Dr. Mary Hess to Hold the Keenan Chair in the 2016-2017 Academic Year

Dr. Mary Hess to Hold the Keenan Chair in the 2016-2017 Academic Year


Mr. David Mulroney, President of the University of St. Michael’s College, is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hess to the Patrick and Barbara Keenan Visiting Chair in Religious Education for the 2016-2017 academic year in the Faculty of Theology.

A graduate of Yale University, Harvard University and Boston College, Dr. Hess is Professor of Educational Leadership at Luther Seminary. She is the Past President of the Religious Education Association and a long-time consultant for the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. Much of her research has focused on the role of media literacy in religious education. The most recent addition to her extensive list of published works is a chapter entitled “Teaching and learning comparative theology with millennial students,” in Comparative Theology in the Millennial Classroom, which is edited by Mara Brecht and St. Mike’s Associate Professor Reid B. Locklin.

“I’m drawn to St. Mike’s for two reasons,” explains Dr. Hess. “I know its reputation because I have friends who’ve studied there and, given my own research, I am very interested in the work Marshall McLuhan did at St. Mike’s in media literacy.“

During her year at the Faculty, Dr. Hess will conduct research related to media and religious education. She will also teach a course geared to students in the Master of Religious Education degree stream, as well as deliver a public lecture.

“Working with students is less and less about the transfer of knowledge and more and more about teaching them to be critical thinkers. The knowledge base is more dynamic, less stable. Teachers have to adapt to that,” Dr. Hess says.

“Having Dr. Hess with us next year will provide an excellent opportunity to engage in the conversations we need to have regarding how best to educate students in a world where media is evolving at an incredible pace,” says Dr. James R. Ginther, Dean of the Faculty. “Her presence among us reflects the importance the Faculty places on ensuring we meet the needs of our students, and especially Catholic educators, who play a critical role in the faith education and development of young people.”

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