the search, with expectations of an appointment before next fall. The Director will provide leadership and oversight of our off-campus and international study programs, working with the faculty and administration to explore new sites, set educational priorities, develop budgets, and address safety and security matters. Finalists for the position will be interviewed on campus. For a job description and information about the search, click here. As we open this search, let me commend Bill Wright, who has overseen the global programs so capably in the past several years, especially as he has juggled so many other responsibilities. He has served the off-campus programs with great diligence and care.

Nerve

Center for Social Neuroscience

During several recent presentations on the anticipated Global Leadership Center, President Beebe mentioned that the new facility will provide space for several of our academic and co-curricular programs to host and to conduct events. One of the new ventures that will sponsor events and forums at the leadership center is the Center for Social Neuroscience, a project for which the president has secured two years of start-up funds. Since the early 1990s, social neuroscience has emerged as a new interdisciplinary field of study that seeks to understand how biological systems shape and are shaped by social behavior. Social neuroscientists are concerned with the mutual causality of neural and social processes. Currently associated with the Department of [continue reading...]

The final days of Advent

Candles

So far, at every Westmont Christmas gathering that I have attended this year, we have sung "Joy to the World." That's no surprise: it is the most widely published carol in the English language.

When it was first printed in 1719, however, it was not a Christmas song, but an anthem about the Second Coming. Isaac Watts wrote the hymn as one of his "Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament." "Joy to the World" is based on the latter half of Psalm 98, which expresses the hope of the Hebrew people that the Lord's reign would extend beyond Judah. Watts carries that vision of "righteousness and equity" into the Christian future, forecasting the hour when the earth will "receive her King." It is a vision of final things: the day when the Savior "rules the world in truth and grace," not the birth of a child born to suffer and to die.

I suspect that there were few services last Sunday—the third in Advent—during which there were not prayers for the families whose children died in Newtown. At the service [continue reading...]