Dr. Debbie Roberts has been named half-time assistant professor of reconciliation studies at Bethany Seminary, to begin July 1, 2013. This new position at Bethany was created to help implement intentional coursework in conflict transformation within the Seminary’s curriculum. Helping students develop acumen and skills in this area from a theological perspective is a goal named in the Seminary’s five-year strategic plan and the current Reimagining Ministries campaign. As part of Bethany’s revised curriculum, students will also be able to take courses in conflict transformation to earn a ministry focus within the MDiv degree or an emphasis within both the MDiv and MA degrees.
Roberts holds a BA from Berea College, an MA from Bethany Theological Seminary, and a PhD in women's studies in religion from Claremont Graduate University. Her dissertation research was "A Critical Appraisal of Conflict Resolution Theory and Methodology." As an adjunct faculty member at the University of La Verne, she taught in the areas of conflict transformation, mediation, women’s studies, and intercultural studies and has also held a one-year appointment as assistant professor of religious ethics at Berea College. Roberts has spoken widely in academic and religious settings on mediation, conflict transformation, and peacemaking from various perspectives and has done community consulting and advocacy work. Within the Church of the Brethren, she has pastored two congregations and currently serves as an area minister for the Pacific Northwest District.
Ruthann Johansen, president, said of the appointment, “I am pleased that Debbie Roberts will help launch more focused attention on conflict transformation in Bethany's curriculum in this new position. She brings an educational background in theology, her understanding of theories and methodologies of conflict analysis and transformation, and significant practical experience in working with congregations as well as cross-cultural groups.”