Chair’s Welcome

Dr. Molly Bassett and family.

When I wrote last year, the Department was just beginning a year of reflection on our past and planning for the future through a process called Academic Program Review. We have completed the review, outlined an action plan for the next five years, and begun implementing it. I’m excited for you to learn about our focus on Applied Religious Studies and our developing specialization in Religion and Health.

But first, I want to share some special news . . .

At this year’s meeting of the American Academy of Religion, the AAR will recognize Dr. Kathryn McClymond with the Ray L. Hart Service Award. As you can see in the linked announcement, Kathryn is a long-standing and exceptionally active member of the AAR. While she was Chair of our Department, she was leading AAR groups, and while Associate Dean, she took on the work of Program Unit Director. Our Department and so many of our students have benefited from Kathryn’s leadership. Congratulations, Kathryn, on this well-deserved award!

As you’ll see, the fall 2019 newsletter highlights alumni, student, and faculty achievements, as well as a new MA Concentration in Religion and Aging in partnership with the Gerontology Institute. We’re hiring a new colleague in Religion, Race, and Health, and we’re working on projects with community partners. It has been a busy fall semester, and I don’t see any signs of things slowing.

Looking back, we have hosted research talks by colleagues in Anthropology (Dr. Cassandra White) and our own Dr. Dennis LoRusso. We announced our MA Concentration in Religion and Aging in collaboration with colleagues in the Gerontology Institute by inviting Dr. Candace Kemp and Dr. Elisabeth Burgess to talk about their research on what constitutes a meaningful encounter for someone living with dementia. We hosted a panel on religions and prisons with Vlad Tchakarov (MA ’20), Dr. Ryan Woods, and Dr. Peter Lindsay, and Sabina Ali (MA ’20) presented her thesis research.

We have spring plans in the works. We’re planning to host the directors of Embrace Refugee Birth to talk about their work with families in metro Atlanta and Dr. Doug Falen, an anthropologist at Agnes Scott, to discuss his research. We’re also planning a public event around Religion and Health. We’ll be in touch with more information soon.

Meanwhile, please bookmark our website and “like” us on social media. Better yet, stop by or send us a note. We’d love to hear about how you’re doing, what you’re doing, and how we can connect.