Faculty
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(Re)introducing Professor Springs Steele

May 9, 2018
By: Kayla Johnson '18

Dr. Springs Steele is a faculty specialist in theology and religious studies, returning recently to The University of Scranton after eight years of serving as vice president and associate provost at St. Joseph's University. He has spent nearly 30 years serving The University of Scranton as a professor of theology and religious studies, a department chair and the director of the Center for Mission Reflection and associate provost.

Where it all began:

"My teaching career began in a swimming pool rather than a classroom. From the time I was a teenager my summer job was always as a lifeguard, and my great love was teaching young children to swim. To watch fearful 5-year-olds turn into little fish over six weeks was really joyful and energizing. So teaching became important to me, my vocational aspiration. And I was blessed to have exceptional academic role models in high school and college, who opened new worlds to me. "

The deciding factor: 

"By the time I reached college, I knew I wanted to follow their example but had to decide on a major. Questions of meaning and purpose always fascinated me, so it was either philosophy or theology. What tipped the scales for me was my love of literature, which led me to the Bible and theology. Following graduation, I taught high school religion for two years, but I recognized that at that level it was more about discipline and entertaining than teaching theology. That led me to return to school for a doctorate in Biblical Studies, the credential necessary for teaching at the college level. Once done, I was fortunate to be hired at Scranton, where I have spent most of my professional career."

Course talks:

"While I have taught a variety of courses, I still have a soft spot for beginners and have taught our introductory biblical course most often. Recognizing that our students come from a wide range of backgrounds, I seek to introduce them first to the nature of a liberal arts education and why the study of religion and the Bible is an important part of it. I also want them to appreciate that to really understand this seminal library of texts requires work, work to understand the literary, cultural, historical and theological contexts of each. In the process, I seek to help them develop critical thinking, clear communication, openness to exploring an ancient culture and world-view, and the ability to reflect on biblical wisdom and make applications to their own lives. When I see that happening I feel the same consolation that I did at the end of summers in high school, hoping my current young adult ‘beginners’ will be able to better ‘swim’ in the ‘waters’ of our increasingly challenging contemporary culture."

Kayla Johnson '18 is a campus correspondent for the Marketing Communications Department at Scranton.
Kayla Johnson '18 is a campus correspondent for the Marketing Communications Department at Scranton.
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