Clive Foster - Multi-Faith Manager
With the NTU vision of a Global Community and Clive’s passion for valuing faith from around the globe an exciting chapter (for both) begins.
The job brings together all of my biggest passions – faith, social justice, and helping people to reach their potential. NTU has helped me find my calling.
When I was younger, my big ambition was just to work in London.
And I made it. I was working in the Gherkin, on the top floors. But once I’d got there, I felt empty. I missed Nottingham, I missed my church, and I started asking some big questions about life.
I guess that’s what I’m here for today. To provide a supportive environment where people can ask – and answer – those questions. I think I’ve found my calling, and I’m trying to make the world a better place in my own little way.
I studied Chemistry here, back in ’88, so it feels like I’ve come full circle. The job brings together all of my biggest passions – faith, social justice, and helping people to reach their potential. We want our students to be able to say: “my university acknowledges I’m a person of faith, and supports me.” In higher education, that’s not as common as you’d think.
I’ve got three main responsibilities: creating a positive environment for staff and students of faith; providing places and spaces to practice those faiths; and building relationships with different communities across the city. We get the key players round the table, so there’s voices from the top-down, and the grass roots-up.
When we asked our students last year, 43% of them identified with a faith. The University mirrors what’s happening the world, and so we’re building a programme of initiatives and opportunities to create an interfaith dialogue. I believe that the people who can understand – and work across – different faiths are going to put themselves in a really advantageous position, in terms of how the world’s increasingly working.
The strapline of NTU’s chaplaincy is “Supporting students of all faiths, and none”. Moving forwards, we want to create more and more events where people with and without faiths can explore, talk, question and challenge. Being in an environment where we can talk about these things in a way that’s informative, supportive and non-threatening – yet still allows for constructive disagreement – is so important.
And to me, that’s the spirit that really characterises NTU.