After eight years of service and leadership as Professor of Biblical Studies, Dr. Jo-Ann Badley is ending her time at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology to become the Dean of Theology at Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Ambrose University enrolls an average of 800 students, with 14 faculty in the theology department. As Ambrose University’s Dean of Theology, Dr. Badley will oversee the seminary programs, including the Master of Divinity, several M.A. programs, a small number of certificate programs, and the undergraduate ministry training program. Her time helping to cultivate the curriculum at The Seattle School and its unique style of education has prepared her well for her new position. “I envision my first task to be listening to dreams of the theology faculty and students at Ambrose, seeking to understand the unique contribution of this place to the work of the kingdom of God,” Dr. Badley said when asked about her new position. “I am also excited about learning how the Canadian church has changed in the eight years I have been away.”
During her final month as a faculty member, The Seattle School community continued to express their gratitude and say goodbye to Dr. Badley in many ways, including honoring her at the annual Spring Banquet, celebrating her with The Seattle School’s staff, and inviting her to give the charge to the 2014 graduates. Watch her speech, as well as a special recognition of her service, below.
Dr. Keith R. Anderson, President of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology, shared these words of reflection, gratitude, and blessing for Dr. Badley upon her departure:
Reflections from Dr. Anderson
I came to The Seattle School with Jo-Ann. I liked her immediately because I found in her qualities and characteristics one doesn’t always find in colleagues—curiosity, intensity of conviction, and commitment to the craft—ah yes, commitment to the craft. When I struggle to find the words to describe my respect for this woman, I come down to one. She is a teacher, an educator. Some faculty are performers where the outcome is really to create a sense of hype around them. Some faculty are academics in a distant and detached way—more interested in their own research and study than in the craft.
One summer evening, Wendy and I had dinner at Jo-Ann’s home. We were invited to climb the stairs and enter a sacred place, a holy place, a living workshop. It was filled with more books than it could probably handle, books piled upon piles of books…papers, monographs, notes, outlines, and more books. But it was more than Jo-Ann’s office or study or studio, as Dwight would call it—it was the workshop of a craftswoman—someone committed to knowing for the sake of something that obviously was alive. It was a holy place and a holy moment for us to stand in her workshop—that place where thought and preparation, dedication and discipline, study and sweat were at work, a place where tools were used as holy implements. Books were not there to be read—ideas were present that were to be encountered—for the sake of something more than ego or entertainment or narcissistic awareness. Ideas were there to be confronted and wrestled with for the sake of something more.
A few months ago, I sat in the commons downstairs for an admissions event and listened to Jo-Ann talk about why she believes in resurrection. It was in that moment that I knew without a doubt—she is an educator, a scribe for the sake of the reign of God. It doesn’t stop with the sheer delight she has for knowing in her study—it has to be taught, shared, and spoken aloud in a place where others will be confronted, too—including her faith in resurrection and the craft itself that she honors everyday in the integrity of her scholarship. She is courageous to practice in the face of us all as she plies her craft.
I have worked in higher education for 30 years this year in 4 institutions. I know dozens of teachers, but I know only one Jo-Ann Badley—one who I believe will become an extraordinary dean in Calgary because everyone in The Seattle School community knows what I know—she is an extraordinary teacher.
And we at The Seattle School have had the difficult joy of knowing her. She is not easy. She cares too much for that to be her legacy here. Extraordinary teachers are just that—extra ordinary, rare, hard to come by—and not easy. I will miss Jo-Ann because she has been a teacher to me in this place. I let her go to Calgary because, as I told her last fall, it is good for the sake of the kingdom of God; it is good for theological education in North America.
It’s our sacrifice to let her go. But we do so with trust that she will spend all of her days there as she did here—as a scribe for the sake of the reign of God.