Message from the Principal and Dean

Frederick TappendenEducating the Whole Person

St. Stephen's College is committed to Educating the Whole Person. Our faculty and students participate in learning that engages not just the mind, but also the body, the spirit, and the social/relational. In doing this, St. Stephen's places a particular emphasis on the centrality of spirituality and healthy spiritual practice within every sector of our lives. We are a community of learners and spiritual seekers from across faith traditions and worldviews, welcoming each other to develop and to grow through the mutual giving of ourselves to each other and to our subject matter.

By Educating the Whole Person, St. Stephen's centres itself upon certain key ideas: academic and spiritual inquiry, openness to one's self and one's neighbour, interpersonal and professional engagement, and the cultivation of imagination that is expansive and resilient. These are the foundational components of the College's life and offerings, and they inform our educational and communal life together.

Today, more than ever, St. Stephen's is leaning into its commitment to inquiry, openness, engagement, and imagination. At the moment of writing this welcome message (late-May 2020), our world is in the throes of the COVID-19 public health crisis. While no part of our embodied, intellectual, and spiritual selves has escaped the impact of the coronavirus, our social/relational selves have been acutely altered. Physical-distancing measures are currently in place around the globe, and our personal and public gatherings are limited by provincial health directives. This has a direct impact at St. Stephen's, where all courses are being delivered online until further notice, and our staff and faculty are working remotely until it is safe again to gather. Undoubtedly, the 2020-2021 academic year will be unlike any other in the College's 112-year history.

To all our students, both new and returning, all of us at the College extend to you our warmest greetings, our highest hopes, and our full support through the many twists, turns, and challenges this year will bring. As you pursue your professional and academic goals, the entire faculty, staff, program committees, senate, and board of the College are here to support you, to encourage you, and to ensure healthy structures are in place to help you succeed.

Now more than ever, the world is in need of the kind of educational experiences that St. Stephen's College provides. As a theological college, St. Stephen's seeks to shape ministry and therapeutic practitioners by fostering personal transformation in the midst of academic excellence and professional training. Our graduates have gone out from St. Stephen's and they have made tangible contributions to fields as diverse as mental health, spiritual care in the public health system, ministry and religious leadership, education, advocacy, and public life more broadly.

The tenuousness of our world requires leaders and practitioners who are well grounded in themselves and their faith tradition/worldview. Our world requires leaders and practitioners whose bodies, minds, spirits, and relational selves are fully engaged with the physical, intellectual, spiritual, and social complexities of our time. Now more than ever, St. Stephen's commitment to Educating the Whole Person is contributing to the transformation and healing of our society and our world.

Frederick S. Tappenden, PhD
Principal and Dean, St. Stephen's College