Welcoming New Contextual Education Director, 2014-2015

Written by Hannah Crivello
February 27, 2014

On behalf of Seattle University?s School of Theology and Ministry, Dean Mark S. Markuly, PhD is proud to announce that Dr. Mark Chung Hearn has accepted the position of Director of Contextual Education in the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year.
Dr. Mark Hearn, is a second-generation Korean American and the youngest child of immigrant parents. He grew up in southern California as a ?pastor?s kid? in an immigrant, Nazarene church and learned early from his parents to see and serve people and their needs. Dr. Hearn completed undergraduate degree and Master of Divinity Degree from two strong Evangelical institutions in the United States ? Point Loma Nazarene University and Asbury Theological Seminary, as well as acquiring a Ph.D. in Practical Theology with an emphasis in Religious Education and Spiritual Formation from Claremont School of Theology. Dr. Hearn wrote his dissertation on the social construction of men and their spirituality, and has ministered to all ages in ethnic-specific, multicultural, and multiracial contexts throughout the United States as a pastor, educator, director, consultant, contemporary worship leader, speaker, and volleyball coach. He is an active leader and member of a Korean American United Methodist church in Pasadena, CA.

Dr. Hearn has taught courses in practical theology, religious education, and ethnic studies. He has published and presented on issues of colorblind racism and theology, multicultural education, men and spirituality, and sports. His current interests include issues of diversity, women and men?s studies, contemporary Evangelicalism, and spiritual formation through embodied practices. He received the Presidential Award from Claremont School of Theology which is given to the top PhD graduate for academic excellence. He was also awarded the John Dempster Graduate Fellowship from the United Methodist Church, the highest academic award given for intellectual excellence, personal qualities, clarity of spiritual purpose, and commitment to ministry and the preparation of pastoral leadership.
In his spare time, Dr. Hearn enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, listening to music, reading fiction, and playing board games, the guitar, and most sports.
Dr. Hearn will have responsibility for one of the most unique aspects of the graduate student experience at Seattle University's School of Theology and Ministry ? its approach to experiential and "Contextual Education." The school believes that students bring their past, present and future to the table in the learning experience and that it is critical that they examine and critique the contexts in which they have been formed and are learning. This foundational perspective in the curriculum takes required internships and practicums to another level of depth and integration, requiring students to holistically engage all they are learning, all they know, and all they hope to become. This preparation results in a profound process of both personal and professional development that enriches students in unexpected ways.

This month, we asked Dr. Hearn some questions about this transition and the new role that he will assume.

Q: What drew you to Seattle University and the School of Theology and Ministry?
There are two answers to this question. First, the Jesuit emphasis on educating and forming the whole person is particularly appealing. I was first introduced to the Jesuit university experience when I was an assistant coach at another sister institution. It became quickly clear that the ethos of the coaching staff and program valued certain ideals more than winning at all costs. The way the head coach interacted with her staff and players spoke volumes to me. I have observed the same with my exposure to Seattle University and the School of Theology and Ministry. From the students to the Dean, all have been generous, smart, engaged, and collegial; I truly sense that the people here are concerned about a person?s whole being.
Second, Seattle University and the School of Theology and Ministry are committed to this way of education for the purposes of making a more just and humane world. I believe the conversations that integrate theological and spiritual learning with real life issues are vital to this overarching vocation. The School of Theology and Ministry addresses people and their needs right where they are and as a practical theologian and church leader, I can?t think of anything more exciting than to be with others in community who are committed to fulfilling this call.

Q: What are you looking forward to in this role?
A: As the Director of Contextual Education, I look forward to learning stories of the persons with whom I will be working. I think stories have the power to heal, change, and transform not only individuals, but also the relations between individual people and whole societies.
Furthermore, I look forward to learning the stories of the partnerships with whom I will be working. Churches, non-profits, hospitals and other institutions also have a story behind them. There?s purpose as to why they exist and so I want to hear what they do, who they are, and how we can help one another flourish in mutual giving and learning.
Finally, I look forward to working with Seattle University?s School of Theology and Ministry and its partners in forming deep and authentic leaders. A fast-changing world needs leaders who can reflect well, discern wisely, and give people a reason to trust. My hope, therefore, is to administrate and teach well, and to be an approachable person whom people can trust during these formative years at Seattle U.?

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share as a quote or reflection moving into this learning community?
A: One of my favorite authors, Parker Palmer, sums up best in one of his books that we teach who we are. As I think more on this simple reflection, I am excited about the possibilities that lay ahead in engaging my whole self with other people?s whole selves in a collaborative learning community. I am really looking forward to meeting everyone there! ?