Welcome to the 2012 College Theology Society online election, February 15-March 31. This year, we will be electing new officers in several positions: President (two-year term, followed by a two-year term as Past President); Vice President (two-year term); Secretary (three-year term, renewable); and Board of Directors (two members, each serving a three-year term). The Nominations Committee (Julie Hanlon-Rubio; John Sheveland; and Anita Houck, chair ex officio) and the Board chose our candidates from among those nominated by our membership. We thank each of our candidates very sincerely for their service to the Society and their willingness to stand for election.
The candidates have provided brief biographies and statements that are posted according to the alphabetical order of the candidates' last names. After reading each candidate's biography and statement, please click the link below—or select from the menu to your right—to enter the voting system.
Thank you for your participation in CTS!
Click here to review the candidates' biographies and statements. Click here to vote.
Shannon has been a member of the College Theology Society since 1985 attending the annual convention all but a few years in the past 26. A Sylvania Franciscan, Shannon is Professor and Chair of Theological Studies and Director of the Master of Arts in Theology at Lourdes University. She is the faculty moderator for Theta Alpha Kappa at Lourdes and the coordinator of the Annual Ecumenical Lecture Series that has brought speakers to the University for thirty years. She is the author of Quilting and Braiding: The Feminist Christologies of Sallie McFague and Elizabeth A. Johnson in Conversation, published by the Liturgical Press, 1998. She is a contributor to The Saint Mary's College Study Bible, 2007. She earned a Doctorate in Systematic Theology from Marquette University and a Masters in Theology from the University of Dayton. She has shared her Franciscan way of life and her love of Jesus and the Scriptures with her students for forty-one years.
Candidate Statement: I am deeply committed to the College Theology Society. I have presented papers and also served as a respondent. My service to the Society began with my role as the convener of the Contemporary Theologies section. Soon after, I was appointed by the Board to serve as the Executive Director of Annual Conventions (2000-2005). During those five years, I worked with the Board members to increase the number of participants and to add to the number of publishers who attended the convention. I was elected Vice President of the Society and served for two years (2009-2010). I is always my hope that new members of the Society would be mentored and encouraged by the long-standing members as I was in the early years of my career. Through my involvement in CTS I met individuals who were committed to teaching and to advancing the discipline through scholarly contributions. I was determined to make a similar contribution in my own work and to the Society. If given the opportunity once more to offer my service to the CTS, I will continue my commitment to growing the Society and to the ongoing mentorship of new theologians as teachers and scholars.
I have been a member of the College Theology Society for nearly thirty years. I have served as coordinator of the American Catholic Life and Thought group and a member of the Board. I also served as co-editor with William Portier for the College Theology Society Annual Volume 42, 1996: American Catholic Traditions: Resources for Renewal. I have actually read all the minutes of the Board meetings from 1954 through 2004 as part of my research for the fifty-year history of the College Theology Society. The history is entitled: Joining the Revolution in Theology: The College Theology Society, 1954-2004. I received a "2007 Presidential Recognition" for the history. For the past eight and a half years, I have served as chair of the Religious Studies Department, at the University of Dayton, where I have been since 1992. Prior to that, I taught at Saint Mary's College, South Bend, Indiana, and Loyola College of Maryland. Currently, I am working with Dr. Claire Renzetti, a sociologist, on editing a multi-disciplinary collection of essays examining clergy sexual abuse. I am also contributing an essay to that volume. In June, I will complete my term as chair and finally finish my history of U.S. Catholic women's entrance into the study of theology.
Candidate Statement: I am honored to receive the nomination to serve as president of the College Theology Society. I envision the leadership of the Society's president to be threefold. First, I see myself working with the Board to make the annual meeting a time for energizing our commitment to teaching and scholarship. Such work includes identifying convention themes that encourage us to explore the contemporary landscapes of theological and religious studies, assisting the local coordinator, the convention director, and the volume editor in identifying those scholars who might best help us consider the theme from a variety of perspectives, and doing whatever I can to contribute to the experience of the convention as one of hospitality that is so important to participants' experience of the annual meeting as energizing for their work. Second, I am committed to working with the Board in the ongoing discussions concerning the College Theology Society's future. One of my questions is: How can the Society's members best offer support to one another in our teaching undergraduates and graduate students and our research in the changing contexts of academic life in colleges and universities? Important to the Society's ability to engage these changing contexts is welcoming new members, particularly younger colleagues, into the work of the Society and continuing our collaboration with the NABPR and perhaps other groups who might share common interests. Third, I understand that my role as president may include representing the Society in the public forum including work cooperating with other learned societies such as the Catholic Theological Society of America, responding to various inquiries including those from the media, or engaging in conversation with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops or other official ecclesial entities. I would take very seriously this role of representing the Society. It would be a privilege to do so.
