Assistant Dean and ProfessorDepartment of Religious Studies
208 Monroe Hall
B.A., Reed College
M.A., University of Chicago
Ph.D., Brown University
As the dean for the Echols and Humphreys Associations for over eleven years, I have enjoyed working with College students to meet their academic advising needs. U.Va. students come from a wonderfully diverse set of backgrounds, but all are bright, inquisitive, and responsible. My main advice to students is to take time to find out what you love, pursue it relentlessly, and success will follow. Liberal arts education is not training for a particular career path, but is an education for life. The skills that you will learn here to reason critically, think creatively, communicate clearly, research deeply, and work collaboratively will serve you in whatever endeavors you will pursue.
As a professor of Religious Studies, both here and elsewhere for nearly twenty-five years, I love to teach, and I have taught a range of courses in modern religious thought, social ethics, and comparative philosophy of religion. My current teaching and research interests have two foci, the American legacy of philosophy and religious thought and the African-American tradition of social criticism. The former focus is addressed in my course, RELC 3222: From Jefferson to King, which explores the connections among diverse thinkers including Edwards, Jefferson, Emerson, James, Addams, Niebuhr, Baldwin, and King. The latter focus is addressed in AAS/RELG 3200: Martin, Malcolm, and America, which examines the legacy of religiously informed social protest from the early abolitionists to the Civil Rights Movement. In addition, I’m currently teaching in the Forums curriculum, along with my colleague Erin Eaker, on the topic Visions of the Good.
I have been happily married for over twenty-five years to my wife, Leslie, a clinical social worker. We have two children, a son who is a college graduate and a daughter in college. I enjoy running, exploring the outdoors, listening to jazz, and traveling.