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Catherine of Siena Fellowships

teaching fellowships

Announcement for Catherine of Siena Fellowship Starting Date: Fall 2021


The Ethics Program of Villanova University seeks candidates for the Catherine of Siena Fellowship whose research, teaching and/or service has prepared them to contribute to our commitment to engagement and inclusion of culturally diverse audiences. The ideal candidate will have a demonstrated competence in voices that are traditionally underrepresented and/or marginalized in the Western canon.  Successful candidates will have a clear commitment to promoting diversity, inclusion, and multicultural competence in an educational environment and must be willing to contribute to the Villanova’s strategic plan of inclusive community. Responsibilities include a 3/3 teaching load with the core ethics course as the primary course, research, plus committee service work for the program. A Ph.D. should be in hand by August 1, 2021. The position is for one year, renewable up to 4 years. Candidates should have either expertise in Christian ethics, with competency to teach Western philosophical ethics, or expertise in Western philosophical ethics, with competency to teach Christian ethics. Application documents should include a cover letter indicating competencies noted above, C.V., unofficial graduate transcripts, statement of teaching philosophy, evidence of teaching excellence, and two letters of recommendation. All documents can be submitted electronically. To apply, visit Villanova is a Roman Catholic University sponsored by the Augustinian Order. An AA/EEO employer, Villanova seeks a diverse faculty committed to scholarship, service, and especially teaching, who understand, respect, and will contribute to the mission and values of the university. Application deadline is December 15, 2020. All preliminary interviews will be completed via Zoom. For more details visit or contact Dr. Mark Doorley at

Audra Goodnight

Audra received her B.A in Philosophy and Ancient Languages from Asbury University in Kentucky.  She spent the spring semester of her Junior year of college at Oxford University, where she studied Latin and Aquinas.  Audra earned her PhD in Philosophy from Saint Louis University, working with Dr. Eleonore Stump.  Audra’s research examines the role for second-person relationships in ethical theories - particularly, theories of well-being.  She is currently working at the intersection of ethics and disability.  Prior to working at Villanova, Audra taught at Saint Louis University and Greenville University.  In addition to teaching and research, Audra is a cycling instructor at her local gym and enjoys cooking new vegan recipes to fuel her runs and bike rides with her husband, Nick.

Willa Swenson-Lengyel

Willa Swenson-Lengyel works on issues of environmental moral psychology and normative ethics, in light of first-world inattention to climate change. In particular, her current project investigates the role of hope in climate action and inaction and develops a theological anthropology of hope. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Religious Ethics, the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, the Journal of Lutheran Ethics, and is forthcoming in the Journal of Religion. She received a BA magna cum laude in religion and music from St. Olaf College, a MAR summa cum laude from Yale Divinity School, and a PhD with distinction from the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Kristyn Sessions

Kristyn received her B.A. from Calvin College, M.T.S. from Candler School of Theology, and  Ph.D. in Religion from Emory University.  Prior to her arrival at Villanova, Kristyn taught in the Religious Studies Department at Agnes Scott College. She also worked as a community organizer in Anchorage, Alaska from 2007-2009 and a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana, West Africa from 2004-2006. Her research explores religiously-based social justice efforts and alternative forms of political participation.                                                                                                                                                                 

Dr. Jeffrey Morgan 2016-2019

Jeff Morgan works in the areas of modern American and European theological ethics (19th century to the present), with special attention to normative ethical theory, applied ethics, and social ethics. Specifically, his research and teaching explore moral agency, conscience, and responsibility and the significance of these issues for environmental ethics, especially for the concerns of environmental justice. His work has appeared in the Journal of Religious Ethics, the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, and the Heythrop Journal. He is nearing completion of a monograph on conscience in Christian ethics, tentatively titled, Singularity and Searcher of Hearts: God and Conscience in Modern Christian Thought.  Dr. Morgan is currently teaching at St. Joseph's College of Maine.


Dr. Celeste Harvey 2016-2017

Dr. Harvey is currently an Assistant Professor of Philosophy, College of Saint Mary, Omaha, NE.

Dr. Albert Shin

Dr. Shin is currently a Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College.

Dr. Matthew Puffer 2013-2016

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. Puffer is currently teaching at Valparaiso University.

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.  Dr. Vander Schel is currently as Assistant Professor at Gonzaga University.

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. Scholar-in-Residence at the Elm Institute, he is currently completing a book, The Ethics of Peter Singer: A Study of Utilitarianism in Theory and Practice, which examines the sources of the appeal of utilitarianism in contemporary culture through a critical engagement with the work of the philosopher Peter Singer.

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. She is currently an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Dallas.

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. Currently a lecturer at Loyola University Maryland.

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.)  He is currently President of the Board and Theology teacher at Martin Saints Classical High School in Oreland, PA.

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. He is an associate professor of philosophy, specializing in healthcare ethics with an emphasis on hospice and palliative care at York College.

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. Cioffi is the Director of The Calvin Prison Initiative.

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 an Associate Professor at Providence College.

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 [1994], Ph.D. in religious ethics [2002]). 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.  Dr. Nunez teaches at Holy Ghost High School and is an adjunct professor in The Ethics Program.