Nominees for Vice President
Maureen H. O'Connell is associate professor of theology at Fordham University and has not missed a College Theology Society annual meeting since first attending as a graduate student in 2003. She co-convened the Mysticism and Politics section with Bill Clark from 2005-08 and then served on the Board from 2007-10. She co-edited the society's Annual Volume, Religion, Economics, and Culture in Conflict and Conversation (Orbis Books, 2011), with Laurie Cassidy and chairs the committee on Race, Diversity and Pedagogy. In 2009 she worked with Cassidy to secure a nearly $15,000 grant from the Wabash Center for a pre-conference workshop to address racial diversity in the undergraduate theology classroom. She and Cassidy supported CTS member Alex Mikulich and Anmol Santiani in executing two workshops, "The Gift and Challenge of Diversity: Race, Diversity and Pedagogy," at the University of Portland in 2010 and Iona College in 2011. She currently serves on the board of the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies and on the Development Committee of the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, an international organization of ethicists and moralists.
Candidate Statement: Since I credit my experiences with the College Theology Society for my professional growth as a theologian, I would support ongoing efforts to make the society a welcoming and mentoring place for graduate students and junior faculty. I would continue to work with fellow members who are passionate about addressing diversity within the CTS—in everything from convention themes and speakers to membership and leadership—by bringing their concerns and ideas to the Board and thinking constructively with fellow Board members about new possibilities. Finally, the CTS's willingness to explore the pedagogical dimension of our vocations as theologians is something that sets this academic society apart. If elected to serve, I would make that legacy a priority by working to garner Board support for pre-conference workshops, further development of pedagogical sessions in the convention program and likewise the annual volume, and taking advantage of the connectivity afforded to us by our top of the line website.
David has been a member of the CTS since 1995. As a fledgling professor in Interdisciplinary Studies in the College of Professional Studies at USF (where he served as professor and administrator for nearly 15 years), he was introduced to the Society under the auspices of work in experiential learning. His first presentation (in collaboration with Carola Brucker) was in the Section on Experiential Learning and Theology in 1996. He subsequently served as the Section convener from 1997-2001, while the group underwent an evolution of focus, and finally merged with the section on spirituality of learning. He also presented a paper in the Section on Philosophy of Religion in 1997 (Course and Discourse: The Implications for Theological Practice of Contemporary Theories of Cognition, Language, and Learning). From 2001-2011, he co-convened with Jerry Vigna the Section on Spirituality, Pedagogy, and Technology, which was also a 'work-in-progress' (bearing three different labels over that time period). In 2006, he co-convened the National Convention at Regis (with Terry Dempsey), entitled God's Grandeur: Art and the Imagination in Theology. In 2007, he edited the CTS annual volume (No. 52) of the same title. Throughout the past 15 years, the bulk of his presentation and publication work has explored the intersection of educational and organizational spirituality, the mission and network of Jesuit educational ventures, and the impacts of technology and media on Ignatian formation and pedagogy. In his highly interdisciplinary professional life, the community of CTS has provided a theological anchor for conversation and interaction with emerging areas of investigation, and companions in the continuing dialog between theological reflection and institutional religious affiliation.
Candidate Statement: Over nearly twenty years, the College Theology Society has been a theological home, a conversation venue, and a playground for my constantly evolving relationship with theological discourse, spirituality, and the reflective unfolding of life in the universe of organized (?) religion. It is appropriate that my connection to the CTS as a longtime and varied convener has been an indicator of my life as an evolving intellectual. Whereas thirty years ago many of my questions were largely metaphysical, epistemological, and aesthetic, my inquiries now incline to the neurocognitive, the quantum-mechanical, and the holistically spiritual—within a complex-systems/organizational framework. Just a theological wayfarer in the Garden of God! Given my inveterate pre-disposition to the multi-disciplinary, I have explored a great number of the sections (especially the 'new' fields) under the CTS umbrella. If chosen to serve as Vice-President, I suspect my many years of collegial connection, linked with a desire to enhance the lived and unfolding relevance of theological conversation in both church and world, might help to add a uniquely integrative voice to the future deliberations of the Society as it explores and articulates the divine/human interaction in theological terms.
Nominees for Secretary
Nicholas Rademacher has been a member of the College Theology Society since 2004. He has presented five papers since that time and was co-convener of the American Catholic Life and Thought section from 2008-2011. An assistant professor in the Religious Studies Department at Cabrini College in Radnor, PA, Dr. Rademacher teaches courses in faith and justice; Catholic social thought and practice; and church and state among others. His research focuses on the history of radical Catholic groups in the United States with a special emphasis on the pre-Vatican II period. Additionally, he is developing a classroom curriculum to facilitate interfaith dialogue and service in collaboration with an area homeless outreach center, local ecumenical groups and Cabrini College's participation in the White House Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge.
