President Stephen J. Sundborg, SJ has acknowledged the contributions of both Dr. McNair and Dr. Cunningham on behalf of Seattle University and the School of Theology and Ministry with the award of Faculty Emeritus. Provost Isiaah Crawford, PhD, presented the honor at this past month?s Faculty & Staff Appreciation Celebration on Friday, May 30, in the North Court of Connolly.
Dr. Cunningham has contributed to the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University for 19 years.? He joined the school as its? first Protestant faculty member and was instrumental in the school?s intentional design as an ecumenical institution.? As the school has broadened its efforts to educate students in a culture of diversity matching our rapidly changing world, Dr. Cunningham has played a significant role in faculty decisions around interreligious programming, and the recruitment of an ethnically and culturally diverse student body and faculty and staff. Dr. Cunningham reshaped the idea of field education and the student practicum in graduate theological education, moving it away from a field education model to a more holistic concept of Contextual Education.? This methodology embodies a holistic and multi-dimensional learning process that has been influential nationally in many theological schools.
Dr. McNair joined the faculty of the school in January of 2006 for the specific purposes of founding a master degree in pastoral counseling. ?He laid the complicated foundation for the school?s Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling, jump starting the degree and the clinical site structure that is necessary for a quality degree program of this nature.? Dr. McNair has helped to mature the school?s pastoral counseling degree, most recently in focusing it more intentionally into a degree that integrates spirituality into the clinical specialization of couples and family therapy.? In order to emphasize this transition, the School of Theology and Ministry counseling program is now officially called the Master of Arts in Relationship and Pastoral Therapy, beginning with the 2013-2014 academic year.
While Dr. Cunningham and Dr. McNair are transitioning out of their roles at the school, both have done an incredible job in passing the baton of service to those that will take responsibility in their stead. Dr. Mark Hearn will be transitioning into the school as Director of Contextual Education and Dr. Christie Eppler will be serving as Program Director of the MA in Relationship & Pastoral Therapy program in the upcoming 2014-2015 year.