Susan VanZanten is the New Dean of Christ College at Valparaiso University

VanZantenAn excellent choice.  Congratulations Susan!

From the Christ College Facebook page:

Congratulations to Susan VanZanten Ph.D, Christ College’s next, and first female, Dean!

Professor VanZanten previously served as professor of English and interim co-chair of the languages, cultures, and linguistics department at Seattle Pacific University.

Professor VanZanten’s area of expertise is African literature, American literature, and literary criticism and she is currently a senior mentor in the Lilly Graduate Fellows program.

We extend a warm welcome to Professor VanZanten, and congratulate her on her new position, effective July 1st 2018.

Chair in Quaker Studies at Haverford College

This looks like a nice gig for a scholar of Quakerism.  –JF

Douglas and Dorothy Steere Professorship in Quaker Studies (open rank)
Haverford College, founded in 1833 by Quakers, invites applications for the newly endowed Douglas and Dorothy Steere Professorship in Quaker Studies.  This tenure-line faculty position is open to teacher-scholars at all levels (Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor) whose scholarly work engages the history, culture, religion, literature, peace building or social activism of the Religious Society of Friends.  The successful candidate will maintain an active research and teaching program that includes opportunities for faculty-student collaboration, preferably utilizing Haverford’s extensive Quaker Collection of manuscripts, organizational records, artifacts, and artwork gathered from the 17thcentury to the present.  Haverford faculty members teach five courses per year, of which the Steere professor will teach at least two courses that substantially address some feature of Quaker Studies within the candidate’s disciplinary or interdisciplinary fields of study.  Additional courses should contribute to one of Haverford’s existing academic departments and/or programs (   
Candidates for the position should have a Ph.D. and a strong record of research and teaching.  The position also requires a firm commitment to interdisciplinary scholarship and the emerging field of Quaker Studies.  Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications and research and travel money accompany this endowed professorship.
Please submit a cover letter addressing your vision for this new position, a curriculum vitae, a sample syllabus for a course in Quaker Studies, a research statement, a writing sample (published work or work in progress), and arrange to have three letters of recommendation submitted to (  Questions about the application process should be directed to Georgia Davidis Malone, Faculty Dossier Coordinator, Haverford College (  To receive full consideration, all application materials should be received in electronic form by December 10, 2014.

Thomas Kidd Assumes Associate Director Post at Baylor’s ISR

Congrats to Tommy Kidd.  Here is the press release regarding his new post at Baylor.  Waco, Texas 

(Aug. 25, 2014) — Thomas Kidd, Ph.D., one of the nation’s most respected historians of religion, has accepted a post as associate director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR).

Kidd’s appointment “represents a major step forward in advancing ISR’s mission as a national leader in producing research on the role of religion in society,” said Rodney Stark, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences at ISR. “Not only has Tommy Kidd written a number of important and highly regarded books on the role of religion in early America, he and Philip Jenkins (Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor) have developed many thoughtful symposia and research events as part of ISR’s successful Program on Historical Studies of Religion.”
For Byron Johnson, Ph.D., co-director of ISR, “Tommy’s appointment is a testament to our strong relationship with Baylor’s outstanding department of history, where a number of professors are also affiliated with ISR. Professor Kidd’s leadership has been instrumental at ISR, and we know he will be an even bigger asset as the associate director.”
Philip Jenkins, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of History at Baylor, stated that “Thomas Kidd is respected and admired by scholars across the country, and this new position certainly bodes well for ISR and Baylor University.”
Kidd said that he is “honored to be associated with such a stellar group of scholars as those at the Institute for Studies of Religion. I hope I can help the institute in its efforts to make Baylor the preeminent university in America for the study of religion across the disciplines.”
Kidd completed his Ph.D. in History at the University of Notre Dame. He has written or edited eight books. His next book, George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father, will be released in October with Yale University Press.

Kathleen Flake is First Richard Bushman Chair in Mormon Studies at U of Virginia

Kathleen Flake

University of Virginia is the first major public university to establish a Mormon studies chair.  You may recall that we did a post on the creation of this endowed chair in December 2012.

We can now announce that Kathleen Flake has been named as the first Bushman Chair of Mormon Studies at UVA.  She comes to Charlottesville after a career in law and a stint as a professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt.  Here is a taste of the press release:

Flake will begin teaching classes this spring. One course will focus on America’s newer religious movements: Scientology, the Nation of Islam and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A second course will examine variety of Scriptural texts produced in America, from the many versions of the Bible to entirely new bible-like texts, such as the Book of Mormon, she said.

Flake also plans to continue her research on 19th-century Mormonism’s highly gendered power structure, with an upcoming book on early Mormonism’s plural marriages.

“It is an honor to be named to this chair,” she said. “Professor Bushman is rightly considered one of the premier historians of early American social, cultural and political history. Those who occupy this position, not least myself, have been set a high bar of accomplishment, and his name on this chair signifies a pattern for our future endeavors.”

U.Va.’s Bushman Chair was established with a $3 million endowment funded by anonymous donors. Fundraising is under way to support student scholarships, special lectures and conferences.