Susan Windley-Doaust, Ph.D., Chair
Theology is the academic discipline that strives to understand and interpret the faith of the Christian communion and to bring it to expression in language and symbol. Its content is divine revelation: i.e., sacred tradition, sacred texts and inspired interpretation. In the spirit and tradition of scholasticism, theology is always in dialogue with other academic disciplines and human experience because Catholic Christianity holds that faith and reason, properly understood, work in harmony toward a greater understanding of God. Grounded in the Lasallian Catholic community, the theology department seeks to engage a community of learners in the ancient quest for meaning and truth, as those in faith continue to seek understanding (Anselm).
Courses offered in the theology department assist all students in attaining:
- An introductory knowledge of the Bible and an understanding of it as a primary source of God’s revelation;
- Recognition of the distinctive elements of the Roman Catholic tradition, and an understanding of the relationship between faiths, beliefs, moral and ethical behavior, and religious practice;
- Foundational comprehension and acquisition of skills, attitudes, and intellectual capacities involved in the engagement of faith and life; and
- An appreciative understanding of the relationship between theological study and its critical engagement with contemporary society.
General Education Course Outcomes
All undergraduate students in the Lasallian Core Traditions Program are required to complete two courses in the Faith Traditions Content Area (one in Faith Traditions I and one in Faith Traditions II) while students in the Lasallian Honors Program are required to complete one Faith Traditions I course. These courses enable the students to identify basic Catholic Christian beliefs and to articulate how these beliefs address contemporary issues and ways of thinking.
Faith Traditions I courses: TH112 , TH113 , TH114 , and TH115 (TH115 for IHM Seminarians only)
Faith Traditions II courses: H333 , TH250 , TH260 , and TH270
Students with a strong academic background in scripture can test out of Faith Traditions I by successful completion of the written exam. Students would then be required to take two Faith Traditions II courses.
Theology Major Course Outcomes
Students who major or minor in theology engage in advanced theological study that enables them to further understand the complexity and integrity of the Catholic theological tradition. Core courses in the major address theological areas such as systematic and moral theology, historical theology, biblical studies, and pastoral theology.
The theology department also provides opportunities for personal formation through the Spirituality for the Vineyard program. Majors and minors are invited to participate in the program as a means of personal and professional integration. Academic excellence is rewarded by membership in Theta Alpha Kappa, the national honor society for theology and religion. Saint Mary’s University theology department is the Alpha Gamma Omega chapter. The theology department recognizes and honors outstanding work of graduating seniors within the department. Departmental distinction is reserved for students with a department and major field GPA of 3.700 and a cumulative GPA of 3.300 who present a senior paper or presentation judged to be of superior quality by a committee of departmental faculty.