Christian Curriculum

Lee’s Imago Dei Presents at CCCU Texas Conference

Imago Dei representatives from Lee University presented earlier this semester at the three-day Council for Christian Colleges & Universities International Forum 2022 in Dallas, Texas.

Imago Dei is a movement started in 2020 by a group of Lee students who are dedicated to starting conversations about social justice issues and recognizing the image of God in everyone.

“There were several moments during the presentation where hope entered the room,” said Gloria Scott-Richmond, director of Lee’s Office of Race and Ethnic Relations. “Our audience not only got a report on what was happening at Lee, but they got to realize that this movement can be replicated to bring hope to their campus culture.”

The CCCU International Forum is a quadrennial event that brings together diverse collegiate administrative representatives to discuss pressing trends and issues facing Christian higher education.

“Imago Dei is God’s idea first, we just get to be part of his movement,” Ms Scott-Richmond said. “Through this movement, we are reconciled both with God and with each other. We had humble beginnings as a movement, and we had the attitude of ‘We don’t know what will happen if we don’t try.’

Dr. Mike Hayes, vice president of student development at Lee, recommended the group apply for the opportunity to speak, and upon being accepted, they became the only student presenters at the conference. The group made presentations to various representatives of college and university administrations across the country.

“The Imago Dei workshop was a highlight of the forum, enthusiastically received by those present,” said Dr Hayes. “The many colleges and universities represented at the workshop embraced the ideas, were eager to discuss ways to initiate dialogue in critical areas on their campuses, and were impressed with the work our students are doing.”

The presentation gave attendees an idea of ​​what Imago Dei is, how it started, and how others can practically implement the same principles and movement with students on their campuses to develop leaders who create a permanent change. These handy tools include creating video series, hosting events, and offering in-depth discussion groups.

The Lee group was able to leave their presentation materials at CCCU for distribution, and many institutions began partnering with Lee to implement the program on their campuses.

In addition to its video series, Imago Dei’s curriculum has expanded to include small group discussion guides and church resources. This program was created to help colleges and churches practically implement Imago Dei discussions and advocacy. These topics range from racial reconciliation to grief, mental health, trauma, social media, cultural adoption, consent, sexual assault, and more. According to Dhuranique Ferguson, co-founder of Imago Dei and graduate student at Lee, the goal of covering these topics is to ask questions that students may be afraid to ask while engaging them in stimulating and respectful conversations.

“Although our presentation focused on racial reconciliation, we wanted to demonstrate that Imago Dei is much broader than just that topic, Ms. Ferguson said. “Imago Dei is about hope and awareness.”

Several of Lee’s professors, students and alumni were among the presenters, including Dr. Hayes; Mrs. Scott-Richmond; Mr. Ferguson; Katherine Lange, co-founder of Imago Dei and graduate student at Lee; D’Metri Mattocks, director of cross-cultural life at George Fox University and Lee alumnus; and recent alum David Williams, co-founder of Imago Dei.

Other Lee representatives present were Dr. Paul Conn, Chancellor; Darlia Conn, director of Lee’s Presidential Concert Series; Carolyn Dirksen, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Senior Fellow of CCCU; Dr. Arlie Tagayuna, Associate Professor of Sociology; and Dr. Mark Walker, Chairman, and his wife, Udella.

“The support from the President’s Office has been tremendous throughout this process,” Ms. Scott-Richmond said. “Implementing Imago Dei on our campus has been a collaborative effort of multiple Lee departments.”

During post-conference consultation meetings, Alex Staup, Director of Student Engagement at Lee, and Dr. Fijoy Johnson, Director of Special Projects at Lee, helped introduce the Imago Dei curriculum to d other universities.

“This [the presentation] helped communicate insight into what’s going on in the world, what’s going on at Lee, what it’s like at a predominantly white school, what it was like to go through the civil unrest of 2020 , and then to show what was born, what we have done, and the accomplishments that God has made through Imago Dei,” Ms. Lange said. “We also explained how a student-led initiative can make a difference.”

The leadership of Imago Dei has future goals for change and for opening stimulating conversations, both at Lee University and beyond.

“We want to create leaders who stand up unabashedly and speak about the lives of the students around them, but who are also willing to have those tough conversations and be ambassadors for them,” Ms. Ferguson said. “We hope to continue a legacy at Lee and meet the needs of the school at this time. For now, it can be about racial reconciliation, and in the future, whatever the topic, I hope Imago Dei will be there as a platform.

According to Ms. Ferguson, Imago Dei “External”, apart from Lee, has long-term goals such as establishing a scholarship for Lee, writing a book and starting a non-profit organization. . They are also in the process of completing a Bible study that churches will use as a resource.

Since 1976, the CCCU has been an international association of more than 185 Christian higher education institutions. They emphasize public advocacy, professional development, and scholarship, and experiential education while maintaining a Christ-centered perspective.

For more information about CCCU, visit cccu.org/.

For more information about Imago Dei, including past and upcoming events, the new program, or access to the movement’s Instagram and YouTube pages, visit sites.google.com or contact Ms. Scott-Richmond at [email protected] edu or his assistant, Jenica Alexis, at [email protected]