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News from the Hill July 10, 2012 | back to index

Interfaith Studies Faculty Position Created

Jennifer Howe Peace

Jennifer Howe Peace named as incumbent

At its most recent meeting, with the enthusiastic recommendation of the faculty and the president, the Andover Newton Board of Trustees voted unanimously to create the school's first tenure track faculty position in Interfaith Studies and named Dr. Jennifer Howe Peace as the incumbent.

For the past five years, Dr. Peace has served Andover Newton as an instructor in the area of Interfaith Studies and a key program designer and leader for the Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE) at Andover Newton and Hebrew College's Rabbinical School. The inception of the position was made possible in large part through a grant from the Henry R. Luce Foundation.

During the 2011-2012 academic year, Andover Newton's faculty engaged in a process of discernment as to the future of interfaith studies in the School and recognized that competent interfaith religious leadership is crucial to the future not just of faith communities but of peace in our world.

After (1) discussion of the needs of the School's curricula and trends and issues on wider religious landscape; (2) a review of Dr. Peace's credentials, including publications, teaching evaluations, and service to the School; and (3) a formal candidacy process, including outside reviews of Dr. Peace's qualifications, an on-campus interview with the faculty, and a public lecture; the faculty voted to not only sustain Dr. Peace's current work but increase the School's commitment both to her and to her position.

Dr. Peace earned her BA from Connecticut College, her MATS from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, and her PhD from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Her dissertation was entitled 'Sound Rituals: A Comparative Study of Chanting and Communal Identity in a Hindu Temple and a Christian Abbey.'

Here at Andover Newton, Dr. Peace has taught courses on interfaith studies, Christian spirituality, and early Christian History. She has demonstrated particular gifts for teaching online, where she has created community among students spread far and wide.

Beyond Andover Newton, Dr. Peace played a founding role in the creation of the Interfaith Youth Corps and the Daughters of Abraham, and her list of publications is as varied as it is long. Her most recent book, My Neighbor's Faith: Stories of Interreligious Encounter, Growth, and Transformation, is a collection of essays on interfaith engagement co-edited with Hebrew College's Or Rose and Andover Newton's Prof. Gregory Mobley.