(Reposted from the Fall 2020 issue of The ECHO Magazine)
During the summer of 2020, Dr. Tanya Solomon was named Site Director for LBC | Capital – Philadelphia. Previously, she led the Philadelphia Ally Center team as the Faculty and Student Support Services Manager. Solomon brings a wealth of experience in education to her role at LBC | Capital. She earned an M.S.Ed. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Education and Learning Technologies. Aside from leading the Philadelphia location, she also teaches in the Arts & Sciences Department. Her passion to see LBC | Capital students reach their potential has helped many achieve success both in and out of the classroom.
“Dr. Solomon is a capable educator and leader who I anticipate will do extremely well leading the LBC | Capital Philadelphia location to its next levels of achievement and impact in the city for the Kingdom of God,” said the Rev. Zachary Ritvalsky, Vice President of Institutional Alignment.
Solomon participated in a Q&A for The ECHO about her passion for the Philadelphia location and her vision for the future.
LBC | CAPITAL: As you take on this leadership role at LBC | Capital – Philadelphia, what is your prayer for students and graduates?
TANYA SOLOMON: Given the circumstances we currently face with the outbreak of COVID-19, I think we all need to hold onto hope as an anchor—and onto God as the source of our hope—to keep us fueled for the journey ahead. I draw my prayer for our students from Romans 15:13, which states, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Despite the uncertainty and chaos of our coronavirus-impacted world, God remains unchanging, omnipresent and sovereign. It is God alone who keeps us grounded and secure when all else is shaken.
LBC: The Class of 2020 graduated under unprecedented and challenging circumstances. What advice do you have for them as they begin the next phase of their life journeys?
TS: I would tell them not to be discouraged or afraid—two things I would imagine they are feeling and that most of us are battling at this time. Yes, this is indeed a time of unparalleled challenge and unpredictability, but it is also a season of unrivaled opportunity. There has never been, in our lifetimes, a time when new ideas, creative ventures and collaborations have the potential to influence so many. The citizenry of the world is looking for individuals equipped to engender hope and a perspective broader and more purposeful than the materialistic and narcissistic one that our culture has previously produced. Our recent LBC | Capital graduates are poised to do just that; they are equipped to solve problems and address challenges from a biblical worldview, bringing the power of God to bear in a world in desperate need of Him.
LBC: How is LBC | Capital – Philadelphia poised to make a difference in the city and beyond?
TS: I believe that we make a difference in our city and beyond by looking at what is needed here in Philadelphia. The need we see has prompted us to create a space where students feel they are cared about and considered, and then give them tools that can assist them in helping their communities—a common concern of our students. This may be one of the reasons that the Community Transformation & Social Engagement degree was birthed out of the Philadelphia location. We are preparing students through providing a loving yet empowering environment. We endeavor to equip our students such that they get the requisite curricular knowledge, but they are also built up and strengthened by the Word of God, support from their peers and the wisdom and experience of their instructors. I admit that this kind of community-building is a work in progress and that we still have a great deal of work to do in creating, innovating and sustaining this type of learning community. However, we have dedicated faculty and staff who take the vision and mission of LBC | Capital to heart, and we continue to attract students who have an empathy and a capacity to use the tools they have gained to impact the lives of others.
LBC: Amid racial, political, community and family division, unrest and tension, how can LBC | Capital graduates impact the nation and the world?
TS: At this time, LBC | Capital graduates need to listen, watch, ask questions and seek knowledge to understand the historical, political and economic origins of these racial tensions, divisions and unrest. These tensions are not new, nor are the anger and frustration that have been rendered visible and palpable in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder at the hand of Minneapolis police. Our students will need this knowledge to not just have head knowledge and empathy but to begin to see how they can be a part of the solution—not only in their own communities but in our country and world.
LBC | Capital graduates should not close their eyes or harden their hearts to what is going on because it may make them feel uncomfortable or think that it’s over because the unrest seems to have died down. LBC | Capital graduates, as well as each and every one of us, need to check our biases and really embrace and understand what it means to see each and every other person as being created in the image of God. When that happens, it will be difficult—if not impossible—to sit back and ignore the issue or be silent when a fellow image bearer is being treated unfairly.
LBC: How do you envision LBC | Capital – Philadelphia being a leader in urban, biblical education?
TS: I envision that we will, out of necessity, develop a model learning community that prepares servant-leaders. We do this by filling a void in this city for the many adult students who seem to have nowhere else to go or have tried secular institutions and have not found a community that accepts them for who they are. We are not the last hope for some because what we offer is of low-value but because what we offer is biblical in content and design; we look at our students as fellow image bearers who are redeemable. We will be a leader in a city that is the poorest large city in this country for this reason. We will be a leader where students from myriad backgrounds can come and be successful because we affirm their value and prepare them to be foot washers who will go out and share lessons learned here with those they are purposed to serve.
(Dr. Tanya Solomon photos by Philadelphia Picture Company)