Faculty Stories

Four Members of the Garrett-Evangelical Faculty Promoted to Associate Professor

Associate Faculty Promotions
Rev. Dr. Reginald Blount (far left), Rev. Dr. Timothy Eberhart (second from left), Dr. Débora Junker (second from right), Dr. G. Brooke Lester (far right)

The Board of Trustees of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary have affirmed the promotions of four faculty members to associate professor, effective July 1, 2020. They are Rev. Dr. Reginald Blount (Christian education), Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Eberhart (theology and ecology), Dr. Débora B. A. Junker (Christian education), and Dr. G. Brooke Lester (Hebrew Bible).

Rev. Dr. Reginald Blount
Associate Professor of Formation, Leadership, and Culture

With feedback from internal and external reviewers who wrote with great specificity and conviction about the importance of who Blount is as a mentor, teacher, collaborator, and a model of emancipatory pedagogy, the review committee unanimously recommended Blount be promoted to associate professor. Colleagues commended his contributions to the doctor of ministry program and curriculum, his good citizenship and entrepreneurship within the institution (Lilly Endowment Inc. grants and Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program), and his distinguished record of service to the African Methodist Episcopal Church and to Garrett-Evangelical.

Blount joined the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical in 1997. He has spoken nationally and internationally at numerous conferences and workshops helping faith communities envision new and creative ways to minister to, with, and on behalf of young people. Blount earned his doctor of philosophy degree from Garrett-Evangelical and Northwestern University’s joint program in religious and theological studies, focusing on the areas of Christian education and youth ministry.

Rev. Dr. Timothy R. Eberhart
Associate Professor of Theology and Ecology

The review committee gave Eberhart the highest recommendation for promotion. Reviewers noted Eberhart’s high professional standards and dedication to the classroom, his recognition within and beyond the seminary for his scholarship, and that he is a committed servant-leader both within the church and in the community. Specifically highlighted as a gift to the church and the academy is his capacity to speak to and to challenge the church, as a grounded United Methodist theologian who is also ecumenical in scope.

Eberhart joined the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical in 2010. He was named director of the master of arts in public ministry program in 2017. Eberhart earned a doctor of philosophy from the Graduate School at Vanderbilt University, master of divinity degree from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and bachelor of arts in religion from St. Olaf College. A sought-out speaker, Eberhart has lectured and led workshops at institutions and churches throughout the nation. His latest book Rooted and Grounded in Love: Holy Communion for the Whole Creation (Wipf and Stock), was published in June 2017.

Eberhart is an ordained elder in the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church. He has served on various boards and committees of the church, including the Northern Illinois Bishop’s Task Force on Sustainability. He is also the current North American Secretary for the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies. At the local level, Eberhart is a board member of Citizens Greener Evanston and serves on the Environmental Justice Evanston Committee.

Dr. Débora B. A. Junker
Associate Professor of Critical Pedagogies

The review committee, chaired by Dr. Nancy E. Bedford, fully endorsed the promotion of Junker to associate professor without reservation. “The review letters we received spoke of Dr. Junker in glowing terms and overwhelmingly supported her promotion,” said Bedford. “There was a wide acknowledgement of her competence, compassion, integrity, hard work, and international recognition.” In addition, Junker’s seminal work on Freire, creativity, contributions to scholarship in English, Portuguese and Spanish, and active participation in various US and international guilds all helped to secure the recommendation for promotion.

Junker joined the faculty of Garrett-Evangelical in 2016. She received her doctor of philosophy degree in 2003 from Garrett-Evangelical in education and congregational studies. She also holds a master of arts in Christian education from Christian Theological Seminary and a master in religious science (practical theology) degree from the Methodist University of São Paulo – Brazil. She also received Post-Graduated Specialization in Psychopedagogy of Early Childhood and Adolescence and a Licentiate in Letters from the Methodist Institute of Higher Education of São Paulo – Brazil.

Dr. G. Brooke Lester
Associate Professor of Hebrew Scriptures

The review committee enthusiastically recommended Lester for promotion to associate professor. “Dr. Lester’s work has gone above and well beyond the requirements for promotion,” said Dr. James Papandrea, who chaired the review committee. “He is able to integrate traditional and cutting-edge models of scholarship and teaching, and his future potential for publishing and other contributions is promising indeed. To the committee’s delight, Dr. Lester also spoke of the transition to mid-career in terms of servanthood and the mentoring of the next generation of scholars.”

Lester has served as a faculty member at Garrett-Evangelical since 2007. He earned his doctor of philosophy from Princeton Theological Seminary, a master of theology from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, and a bachelor of fine arts from Drake University. His research interest centers on inner-biblical allusion as a figurative rhetorical trope.

Lester has published several articles, co-authored Handbook to A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew (Abingdon, 2005), is a contributor to Effective Social Learning: A Collaborative, Globally-Networked Pedagogy (Fortress Press, 2015), and is the author of Understanding Bible by Design: Create Courses with Purpose (Fortress Press, 2014) and Daniel Evokes Isaiah: Allusive Characterization of Foreign Rule in the Book of Daniel (T&T Clark, forthcoming).