Three Plenary Speakers Announced for ATLA 2017
March 08, 2017
We are pleased to introduce the three plenary speakers for the 2017 ATLA Annual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, June 14-17.
These are speakers you do not want to miss.
The Rev. Dr. Christian Scharen is Vice President of Applied Research and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Theological Education at Auburn Theological Seminary of New York. His main research and writing interests center on practical theology and theological education, with a particular interest in what strengthens leaders of faith and moral courage in facing the big challenges of the 21st century. A leading scholar working at the intersection of social science and theology, he lectures and writes in the areas of innovation and change in theological education and leadership of faith communities today. He is Co-Director of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project, an ongoing longitudinal, ecumenical, national study of learning ministry in practice. He loves and writes extensively about faith and pop music, including U2, Leonard Cohen, Billie Holiday, Kanye West, and The Roots.
Prior to joining Auburn, Christian was Assistant Professor of Worship and Theology and Director of Contextual Education at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has also served as Director of the Faith as a Way of Life Program at the Yale Center for Faith & Culture and Assistant Professor of Congregational Studies and Practical Theology (Adjunct) at Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut (2004-2008). The author of many books and articles, he received his PhD in Religion from Emory University (2001). In his spare time, he runs and bakes pies, pursuits which create balance in his life. His spouse, Sonja, is the Lead Nurse-Midwife for Westside Community Health, a collection of Federally-Qualified Health Clinics in St. Paul. They have two teenage children, Isaiah and Grace.
Loretta Parham is the CEO and Director of the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library. Highly respected by the library and higher education communities, Loretta worked to transform the Robert W. Woodruff Library, shared by Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, and Spelman College, into a modern 21st century research facility known for its distinctive spaces and service. Loretta has expanded the library’s stewardship of historically significant special collections, such as the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, acquired by Morehouse in 2006 and housed in the Woodruff Library.
In addition to her work transforming the Woodruff Library, Loretta is known as a champion for librarianship and higher education, advocating with passion and clarity for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), their significant special collections, and their value regionally, nationally, and globally. She has personally served as a mentor to hundreds of librarians and is the co-founding director and founding Board Chair of the HBCU Library Alliance.
Her publications include “Achieving Diversity: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians” (with B. Dewey, 2006), “Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Custodian of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection: ‘Until Further Notice.’” in RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage (2007), and “Redesigning Services at The Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center, Inc.” in Library Workflow Redesign: Six Case Studies (with C. Hart, 2007).
Prior to joining the Robert W. Woodruff Library in 2004, Loretta served as Director of the Hampton University Harvey Library (1998-2004); Director/Administrator of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (1997-98); Deputy Director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (1991-97); and in a variety of positions at the Chicago Public Library (1977-91).
Loretta received her BS in Communications-Broadcasting from Southern Illinois University and MLS from the University of Michigan, which honored her with the Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Information in 2016 in recognition of her service to the profession.
Heather Joseph serves as SPARC’s Executive Director, leading the strategic and operational activities of the organization. She has focused SPARC’s efforts on supporting new models for the open sharing of digital articles, data, and educational resources. Under her stewardship, SPARC has become widely recognized as the leading international force for effective open access policies and practices.
A firm believer in collective action, she has bolstered SPARC’s mission through the development and leadership of effective coalitions. She convenes the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and the Open Access Working Group, broad coalitions of university, library, advocacy, and consumer groups that serve as leading voices on U.S. open access policies, including the landmark National Institutes for Health (NIH) public access policy and a recent White House Directive.
She is particularly proud to have supported the creation and launch of SPARC’s student Right to Research Coalition, an international advocacy organization that now provides nearly seven million students worldwide with opportunities to actively engage advocacy for the open sharing of research outputs and educational materials – often in partnership with the library community.
Prior to joining SPARC, Heather spent 15 years as a publishing executive in both commercial and not-for-profit organizations. She was the publisher of the first journal to commit its full content to the NIH’s pioneering open access repository, PubMed Central, and subsequently served on the National Advisory Committee for this initiative. She is also the founder BioOne, a collaborative publishing organization designed to keep non-profit publishers operating independently.
Heather is an active participant on committees and projects at several U.S. federal agencies. In 2015, she was appointed to the newly formed Commerce Data Advisory Council and tasked with providing input to the Secretary of Commerce on issues surrounding open data. She serves on the Board of Directors of key non-profit organizations supporting the open sharing knowledge, including DuraSpace, EIFL, the Center for Open Science, and ImpactStory.
Heather is a frequent speaker and writer on topics relating to opening up access to knowledge, and particularly enjoys spending time in SPARC’s member libraries.
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