New Keenan Chair Holder a Sign of St. Mike’s Commitment to Catholic Education

Dr. Cynthia Cameron

The University of St. Michael’s College is celebrating the appointment of Dr. Cynthia Cameron to the Patrick and Barbara Keenan Chair in Religious Education as a crucial step in renewing the vital relationship the University has with Catholic educators.

“The appointment of Dr. Cameron embodies St. Mike’s commitment to honour and build upon these historic partnerships in Catholic education through teaching and research, serving teachers and administrators not only here in Toronto but also across the province and, indeed, the country,” says University President Dr. David Sylvester.

Cameron, who has a special interest in the development of Catholic adolescents and the impact of ministry in schools, is currently an assistant professor of Religious Studies at Rivier University in New Hampshire. She will join St. Michael’s Faculty of Theology on July 1, 2021. She has also taught at Boston College, Loyola University New Orleans and Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.

“I am delighted to be joining St. Michael’s because it is an extraordinary opportunity to work in a world-class faculty and to think theologically about Catholic education with colleagues and students who are as passionate about it as I am,” says Cameron, who earned her doctorate in Theology and Education from Boston College. “It is also an honour to be the next Keenan Chair and to be a part of important conversations about Catholic religious education in Ontario.”

Cameron’s research focuses primarily on the intersection of Catholic theological anthropology and questions of age—and particularly in regard to adolescents. Her work responds to the question of how age affects the ways we think about what it means to be human.

The question is of particular importance to how ministry is carried out in the Church, and especially in school settings with adolescents, she says.

“My current project involves bringing one age and gender—female adolescence— into conversation with both theological anthropology and developmental psychology in order to think about the mission of all-girls’ Catholic high schools. In it, I suggest that the all-girls’ Catholic high school is a particular place where adolescent girls can fully flourish in a culture that often marginalizes and even damages them,” she says.

Cameron’s research and specialization will be of particular interest to the many Master of Religious Education (MRE) students studying at St. Michael’s who work at the high school level, says the Faculty’s Interim Dean, John L. McLaughlin.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Cameron join the Faculty,” McLaughlin says. “A key component of our institutional mission as a Faculty is to provide educators with a strong  theological base to help their students take on life’s big questions. Dr. Cameron’s area of expertise will offer our MRE students invaluable insight and direction.”

Cameron will teach courses within the MRE program, including the Philosophy of Catholic Education, Faith Development Across the Lifespan, and Religious Education in Multifaith Contexts, as well as courses for the MTS and MDiv programs. She will also teach and supervise graduate students through the Graduate Centre in the Toronto School of Theology.

The Keenan Chair was established in 2002 thanks to the generosity of Patrick and Barbara Keenan , launching a major graduate teaching initiative in religious education in Canada’s largest English-speaking Catholic university. Each spring, the University also hosts the Patrick and Barbara Keenan Lecture.

St. Michael’s is a Roman Catholic Faculty of Theology in the Toronto School of Theology, an ecumenical federation of seven theological schools affiliated with the University of Toronto. The Faculty is committed to theological teaching and research that is interdisciplinary, ecumenical and sensitive to multi-faith and multicultural contexts.  We seek to form students for service in Church and society through faithful and rigorous scholarship grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition.