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Philosophy and Religion

Faculty

Ken Beals

kbeals@mbc.edu

Ken Beals

As an undergraduate student at Wittenberg University, I had a double major in psychology and philosophy. My graduate degrees from Boston University School of Theology were in systematic theology and church ministries, with a concentration in Biblical studies. My doctoral research examined whether and why pastors refer church members for professional counseling, and that interest has continued as I served on the Social Services Board and the Valley Community Services Board in Staunton. I was a pastor of United Methodist churches in Ohio and here in the Shenandoah Valley for 25 years, including three years as a campus minister at JMU. As a pastor I did a pulpit exchange that enabled me to serve two churches in Kingston upon Hull, England for a summer, which was a great experience for the whole family. I did my first college teaching at the former Staunton Correctional Center while serving a church full time, and my JMU experience led to an opportunity to teach graduate courses at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. Soon after that I was offered a full-time sabbatical replacement position teaching medical ethics at Wingate University, and since then I have taught essentially full time.

My academic interests include ethics (especially medical and leadership ethics), Biblical studies, and world religions. But I still enjoy teaching the basic survey course in philosophy, in which students have their first exposure to some of the Big Ideas that philosophers have struggled with for centuries.

My wife, Jackie, taught biology at MBC for 14 years and is currently a freelance science writer. Our two children are Eve, currently completing her doctorate in clinical psychology at the New School in New York City, and Kurt, a graduate student in German studies at Berkeley.

Jim Gilman

jegilman@mbc.edu

Jim Gilman

My undergraduate degree is in psychology; my graduate degrees are in theology (MDiv), classical antiquities (MA), and philosophy of religion (PhD). I am fortunate to be able to teach courses in both philosophy and religion. My favorite philosophy courses to teach are Introduction to Philosophy, History of Modern Philosophy, and Modern Political Thought. My favorite religion courses to teach are Christian Faith and Social Justice, Greek Myth and Religion, Religion, Politics, and Public Policy, and Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I have studied overseas (Oxford) and taught for a summer in Suva, Fiji. I am faculty coordinator of Mary Baldwin’s Ethics Bowl Debate Team. My recent research and publications are in Christian Ethics ( Fidelity of Heart: An Ethic of Christian Virtue, Oxford University Press) and in Philosophy of Religion ( Faith, Reason, and Compassion: A Christian Philosophy of Religion, Rowman & Littlefield Pub.). I have also submitted for publication a manuscript titled The Awful Grace of God: An Ethic of Christian Mercy.

I am an advocate of volunteerism and community service and am involved in a number of activities and organizations. I teach a college level mediation/conflict resolution course, but I also volunteer as a mediator with a local non-profit agency and with the courts. Along with some students, I helped initiate the MBC Habitat for Humanity chapter and continue to promote and participate in Habitat events. For 16 years I have been a mentor for a gentleman in the mental health community and work for the welfare of others who are mentally challenged. I also participate in peace and justice activities locally and nationally. Other interests and concerns include the Food Bank, Social Welfare Services, and the Valley Mission.

I enjoy reading poetry, hiking, music, concerts, museums, camping, and traveling internationally. I am active in a local church as a deacon, a chorister, a teacher and occasional preacher. I have two lovely children who are the loves of my life.

Katherine Low

klow@mbc.edu

Katherine Low

Dr. Katherine (Katie) Low grew up in a tiny rural town in Nebraska where she attended First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ. She studied at Doane College, a UCC affiliated liberal arts college, where she triple majored in Religious Studies, Spanish, and English. In partial fulfillment for the Bachelor of Arts, Dr. Low studied abroad twice, first, in Israel and the West Bank at Tantur Ecumenical Institute, then at Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in Santiago, Dominican Republic. After college, she became a UCC and Disciples of Christ Homeland Ministries Intern and was sent to San Antonio, Texas, to become Volunteer Summer Coordinator at Inman Christian Center. There, she worked with many ministers who consistently told her she should go to seminary, so she heeded their advice and went back to Texas for her education.

Dr. Low received an MDiv and PhD from Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, Texas. She was ordained as a UCC minister in 2004, working as Associate Campus Minister at the Wesley Foundation, TCU.Dr. Low’s course work expanded across many disciplines, reaching into art history, film studies, and multidisciplinary women’s studies.Dr. Low’s interests in Christian history, cultural and gender studies, and biblical studies led to the completion of her dissertation titled “Domestic Disputations at the Dung Heap: A Reception History of Job and His Wife in Christianity of the West.”She continues to explore intersections of religion, gender, and culture, as evident in published articles inJournal for the Study of the Old Testament,Biblical Interpretation,Journal of Religion and Film, andJournal of Feminist Studies in Religion.

Dr. Low enjoys teaching introductory courses on the Bible and introducing students to the complexities of her field. She also enjoys reading vampire novels and watching films, especially zombie related ones. Besides her spouse, Dr. Low’s family consists of one daughter who lights up her life, and two dogs who often challenge her patience.

