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Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College appoints new academic dean

Northeastern Seminary at Roberts Wesleyan College is pleased to appoint Dr. Beth Gerhardt as its new academic dean. Gerhardt, who currently serves as professor of Theology and Social Ethics, will assume her new role on July 1, 2022, following the administrative retirement of Dr. Douglas Cullum who has served as vice president and dean of Northeastern Seminary since 2010.

As academic dean, Gerhardt said she hopes to help shape academic programs that are supportive for both students and faculty and build opportunities for students to step into their roles. Gerhardt hopes that with her new role, the seminary can build better relationships within the community of Rochester, and help online students build relationships with their communities as well. “I see students as the leaders — present and forthcoming leaders — and we are thinking through how the seminary can better empower them to be spiritual and theological leaders in this very, very challenging and divisive time.”

In addition to more flexible learning opportunities, Dr. Gerhardt says she wants to ensure greater diversity within faculty — racial, gender, and theological diversity — to reflect the student body. Serving as the academic dean, she will be the first woman to do so. “I think it’s not enough to talk about equality and women in leadership, we have to have it. We can’t talk to women here and yet not see them leading in the classroom or leading in administration.”

Dr. Gerhardt’s earned degrees include Th.D., Boston University School of Theology, 2000; Masters of Sacred Theology (STM), Boston University School of Theology, 1995; M.S.W., Rhode Island College, 1986; M.A., Religious Studies, Providence College, 1983; B.A., the State University of New York at Geneseo, 1977. 

Dr. Gerhardt has an extensive background in the areas of theology, church history, and social ethics. Dr. Gerhardt’s research interests focus on the application of the theology of the cross to contemporary global justice issues and church response. Other topics of interest include Martin Luther’s theology of the cross, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ethics and theology, women in church history, spirituality and social justice, and global violence against women. Dr. Gerhardt’s most recent publication is titled, The Cross and Gendercide: A Theological Response to Global Violence against Women and Children (InterVarsity Press, 2014).