Dr. Susan S. Phillips leaves Executive Director’s position at New College Berkeley, Dr. Timothy Tseng and Mr. Craig Wong named new Co-Executive Directors

Provided by New College Berkeley

BERKELEY, CA – February 2, 2022 – The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is pleased to celebrate the 27-year leadership of New College Berkeley (NCB) Executive Director, Dr. Susan S. Phillips, who left the position at the end of last year. New College Berkeley’s commitment to promoting the integration of scholarly Christian faith with everyday life is central to Dr. Phillips’s sense of call as a sociologist, spiritual director, and professor of sociology and Christian spirituality. New College Berkeley has been an affiliate of the GTU since 1992.

Dr. Phillips has led NCB since 1994, staying true to its core mission of shaping Christian thought in all spheres of life, while also creating a new model of institutional nimbleness during a cultural decline in interest in theological education. Under Dr. Phillips’ visionary leadership, New College responded to the ever-shifting needs of students, including an increasing interest in Christian spirituality and spiritual formation. As a leading voice within this discipline, Dr. Phillips developed one of the country’s most highly regarded programs in group spiritual direction, serving the university and the church. Working with a remarkably gifted faculty and staff—especially long-time Associate Director Sharon Gallagher—and a supportive Board of Trustees, she developed vocational forums, lectureships, conferences, retreats, speakers’ series, and a variety of graduate level courses. As Academic Dean, Dr. Phillips was instrumental in NCB joining the GTU as an affiliate. She has served on the Rostered and In-Residence faculty since 1994, and she has been a member of the GTU’s Core Doctoral Faculty since 2016. 

Dr. Phillips extended the NCB vision to new locations and communities, bringing her disciplinary expertise and wisdom to NCB-sponsored courses at churches, graduate courses at seminaries, and lectures in universities. Dr. Phillips has taught regularly at the GTU, Fuller Theological Seminary, San Francisco Theological Seminary (in the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction program), and Regent College (British Columbia, Canada). She serves on the editorial boards of Radix and Presence magazines, and the APA journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice.

How the ethic and practices of care shape us as people is a compelling concern for Dr. Phillips. Much of her writing—including the CHOICE Award-winning book The Crisis of Care: Affirming and Restoring Caring Practices in the Helping Professions (with Patricia Benner, Georgetown, 1994), Candlelight: Illuminating the Art of Spiritual Direction (Morehouse, 2008), and The Cultivated Life: From Ceaseless Striving to Receiving Joy (IVP, 2015)—and teaching are in these areas. 

Dr. Phillips will maintain her service within the GTU and on the NCB faculty, continuing to direct spiritual formation programs, as she welcomes new leadership. The NCB Board of Trustees is honored to have joined Dr. Phillips in her 27-year Directorship of NCB, and joins in honoring her in this new phase of life. 

“I applaud the good work of the Trustees and the ED Search Committee in their careful work of discerning the next leaders for New College Berkeley,” Dr. Phillips writes. “By God’s grace, they have invited just the right people to lead the ministry with fresh vision and with wisdom cultivated through years of leadership experience.”

As Dr. Phillips concludes her Executive Director’s role, New College Berkeley welcomes Dr. Timothy Tseng and Craig Wong as the next Co-Executive Directors. Dr. Tseng was Associate Professor of American Religious History at American Baptist Seminary of the West (now Berkeley School of Theology) and as Core Doctoral Faculty at the GTU, from 2000 to 2006. He has published in the areas of Asian American Christianity and race and religion. Tim founded the Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity (ISAAC) and served as a pastor at Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church in San Jose. He is also the Pacific Area Director of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Graduate and Faculty Ministries.

Mr. Craig Wong was born and raised in the Bay Area, with strong connections to NCB while staffing at UC Berkeley with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in the mid-1980s. Mr. Wong has since served on the staff of a Presbyterian congregation in San Francisco for nearly 24 years, before founding Ekklesiae, a ministry that fosters gospel conversation and solidarity across culture, tradition, and generation. Mr. Wong also has extensive experience in nonprofit consulting, coaching, and grant-writing. He is currently working on a Doctorate of Ministry in The Sacred Art of Writing at Western Theological Seminary (Holland, MI).   

Dr. Tseng and Mr. Wong would like to see New College Berkeley become a “third” space where congregational leaders, academics, spiritual practitioners, community leaders, and everyday disciples can gather, learn, and be equipped for faithful proclamation and embodiment of the Christian gospel within today’s complex social, political, and religious milieu.

“It is with great thankfulness that I join the Board of Trustees in welcoming Dr. Tim Tseng and Craig Wong to the directorship of New College Berkeley,” Dr. Phillips writes. “Both men have been acquainted with our ministry for many years and are eager to lead it in serving our large constituency and in expanding its reach, especially more deeply into the community of UC Berkeley. They bring remarkable gifts and experience to this work!”

A celebration of Dr. Phillips will be held in the near future. More information will be forthcoming at gtu.edu.