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Faculty and Staff

Religion Department Faculty

The department's faculty are active in a number of professional scholarly organizations, including the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. Also productive scholars themselves, faculty present papers, chair conference sessions, and write for publication. Work published by members of the department in recent years includes a considerable number of books and many articles on a wide variety of subjects.

Constance R. Barclay
Administrative Assistant, Modern Languages and Religion
Office: Main 215
Phone: 563-387-2160
James Barker
Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion
Office: Main 303
Phone: 563-387-2983

Education: Ph.D., New Testament and Early Christianity, Vanderbilt University; M.T.S., Biblical Studies, Vanderbilt Divinity School; B.A., History and Religious Studies, University of Tennessee, Knoxville  

Research Interests: Interrelations of the Gospels; Canonization of the New Testament; Second-Century Christianities

Learn more about James Barker

Sean D. Burke
Associate Professor of Religion
Office: Main 201
Phone: 563-387-2985

Education: Ph.D., Biblical Studies, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California; M.Div., Lutheran Theological Seminary; B.A., Judeo-Christian Heritage, Concordia College

Research Interests: Eunuchs, sex in the Bible, queer theory and the interpretation of scripture

Learn more about Sean Burke

Wanda Deifelt
Professor of Religion
Office: Main 203A
Phone: 563-387-2147

Department Head

Education: Ph.D., Joint Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Northwestern University Doctoral Program; M.T.S., Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; B.A., Faculdade de Teologia, Escola Superior de Teologia

Research Interests: Contextual Christian Theologies (particularly feminism and liberation), Reformation, Ecumenism, Interdisciplinary Studies on Embodiment, and Interfaith Dialogue

Learn more about Wanda Deifelt

Evgenia Fotiou
ACM-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Office: Koren 304
Phone: Faculty, Student

Education: Ph.D., Anthropology and Latin American Studies, University of Wisconsin – Madison; M.A., Anthropology, University of Wisconsin – Madison; B.A., Communication and Mass Media, National and Capodistrian University of Athens, Greece

Learn more about Evgenia Fotiou

Todd Green
Assistant Professor of Religion
Office: Main 203
Phone: 563-387-1791

Education: Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; M. Div., Columbia Theological Seminary; M.A., Vanderbilt University; B.A., Birmingham-Southern College

Research Interests: Secularization and Islamophobia in the West, Interreligious Dialogue

Learn more about Todd Green

Scott Hurley
Assistant Professor of Religion
Office: Ockham House 104
Phone: 563-387-1788

Education: Ph.D., East Asian Studies, University of Arizona; M.A., East Asian Studies, University of Arizona; B.S., Family Studies, University of Arizona

Research Interests: New religions of China and Japan, early-mid twentieth century Chinese Buddhism, animal rights and welfare issues

Sharon Jacob
Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion
Office: Main 303A
Phone: 563-387-1138

Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion

Gereon Kopf
Professor of Religion
Office: On Leave (2013-14)
Phone: 563-387-1497

Education: Ph.D., Religious Studies, Temple University; M.A., Temple University

Research Interests: Zen Buddhist philosophy, Kyoto School, personal identity, deconstruction ethics

Learn more about Geron Kopf

James Martin-Schramm
Professor of Religion
Office: Valders 372G
Phone: 563-387-1251

Education: Ph.D., Christian Ethics, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York; M. Phil., Christian Ethics, Union Theological Seminary in New York City; M. Div., Parish Ministry, Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary; B.A., Doctrines of Human Nature, Pacific Lutheran University

Research Interests: Ethics, Energy, and Climate Policy; Theological Ethics and Duties to Future Generations; Christian Social Ethics; Campus Renewable Sustainability Initiatives

Learn more about James Martin-Schramm

Guy Nave Jr.
Associate Professor of Religion
Office: Main 202
Phone: 563-387-2143

Education: Ph.D., New Testament Studies, Social History of Early Christianity, Yale University; M.Phil., New Testament Studies, Biblical Interpretation, Yale University; M.A., New Testament Studies, Greco-Roman Milieu, Yale University; M.Div., Biblical Studies, New Testament Exegesis, Princeton Theological Seminary; B.A., Psychology, Oral Roberts University

Research Interests: Origins and social history of early Christianity, social implications of biblical interpretation, the relationship between Christianity and empire, the relationship between scripture and faith

Learn more about Guy Nave

Robert F. Shedinger
Associate Professor of Religion
Office: Main 301
Phone: 563-387-1276

Education: Ph.D., Religious Studies (with distinction), Temple University; M.A., Religious Studies, Temple University;  M.Div., Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary; B.S., magna cum laude, Civil Engineering Tech, Temple University

Research Interests: The Syriac versional tradition of the New Testament, theoretical approaches to the study of religion, Christian-Muslim relations in the contemporary world

Learn more about Robert Shedinger

Terry Sparkes
Associate Dean and Dir. of Curriculum Dev and College Honors
Office: Dahl Centennial Union 262E
Phone: 563-387-1005, 563-387-2165

Education: Ph.D., University of Chicago Divinity School, History of Christianity; M.Div., Colgate Rochester Divinity School/Bexley Hall/Crozer Theological Seminary; B.A., Denison University, French Language and Literature

Research Interests: Immigration and religious diversity in the U.S.; religion, politics, and culture; religious fundamentalisms and modernity; religion and identity in modern American fiction; interdisciplinary studies and the liberal arts; global peace and justice studies

Learn more about Terry Sparkes

Karla Suomala
Associate Professor of Religion
Office: Olin 303
Phone: 563-387-1277

Education: Ph.D., Hebraic and Cognate Studies, Hebrew Union College; M. Phil., Hebraic and Cognate Studies, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; M. Phil., Hebrew Bible, Rabbinics, and Judaism in the Greco Roman Period, Hebrew Union College; B.A., Comparative Literature, University of Michigan

Research Interests: Jewish, ­Christian, and ­Muslim dialogue; biblical interpretation: Jewish Hellenistic, Rabbinic, early Christian fathers, Syriac; Pentateuch; biblical themes in Early Renaissance art

Learn more about Karla Suomala

Kristin Swanson
Associate Professor of Religion
Office: Main 204
Phone: 563-387-1346

Education: Ph.D., Religion, Vanderbilt; M.T.S., Trinity Lutheran Seminary; B.A., summa cum laude, California Lutheran University

Research Interests: Judah at the end of the 8th century BCE, Book of Judges

Learn more about Kristin Swanson