Dr. Matthew Puffer
Matthew received his PhD in Religious Studies (Theology, Ethics, and Culture) from the University of Virginia and his MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary. Prior to his arrival at Villanova, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and research associate at the UVA Center for Global Health. His scholarly interests include competing normative visions of the human person, especially rival versions of the imago dei and human dignity and their implications for biomedical, economic, environmental, and social ethics. He is currently working on a manuscript, tentatively titled, “Augustine On the Image of God: An Ethical Analysis,” that examines Augustine’s understanding of the imago dei as it evolves over a half-century of letters, sermons, and treatises. Matthew recently co-edited a four-volume collection, Comparative Religious Ethics: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies, and has published on the ethics of war, lying, and responsible action in Modern Theology and in the International Journal of Systematic Theology.
Dr. Kevin Vander Schel
Kevin received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Theology from Boston College. Prior to his arrival at Villanova, he taught theology and philosophy courses at Boston College and worked as a Lecturer in the Religious Studies Program at the University of Houston. Kevin’s research focuses on the intersection of theology and ethics, and he is particularly interested in the formation of moral identity, modern and contemporary theologies of grace, and questions of theological anthropology and hermeneutics. He recently completed a book entitled Embedded Grace: Christ, History, and the Reign of God in Schleiermacher’s Dogmatics (Fortress Press, 2013), which examines the curious coordination of grace and history in Friedrich Schleiermacher’s Christian Faith and his unfinished lectures on Christian Ethics. Currently, Kevin is at work on further articles related to Schleiermacher’s Christian Ethics and is also engaged in research into the shifting understandings of grace in modern Catholic theology.
Peter Wicks 2011-2015
Peter received his B.A. from Oxford University, his M.Phil. from Cambridge University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. Before coming to Villanova he was a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University. His areas of specialty are ethical theory and political philosophy, and he also has interests in the history of philosophy, especially ancient philosophy, and applied ethics, especially medical ethics. His dissertation argued that contemporary work in ethical theory has been marred by a tendency to misrepresent our moral beliefs by translating them into a sparser, and hence more easily theorized, conceptual vocabulary. Peter is currently working on a book about the sources of the appeal of consequentialist approaches to ethics and an article surveying recent work by moral philosophers on the concept of evil.
Dr. Cynthia Nielsen: 2012 - 2014
Cynthia received her Bachelor of Music in jazz studies and performance from the University of North Florida and her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Dallas. Cynthia’s work is highly interdisciplinary in nature and her research interests include social and political philosophy, ethics, critical race theory, feminist theory, and the philosophy of music. She recently published Foucault, Douglass, Fanon, and Scotus in Dialogue: Imagining Ourselves Otherwise (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). In her book, Nielsen shows how Douglass’s and Fanon’s concrete experiences of oppression not only confirm Foucault’s theoretical analyses concerning power, resistance, and subject formation but also expand, strengthen, and offer correctives to Foucault’s project. Having highlighted problem areas in Foucault’s philosophical anthropology, Nielsen introduces her premodern dialogue partner, John Duns Scotus. Scotus’s anthropology provides a basis for transhistorical moral critique—a critique of the sort Douglass and Fanon issue against slavery and colonization.
Dr. Selin Gursozlu: 2010 - 2013
Selin received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Binghamton in the program in Social, Political, Ethical, and Legal Philosophy (2010). Prior to coming to Villanova, she worked as a visiting instructor in the Department of Philosophy at Grand Valley State University (2009-2010). She also worked at SUNY Binghamton as an Instructor (2008-2009) and Teaching Assistant (2004-2008) and served as a Graduate Assistant for Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) organized by Rock Ethics Institute at Pennsylvania State University (2009). Her areas of research include virtue ethics and feminist philosophy. Her primary interest is in virtues and flourishing under oppression. She particularly focuses on the virtue of integrity. She is currently working on a concept of moral resistance as it pertains to the question of the good life under oppression.
Dr. Mark Wilson: 2008 - 2011
Before coming to Villanova, Mark received his Honors B.A. in Classical Studies and Theology from Saint Louis University. After a few years of teaching middle school and running a tennis center, he matriculated to Indiana University where he completed his Ph.D. in Religious Studies, specializing in philosophical and religious ethics. His research and teaching interests are driven by foundational questions about responsibility, self-interpretation, human agency, and the emotions. Underlying his approach is a comparative analysis that highlights the points of convergence and divergence in secular and religious perspectives. He is currently working on a book, entitled The Virtues of Regret: Agency and Emotional Responsibility, which explores the way that emotions like regret can have distinct and profound moral significance. He is also researching a larger project that contrasts ancient and modern concepts of purity of heart, beginning with early Christian texts and concluding with an investigation of modern thinkers such as Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. Having completed his time as a Catherine of Siena fellow, Mark continues to work with the program in an ongoing capacity as an assistant professor.
Dr. Kathryn Getek: 2008 - 2011
Kathryn completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Theology at Boston College in Theological Ethics. Her dissertation, under the direction of Professor James Keenan, S.J., develops a virtue ethics approach to justice with application toward the reform of the American prison. As Catholic Chaplain at Suffolk County House of Correction in Boston from 2006-2008, Kathryn developed her thinking about prisons as well as her pastoral ministry to the incarcerated. She received her Masters in Theological Studies (2003) and License in Sacred Theology (2008) from Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to her interests in justice, virtue, and fundamental moral theology, Kathryn has also researched in the area of bioethics, reflecting her undergraduate degree in molecular biology from Princeton University (1999). Kathryn recently finished a term serving as a student representative to the Board of the Society of Christian Ethics and is currently the United States representative to the New Scholars Committee for Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church. After serving as a Catherine of Sienna Fellow, she was appointed as the new director for Villanova's Center for Peace and Justice Education.
