Houghton College Mosaic Center Announces Staff Additions

Houghton College’s Mosaic Multicultural Center has named The Rev. Julian Cook, director of Houghton College Bethel, and Dr. Änna Pettway, assistant professor of psychology, as advisors for inclusive excellence.

The creation of these positions resulted from President Shirley A. Mullen’s special task force on diversity, which recommended the hiring of Mosaic Center staff to focus on increasing the diversity of faculty, staff, and students; promoting cultural competence; and creating a climate at Houghton where people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds feel welcomed and celebrated.

“I’m thrilled that Rev. Cook and Dr. Pettway will be serving Houghton in this way,” says Dr. Michael Jordan, dean of the chapel and interim supervisor for the new positions. “So often, Christianity is a divided faith, with Christians across color lines often seeing the faith in wildly different ways. Julian and Änna will be so good at helping us ensure that we become a Houghton where real conversation and growth can actually happen.”

Cook comes to Houghton College from Boston, MA, where he served as the senior pastor for St. Mark Congregational Church and as the assistant director of Thurman Networks at Boston University (BU)’s Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground. He is a 2013 graduate of Houghton College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in vocal music and Biblical studies. He went on to earn his M.Div. with a concentration in religion and the academy from BU. Rev. Cook has earned numerous awards for his commitment to prophetic social engagement and, as a research assistant, aided in the completion of three major works: Volumes 4 and 5 of the Papers of Howard Washington Thurman and The Ground is Shifting: The Future of the Black Church in Post-Racial America. Cook has also authored several academic articles, including, “Good Religion Must Rise Up: A Response to Moni McIntyre’s Keynote Address, The Role of Race/Ethnicity, Sex/Gender and Class in Identity Formation,” and “Singing the Blues on a Note of Hope.” He is currently pursuing a doctorate in religion, philosophy and social ethics from Drew University.

Dr. Pettway holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Spring Arbor University, and both master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Detroit Mercy. As a professor, Pettway has been involved with many committees focused on improving the climate for underrepresented students. Since joining the faculty at Houghton last year, she has given workshops titled “Through Whose Eyes? What Eye Color Can Teach Us About Racial Segregationand“Where Do We Go From Here? Practical Tips for White People Who Seek Racial Justice.” She also developed a new course, Psychology of Race and Racism, which explores the ways in which prejudice, racism, power, and privilege have led to human suffering.

Cook and Pettway are excited to support the advocacy that student government members have been doing, provide an extra level of care for students of color, and collaborate with student leaders to develop inclusive initiatives. According to student body president Shaphan Hestick, “The Mosaic Multicultural Center is a dream come true for a lot of diverse students on campus and there is a collective expectation that it will enable of the thriving of minority students. Änna Pettway and Julian Cook have had a longstanding and positive relationship with students of color.”