Robert A. Hurteau, Ph.D., director of the Center for Religion and Spirituality, is a former missionary who has continued right on since with a multitude of service-oriented roles in pastoral and theological fields and a keen focus on diversity.
Within LMU Extension over the last five years, Hurteau has greatly expanded offerings in Hispanic ministry and related topics, worked in partnership with the African American Catholic Center for Evangelization to bring into existence a program in African American Ministry which offers students backed by their home church a tuition at one-third of regular price, developed partnerships for training women religious at low cost, and administered a comprehensive need-based scholarship program that applies to all the Center's varied educational options.
In addition, Hurteau has been heavily involved in constructive dialogue between various religions and peoples, standing firmly in partnership with the L.A. Hindu-Catholic Dialogue, the L.A. Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue, and a seminar on Jewish-Catholic relations, all of which periodically are held on the LMU campus.
He approaches these roles not at arm's length, but in addition to his heavy administrative duties, personally teaches in the Hispanic ministry programs, which were founded under the umbrella of Estudios Pastorales by Fr. Allan Deck, S.J., and now have a new iteration as Estudios Ministeriales. In addition, during Hurteau's tenure as director, the program was widened to serve more people with all-Spanish courses toward Certificates: Cuidado Pastoral (Pastoral Care), Administracion Pastoral, and the Instituto Bíblico Católico, a comprehensive long-term Bible study for laypeople.
The COPIM outreach, Cultural Orientation Program for International Ministers, is the Center's way of bringing together ministers not native to the United States to learn more about their new posts and how to approach U.S. cultural dynamics, learned in a way that affirms their native culture. Hurteau coordinates these workshops as well as the Regional Summer Seminar on Formation for Hispanic Ministry, which gathers together directors from throughout the states of Nevada and California to support the development of programs in the two-state region.
Outside LMU, Hurteau is on the board of Fuller Theological Seminary's School of Theology, working to improve programs and help create community ties for its programs. He is a past president and current member of the Association of Professors of Mission, an ecumenical group of people who teach in the area of mission, and is a volunteer with its sister organization, the American Society of Missiology, which focuses on Christian mission, currently serving on its board of publications.