After months of considering 44 applications and resumes, interviewing the applicants, and discussing the goals of the department, four final candidates for the position of Bible professor have been selected for virtual campus visits in the next few weeks. Each candidate will teach a model Engaging the Bible class session and give a presentation of their current research.
The process began in January, with professors Keith Graber Miller, Regina Shands Stoltzfus, Suzanne Ehst, and junior PJCS and Bible and religion major Elizabeth Reimer meeting every Monday at 8 am. Together, they make up the search committee for seeking out a new Bible, Religion, and Philosophy associate professor. This professor will be the primary Bible professor in the department, but will also occasionally teach religion and PJCS classes.
“We’re looking for someone who is a solid Biblical scholar and who can engage majors and minors as well as Core students-some of whom aren’t that excited about studying the Biblical text-in recognizing the ongoing relevance of the Bible and religious traditions for understanding what’s happening in the contemporary world,” Graber Miller, chair of the search committee, said.
Reimer also noted the importance of having a professor who can engage students from all disciplines. “You want someone who cares so much that their caring is contagious, someone who’s so excited about the Bible that it makes you excited about the Bible too,” she said.
Students are encouraged to participate in the public lectures and the Student-Exclusive Q&A sessions. “We want students to participate, because we care what they think. We especially want to hear from freshman and sophomores who will have one of these candidates as a professor next year,” Reimer said.
Two of the candidates have visited already. Jennifer Quigley is the assistant professor of New Testament and early Christian studies at Drew University Theological School, and Susannah Larry is currently assistant professor of Biblical studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary.
Breanna Nickel, a GC graduate in Bible Religion Philosophy and PJCS who is currently Visiting Fellow in Religion at Augustana College, will be here Friday, March 19. Next Wednesday, March 24, Roger Alfani, an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University, will be visiting.
Because of COVID, the hiring process had to be adjusted a bit. The campus visits and interactions with the candidates have all taken place over Zoom. “What we’re missing in this set of interviews and presentations is the interactive social time-dinners together and casual conversation-that are usually a part of interview processes. Our Zoom tea break attempts to replicate a bit of that, and [tea breaks] have become a customary part of hiring for faculty positions on our floor,” Graber Miller said.
“All [of the candidates] appear to be pretty extraordinary scholars and teachers, so we feel like we have excellent choices across the board,” Graber Miller said.
Zoom links to attend the next candidates’ Engaging the Bible sessions, student Q&A, and research presentations can be found in the communicator.