Palm Beach Atlantic University has established the position of Fellow in the Council for Intercultural Engagement. Dr. Terriel Byrd, professor of urban Christian ministry and coordinator of the evening ministry program, is the unanimous choice for this significant role.
“This is an awesome task, a work that must involve a collective intentional effort from faculty and staff, and Dr. Byrd is the right man for this calling,” said Dr. Bernie Cueto, vice president for spiritual development.
A recipient of the University’s Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching, Byrd will be the first professor in this role. Recently, the University established an educational fund named in his honor for students of color, the Dr. Terriel Byrd Scholarship. Dr. Nathan Lane, associate provost, explains that the fellowship exists to foster a climate of trust and respect as it helps students to think differently about various cultures and diversity.
“As a Christ-first institution of higher education, the University seeks to be intentional and systematic in its efforts to embrace and advance principles of inclusion—we want this to be a part of the design of curricular and co-curricular programs, which contribute to our Christian campus culture,” Lane said.
He added that Byrd will assemble a diverse task force, including students, alumni, donors, faculty and staff this fall to gather to discuss issues and topics through a variety of unique perspectives. Byrd is ready for this expanded role beyond his classroom teaching.
“I believe that the profound message of the Gospel is one of love, redemption, reconciliation and justice,” Dr. Byrd said. “The Bible teaches that racism is not just a skin issue, but a sin issue. It must be addressed in the heart and home before it moves to the street corners and capitals. At PBA, we want to continue to develop as a place of multicultural understanding that reflects the beautiful diversity of the Kingdom of God. Everyone has a role to play in God’s Kingdom agenda for PBA and the community. We must all commit to take steps in this direction as we equip our students, faculty, and staff to understand and engage the global realities of an ethnically-diverse society. We want to do this as an exercise in Christian hospitality where no one is treated as an outsider,” he added.
“Dr. Terriel Byrd is a beloved and trusted faculty member,” explains President Dr. Debra A. Schwinn. “I am excited for Dr. Byrd to bring people together for honest, candid conversations, which I believe will expand the way our community thinks about diversity, equality, and justice. I am grateful he accepted this very important role.”