Rod Owen

rowen@mbc.edu

Rod Owen

Dr. Roderic Owen has been a faculty member at Mary Baldwin College for over 25 years teaching introductory philosophy courses, applied and advanced ethics seminars, and a survey of the world’s religions to a diverse range of students: women in the residential program, graduate MAT students, PEGs, and returning adult students. His doctorate is from the College of William and Mary, Virginia, and his dissertation was focused on Models for Teaching Ethics at the Undergraduate Level.Over the past several years, Dr. Owen has developed and taught a seminar primarily focused on ethics and education to graduate students and an honors colloquium on Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning; helped implement community service courses and internships; and created a multi-disciplinary minor focused on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution. He has team-taught a number of different types of courses including freshman colloquia, the senior seminar in philosophy and religion, a graduate-level seminar on philosophy and education, as well as a number of interdisciplinary honors colloquia.

Dr. Owen’s areas of philosophical research and professional interest include character education; interdisciplinary approaches to the teaching of ethics; and the interfaith dialogue. His most recent sabbatical was spent at a woman’s college in Madurai, India where he led faculty seminar on interfaith issues and gave talks at the local Gandhi Centre. He is a member of the APA, the regional Philosophy of Education Society, the Association for Moral Education, the Virginia Humanities Association, the Association for Ethics across the Curriculum, and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.

In personal terms, Dr. Owen is a native of Wales and is married to Linda, a fourth grade teacher and school counselor, and they are parents to three sons — two of whom are college students. He is currently a member of the City of Staunton School Board, has served as an elder and teacher in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and recently completed a term as President of the North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History. Ph: 540-887-7309Fax: 540-887-7137

Andrea Cornett-Scott

ascott@mbc.edu

Andrea Cornett-Scott

My educational journey began at the Seven Hill Schools, a private college preparatory program in Cincinnati, Ohio. I attended Howard University and graduated from Morris Brown College receiving a BA in Spanish. My undergraduate interests in language, anthropology, and ministerial studies prompted me to study in the Dominican Republic at Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. During this study abroad experience, I became intrigued by the continuity of culture that was evident among people of the African Diaspora. I attended Payne Theological Seminary, receiving the Master of Divinity degree. While a seminary student, I led a missionary tour to Guyana, South America for the African Methodist Episcopal Church Department of Missions. My interest in African cultural continuities inspired my thesis research entitled: Ain’t Got Time to Die: the African Spiritual Inheritance of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. As a member of the Mary Baldwin College philosophy and religion faculty, I teach African-American Religion and Community and Practice, two courses that support the African-American studies minor. I have also taught religious studies courses as a part of the May Term study abroad experience in South Africa and have supervised ministerial practicums for pre-seminary students.

My work at Mary Baldwin College is shared between the philosophy and religion department and Student Affairs. For the past ten years, I have served as the Director (Dean) of African-American and Multicultural Affairs and the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs. My work as a retention specialist has helped to transform the diverse face of Mary Baldwin College. Prior to coming to Mary Baldwin, I served as the Director of Minority Affairs at Monmouth College and taught in the religion departments at both James Madison University and Virginia Tech University.

My ministerial career has spanned 28 years. As an ordained African Methodist minister, I have served three congregations: Bethel A.M.E. Church – Harrisonburg, Virginia, Ebenezer A.M.E. Church – Roanoke, Virginia, and Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church – Staunton, Virginia. I planted Christ Our Redeemer in 2000 to address the spiritual needs of college students and to offer opportunities for ministerial supervision for students interested in campus ministry. My work as the coordinator for the Virginia Annual Conference Women in Ministry resulted in programming designed to mentor and support female clergy. I currently serve as the registrar and a member of the teaching faculty for the Virginia Annual Conference Board of Examiners (African Methodist Episcopal Church).

I participated in the 1999 spring voyage of Semester At Sea traveling throughout the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Asia with my husband and son. I am an avid supporter of civic engagement and cross-cultural learning. I spend my summer hiatus playing in my garden and the school year nurturing students, helping them to become their best selves.

Edward Scott

escott@mbc.edu

Edward Scott

Edward A. Scott was born in Pittsburgh, Pa December 16, 1949. He received his BA in philosophy from Slippery Rock State University in 1971. He completed work for his MA and PhD at Duquesne University in 1973 and 1986 respectively. He took his first teaching job in philosophy in 1977 at an urban satellite for the Community College of Allegheny County. He has taught at the University of Calabar in Nigeria (79-81), Carlow College in Pittsburgh (81-82), Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio (82-86) and Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois (86-90). He has been associate professor of philosophy at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, VA since 1990. He has served both James Madison University (philosophy) and Virginia Tech (black studies) as an adjunct professor. Most recently he has served as chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and Assistant Dean of the College. He was appointed the Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College by President Fox prior to the beginning of the 2006 – 2007 academic year.

Scott’s primary interests are the history of philosophy, hermeneutics, phenomenology, aesthetics, and African-American thought. His dissertation was a study of the intellectual career of Paul Ricoeur: On the way to Ontology: The Philosophy of Language in the Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur.

In addition to his academic involvements, Scott is a member of the Staunton City School Board, a member of the Board of Advisors for the local branch of the Salvation Army, and a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Shakespeare Center. He is also devoted to the ordained ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, currently pastoring Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Staunton, VA.

In his writing and public presentations and addresses, Scott pursues a richer understanding of the intersection between sacred and profane realities as this is made evident in literature, music, politics, and religious experience. His abiding conviction is that the blues and jazz constitute daring exemplars for the manifestation of this intersection.

Scott is husband to Rev. Andrea Cornett-Scott and father to Jacob, Naima, and Ellington Scott.