Candidate Statement: I consider it an honor to be nominated for the position of Secretary for the College Theology Society. I bring with me experience as Recording Secretary of the American Catholic Historical Society as well as administrative experience in various capacities through committee work at Cabrini College. If elected, I look forward to working cooperatively with the board in faithfully fulfilling the duties of Secretary.
Mary Ann Zimmer has been a member of the CTS since 2007. She is an assistant professor in religious studies at Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In the CTS she has presented papers in the sections: Theology of the Church; Art, Literature and Religion; and Mysticism and Politics as well as presenting in the Consultation on Race, Diversity, and Pedagogy. She is on the steering committee of the Women's Caucus and is co-convener of the Mysticism and Politics section. For the last two years she has participated in the pre-convention Wabash teaching workshop, "The Gift and Challenge of Difference in the Classroom." She is the author of Mary 101: Tradition and Influence, has published in the 2010 CTS Annual Volume, and has a chapter forthcoming on images of the immaculate conception and women's agency. She is currently engaged in ecumenical and interfaith ethnographic research on the ways that religious responsibility in the secular world is preached by clerics and understood by congregants. She is interested in the interface between formal theology and the self-understandings of peoples of faith in the everyday world.
Candidate Statement: To me the CTS offers its members opportunities for professional development as a theologians and teachers with the companionship of intelligent and generous colleagues. In addition it has proved to be a voice for professional theology in the public sphere. I am happy to have the opportunity to offer myself as a candidate for secretary because I see this as a facilitative service that supports the work of the organization for the sake of all it offers to the members. It is a type of "housework" without which an organization cannot fulfill its function. I could also bring to the position skills in process, experience in a multitude of large and small organizations, and a talent for helping groups find the words to express themselves precisely.
Nominees for the Board
After majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, I did some graduate work at Andover-Newton Theological Seminary before full-time graduate work at Duke University Divinity School, receiving the MTS degree. I was planning on attending Marquette for the PhD but then read God For Us by Catherine Mowry LaCugna and changed my direction toward studying trinitarian doctrine. My dissertation, "'God is Faithful, He Cannot Deny Himself': Karl Rahner and Jürgen Moltmann on Whether God is Immutable in Jesus Christ" was directed by Robert Krieg. After the MA and PhD from Notre Dame, I taught in a visiting capacity at Dominican University and Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, as well as various ministry programs for Chicago's Archdiocese and the Diocese of Gary, IN. I then taught at Notre Dame for three years and am now in my fourth year as Assistant Professor at the University of San Diego. Teaching for me is an appetite that I don't like to live long without; I am energized by the interaction of a classroom. Teaching has also led to my research interests, which include the relationship between visual art and theology, especially the interpretation of art as a theological resource. I am also interested in the unusual places theology is done, such as popular culture. To this end, I have published "The Trinity in the Gnadenstuhl Motif: Illustrating the Cross as Event of the Triune God" in the 2007 CTS annual volume, God's Grandeur: the Arts and Imagination in Theology, ed. David Robinson, and "Arius, Superman and the Tertium Quid: When Mythology of Popular Culture Meets Christology" in the Irish Theological Quarterly 73/1 (2008); another article, "The Feminine Face of God Is My Face: On the Empowerment of Female Self-Portraiture" will appear in She Who Imagines: Feminist Theological Aesthetical Ethics, edited by Maureen O'Connell and Laurie Cassidy. I am currently working on a book, Embodied Witness: The Doctrine of the Incarnation and Visual Art.
Candidate Statement: I have been a member of CTS since 2006; it was with CTS that I delivered my first professional paper after the PhD and after a bit of a lull in academic life as I was focused more on my children and teaching than on publication. CTS gave me the confidence to return to the sort of material that made me passionate about doing theology again, primarily because of the environment CTS creates for emerging scholars: an environment in which one does not feel as though one's career is "on the line" in the presentation of a paper. Academia is a difficult establishment; however, sometimes the most important pedagogical tool we can give as educators and scholars is simply encouragement. CTS provides a rare opportunity in academia to receive encouragement and critique, and even when necessary, the chance to "cherish failure." Failure sharpens vision, allowing the emergence of the radically new, but rarely in academia are we permitted to make mistakes. After that first convention, I wanted to become more involved with CTS because CTS gave me both the confidence and the chance to fail, providing an invaluable resource for what it means to do theology. In the end, as theologians trying to say something coherent about "God," we are all miserable failures. I was so appreciative of this insight that I agreed to co-convene the Women and Religion section for four years and am now co-convening the Philosophy of Religion section, and will hopefully someday serve on the Board. However I can, I wish to support CTS in its organizational endeavors to try, fail and get back up again, since that is also what we do as theologians.
Tim Hessel-Robinson is Assistant Professor of Spirituality at Brite Divnity School, Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, TX. He holds a Ph.D. in Christian spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. He has been a member and regular attendee of CTS since 2006 and has presented 3 papers at the annual meeting. He served as co-convener of the Spirituality section from 2008-2010. He also serves as co-chair of the Christian Spirituality Group of the AAR and is a member of the editorial board of Spiritus. His recent publications include Spirit and Nature: Studying Christian Spirituality in a Time of Ecological Urgency (2011), co-edited with Ray Maria McNamara, RSM; a chapter in Christian Spirituality: The Classics, ed. by Arthur Holder; and articles in Studies in Spirituality, Liturgical Ministry, and Liturgy. His teaching and research interests include the history of Christian spirituality, sacramental theology, and ecological theologies.
Candidate Statement: I became involved in CTS at the end of my graduate studies and found an immediate and warm welcome. I deeply appreciate the venue CTS provides for the scholarly study of spirituality (through the Spirituality Section). From the beginning of my involvement three things have struck me as significant about CTS. First, there is a spirit of collegiality and hospitality at the meetings. Second, CTS provides an excellent forum for younger scholars to share their work and interests, and to assume leadership roles. Third, CTS members know how to enjoy themselves at their meetings! As a board member I would work to maintain these distinctive characteristics about the Society and its annual meetings. Another emphasis for me would be to continue to widen the circles of diversity (ecumenically, religiously, and culturally) that make up the CTS. I appreciate the many efforts that are already being made along those lines by CTS members; I would encourage those efforts to continue and expand, while trying to maintain the distinctive ethos and "intimacy" that I believe marks the CTS.
Pat Lynch, S.J., a graduate of the University of Chicago Divinity School, has been a member of the CTS since the late 1980s, although he had a 9 year break to serve his order in administrative capacities during part of the 1990s and the early years of the twenty-first century. From 2005 until 2008 he was convener of the Justice and Peace section and has been over the years a referee for the Annual Volume. From 2008 until the present, he served on the Awards Committee and chaired it in 2011. On this committee he helped to develop criteria for the evaluation of non-print scholarly media to keep the CTS abreast of new scholarly methods of publication in the digital age. He also delivered papers at the 2005 and 2007 conventions and organized and delivered a paper for a panel, evaluating Mark J. Allman's Who Would Jesus Kill? in 2009. His recent publications include an article (with Carol A. Munschauer, Ph.D.) "Religion as a Path to Emotional Well-Being," in Human Development. Another article (with J. Patrick Mizak, Ph.D.) on "Catholic/Jesuit Values in an Introductory Religious Studies Course" will soon appear in Teaching Theology and Religion and reflects the CTS' mission to find effective ways of teaching theology and religious studies. His current research studies continues this commitment more broadly by studying the presence of Jesuit values among recent Jesuit college graduates, a project begun as a Carnegie Scholar for Teaching and Learning (CASTL) in 2008.
Candidate Statement: As a Director, I would be very interested in pursuing the academic, educational, and interreligious goals of the CTS. During my years of membership my interaction with fellow CTS members has greatly stimulated both my scholarly and teaching development. When convening the Justice and Peace section, I also made an extra effort to include quality graduate students' work in the program. I would hope to increase graduate student involvement in the CTS in ways similar to that done by the American Academy of Religion to keep a steady influx of new members at the same time as developing programing of interest and importance for the continuing development of senior theologians and Religious Studies professionals. In addition, I have a special interest, as a department chair at a predominantly teaching institution and as a former CASTL scholar, to study and improve college teaching. I would therefore work to increase the CTS' involvement in the scholarship of teaching and learning and expand our focus to include more programming about online education, a rapidly growing area in higher education. Having been trained in an interreligious context, especially at the University of Chicago, I have much appreciated our interaction with the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion. Further collaboration with other ecumenical and interreligious groups is another priority that I want to pursue to expand the CTS' intellectual and religious vision.
It is a great honor to stand as a candidate for the CTS Board. My first contact with the Society came as a graduate student. Having recently taught my first class, I was excited to share ideas with and learn from those with more experience. I presented in a session on pedagogy, and my essay was published in the 1999 annual volume. That initial encounter with wise, knowledgeable scholars so willing to share their expertise drew me into regular participation in the life, work, and celebration of the CTS. I have been happy to serve as a referee for the annual volume in 2002, 2009, and 2010. This past year, Tobias Winright and I enjoyed the great privilege of planning the conference and editing the annual volume. From 2007 to 2011, I served as co-convener of the Ethics Section, thanks to Steve Casey's generous invitation and mentoring.
Candidate Statement: The CTS is distinctive in its collegial welcome to all, especially to newcomers to the guild, and in its attention to pedagogy as an important component of the teaching and learning process so central to the academy and to ecclesial communities. I am committed to helping the CTS continue to engage in these practices of intellectual hospitality.