Faculty Stories

Garrett Celebrates Three Faculty Achievements

On Friday, May 17, at the 168th Annual Commencement, it wasn’t just graduating students who took a bold step forward in their careers. Amid the day’s jubilation, President Javier Viera also led the gathering to celebrate three Garrett faculty members’ recent milestones.

                  First, he announced Rev. Dr. AHyun Lee was granted tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, Care, and Psychotherapy. Dr. Lee is a renowned expert on trauma-informed care in transnational and multicultural counseling—weaving gender and power analysis, feminist and womanist theories, and Asian theologies to expand Garrett’s offerings in practical theology. She also just returned from a delegation to South Korea, where she served alongside President Viera to strengthen ties with Korean theological institutions and the Korean Methodist Church. “The review by her faculty colleagues noted her distinguished record of scholarship, teaching and service,” President Viera said to roaring applause. “We celebrate your diligent work, and your many contributions to this community, to the church, to the academy, and most especially our students.”

                  President Viera also congratulated Dr. Débora B.A. Junker, Associate Professor of Critical Pedagogies and Director of Garrett’s Hispanic-Latinx Center, for taking on a new role. “After a decade of leading the Center, Professor Junker takes on a new role in this initiative, expanding one of the most impactful contributions she has brought to the Center and to Garrett: The Cátedra Paulo Freire,” he said. “This research and scholarly project brings together global scholars to advance Freire’s work, philosophy and witness.” At this year’s gathering, the Cátedra hosted Dr. Henry Giroux, one of the world’s foremost experts on Freire, who offered a keynote address on the role of education in times of increasing authoritarianism. As schooling becomes an increasingly contested political battleground, liberatory pedagogies could not be more important, and we look forward to all the ways that Dr. Junker will live into this crucial calling.

                  Finally, President Viera recognized Dr. Rudy Reyes for successfully completing the first phase of his professional academic career. “After faculty review of his scholarly work and teaching, the review committee unanimously recommended his continuance and renewal,” he reported. Helping to nurture the next generation of educators is a core part of Garrett’s institutional culture, and it’s with great delight that look forward to Professor Reyes’ continued growth as a teacher and scholar.

                  These three announcements accentuated an already joyful day, as Garrett sent dozens of new graduates into the world! These students’ brilliance, courage and kindness is not only a tribute to themselves, but also to the top-caliber education they received from Garrett professors. It’s only fitting and right, therefore, that we also take a moment to celebrate how Garrett scholars continue to model what theological education can build, for the thriving of the church and the healing of the world.