The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology welcomes Dr. Craig Detweiler as its new president, effective January 1. Dr. Detweiler is The Seattle School’s third president and succeeds Dr. Keith Anderson, who served for 12 years before retiring in October.
Dr. Detweiler and his family were introduced to the Seattle School community during a meet-and-greet luncheon with staff and faculty on January 3, after moving up from southern California, where he had worked as Professor of Communication and Creative Director of the Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture at Pepperdine University.
“At the core of both The Seattle School and my calling is the importance of story.”
With extensive experience as a screenwriter, filmmaker, and author, Detweiler says that his background in telling stories is part of what connects him to the mission of The Seattle School. “At the core of both The Seattle School and my calling is the importance of story. I am primarily a storyteller, and I’ve dedicated my life to helping others tell their stories with honesty and creativity. Now I’m honored to step into storytelling trails that were blazed by Dan Allender and articulated and solidified by Keith Anderson.”
Storytelling has long been at the heart of Detweiler’s work. He received an MFA from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and an MDiv and PhD in Theology and Culture from Fuller Theological Seminary, and his cultural commentary has been featured on Nightline, CNN, Fox News, NPR, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. His books, including iGods: How Technology Shapes Our Spiritual and Social Lives and the upcoming Selfies: Searching for the Image of God in a Digital Age, offer creative looks at the stories we tell and what they say about who we are and who we were created to be. Detweiler’s education and experience reflect his capacity for thoughtful leadership at the intersection of text, soul, and culture.
As he settles into the role of president and considers the days and weeks ahead, Dr. Detweiler says he is looking forward to immersing himself in the culture of The Seattle School and getting to know its history and ethos. “Job number one is to understand The Seattle School’s story,” he says.
That does not mean the days ahead will be idle; Dr. Detweiler is approaching his work with a sense of urgency about the need for thoughtful discourse and integrative education. This, too, is part of what draws him to The Seattle School. “Here’s a place that’s trying to go deep in an era when we’re so distracted by shiny surfaces. Here’s a place committed to being thoughtful and reflective amidst a traumatized culture. And I say: how rare, and how refreshing.”
The Seattle area itself is a profound reflection of this need for thoughtfulness and depth, says Detweiler. As the Pacific Northwest witnesses unprecedented growth and technological advancement, the tension between innovation and sustainability is evidenced by growing pains throughout the region. “At the core of that tension is our humanity,” says Detweiler, who believes that cultivating both the creativity that drives innovation and the thoughtfulness that yields sustainability will be crucial to his role as president. “How do we relate to technological innovation and the pace of change in a humane and sustainable way?”