Dr. Christopher Roberts: 2006 - 2009
Before coming to Villanova, my family and I lived in London, where I completed my Ph.D. at King's College, University of London. I have recently published a new book, based on my Ph.D. thesis, Creation and Covenant: The Significance of Sexual Difference in and for the Moral Theology of Marriage. Before becoming an academic and going abroad for study, I spent several years as a television journalist at PBS, most recently as a reporter for the program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. Currently my research interests include Christianity and money; Christian doctrine, worship, and ethics; as well as theology and political theory. My M.Phil. thesis at Oxford was about just war, pacifism, and eschatology. My B.A. thesis at Yale was about environmental ethics and economic development in Zimbabwe. A friend of mine once said that Christian theology is a great intellectual secret; few of the devout, not to mention non-Christians as well as ordinary church-goers, get the chance to plumb its depths and riches, and I’d like to help change that. (Dr. Robertsremains affiliated with the Ethics Program as a research fellow.)
Dr. Timothy Kirk : 2007 - 2008
On completing his time as a Catherine of Siena Fellow, Tim accepted a tenure-track position in the Department of History and Philosophy at City University of New York - York College. Before that, Tim Kirk lived in St. Davids, PA, with his wife, Jen, and their three cats, Simon, Schuster, and Andy. In addtion to serving as a Catherine of Siena Fellow, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University, where he taught healthcare ethics, moral philosophy, and seminars in human relationships. He also held a secondary appointment in the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing from 2002-2005. A frequent speaker and consultant for local healthcare systems and facilities, Tim focuses on applying philosophy to real issues in everyday professional and personal life. His current research focuses on the philosophical foundations underlying nursing ethics–especially hospice and palliative care nursing–and the intersection of intimacy and subjectivity in personal relationships. Tim was recently elected to a three-year term on the national ethics committee of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.
Dr. Todd Cioffi : 2006 - 2007
Todd completed his Ph.D. at Princeton Theological Seminary. After spending one year as a Catherine of Siena Fellow, Todd was offered and accepted a tenure-track position at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. In 2009, Todd joined the faculty of Calvin College and the Congregation and Ministry Studies department.
Dr. Jeffery Lynn Nicholas : 2002 - 2005
Jeffery Lynn Nicholas, a native Kentuckian, received his B.A. in philosophy from Thomas More College (in northern Kentucky) in 1993, was the first to complete the new, prestigious M.A. program in philosophy at Virginia Tech in 1995, and received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Kentucky in 2002. His dissertation, "Reason, Tradition, and the Good: Toward a Substantive Concept of Reason for a Critical Theory of Society," merges Frankfurt School critical theory with the Thomistic thought of Alasdair MacIntyre by developing a concept of tradition-constitutive reason informed by the conception of the good in individual traditions. Professor Nicholas has presented papers at several conferences, including the Pacific APA and SPEP. His interests revolve around questions of liberation, human nature, reason, and society. He also works on critical pedagogy (on the college level and for homeschoolers) and promoting consideration of ethical theory for everyday life. He is currently a professor at Mt. Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon.
Dr. Brett T. Wilmot : 2002 - 2005
Upon completing his time as a Catherine of Siena Fellow, Brett was asked to stay on with the Ethics Program in the capacity of associate director, a position he currently holds. Brett completed his B.A. in religion at Reed College in Portland, OR. He pursued graduate studies at the University of Chicago (A.M. in religion , Ph.D. in religious ethics ). Prior to coming to Villanova as a Catherine of Siena Fellow, he worked for the University of Chicago Press as a manuscrip editor. His research focuses on the role of religion in democratic politics. He lives in Drexel Hill, PA, with his wife and two dogs, Wrigley and Lucy.
Dr. Mark Doorley : 1999 - 2002
In addition to having been a Catherine of Siena Fellow, Mark also served as the program's assistant director (2000-2005). Since 2005, he has been the director of Villanova's Ethics Program. Mark earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston College in 1994. In 1996 he published The place of the heart in Lonergan's Ethics with University Press of America. In 2005, he co-edited a collection of essays entitled In Deference to the Other: Lonergan and Contemporary Continental Philosophy with State University of New York Press. His research interests continue to focus on Lonergan's contribution to ethics, although collaborations with Villanova's College of Engineering in the area of ethics education for engineers has captured his recent attention. He resides in Cherry Hill, NJ, with his wife Cathy.
Dr. Theodore Nunez : 1999 - 2002
Ted's teaching and research in applied ethics focuses on environmental public policy and sustainability. His article on "The Sustainable Development of Catholic Social Teaching in World Risk Society" won the 2002 Ignacio Ellacuria, SJ, Award for Research on Social Justice Issues from Villanova's Office of Mission Effectiveness as well as the 2003 Article Award from the College Theology Society. After Villanova, Ted held teaching posts at Middlebury College, St. Joseph's University, and Georgian Court University. Since 2007, Ted has served as a consultant to major corporations and large city agencies in the areas of ethics, compliance, and sustainability. He has written codes of conduct and developed ethics training and communications tools for Chevron, McCormick, Health Net, Mattel, Southern Company, URS, Church & Dwight, Aetna, and other leading companies. Most recently, he partnered with CSR leader Jeffrey Hollender to create the Kaplan-Seventh Generation Sustainability Institute, a joint venture dedicated to helping companies adopt ethical and sustainable business practices throughout their value chains.