Religious Studies

Follow your passion for Religion

Religion begins with a desire to understand the purpose of existence; theologies argue that certain reasons for existence are unique and true. At Loras, majors in Religious Studies and Theology examine religious history and culture as well as Christian theology, scripture and moral reasoning to expand their worldviews and reflect on the complexities of religions and spirituality in the modern world.

Students who major or double-major in Religious Studies are some of the most active students at Loras, and are the most likely to study abroad and participate in service trips both nationally and internationally. An additional benefit is that through our experiential education, 98% of all Religious Studies majors find jobs related to their course of study.

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All Loras students, no matter their major, have the opportunity to live and study in another country. Loras College sponsors study abroad semesters in Ireland, Portugal, South Africa and Spain, along with a broad range of short-term study travel options such as Belize, China, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Mexico,and Peru.

Loras College is globally connected to provide students unique learning experiences around the world. Whether students are looking to enhance their foreign language skills or simply to immerse themselves in a different culture, the Center for Experiential Learning helps students identify international programs that best match their learning goals. International study broadens perspectives, enhances self-confidence and strengthens adaptability. Studying abroad also makes graduates more attractive to potential employers and graduate schools. Study abroad experiences are life-changing.

“While studying at the University of Pretoria I was fortunate to have the ability to take classes that Loras couldn’t’ offer. The sustainability focused classes I took at UP allowed me to fulfill a passion of mine and have shaped my biological thesis to be sustainably driven—vermicomposting.” — Tom Blacklock, South Africa

“The life-long learning experiences that come about while being abroad will never be fully understood unless you take the opportunity to go out of your comfort zone and experience life in another country. If I had to sum up how my experience in Spain changed me, it would be that I am more self-confident, more globally aware, and I am now yearning to learn about and connect with people from all over the world.” –Jessica Welp, Spain

“Now is truly the best time to take advantage of these experiences! Being able to go abroad for schooling allows you to have opportunities that you would not have as a tourist, so don’t rely on the thought, ‘Well, I could always go there in the future.’ Go!!”
— Brittany Seyller, India

Visit our Study Abroad page for additional information.

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Because our majors are at the forefront of issues related to social justice, Religious Studies students engage in their major cursework and the community immediately. They are eligible for scholarships, have opportunity to present at national conferences and are highly encouraged to engage in life-changing internships.


Catholic Social Teaching, they tend to be winners of the annual Valder Scholarship, which provides students with stipends to serve in a Catholic organization dedicated to addressing problems of social justice. In addition, students use their research to deliver papers and presentations at conferences like the Great Plains Undergraduate Theology Conference.

The Breitbach Catholic Thinkers & Leaders Scholarship Program, made possible by a generous $15-million donation from Paul (’60) and Frances Breitbach,is a unique and vibrant four-year experience. Its goal is to challenge and engage the whole student, helping you to develop academically, spiritually, personally and socially while learning what it means to be a Catholic thinker and leader in today’s modern world.


Typical first year course could include:

  • REL 112: Introduction to Religious Studies and Theology
  • REL 113: Introduction to the Bible
  • REL 210: World Religions
  • REL 213: Foundations of Ministry

Internships available

Religious Studies students participate in internship programs offered through the Center for Experiential Learning. Many internship opportunities are available in the Dubuque Community, nation wide and internationally. Our Center for Experiencial Learning is key in assisting students in helping students with internships.

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Founded by Matthias Loras, Archbishop of the Dubuque Diocese, Loras College has ties to the Archdiocese that stretch back—well into the nineteenth-century. That long relationship has meant that the College has had many successful partnerships with the Archdiocese, working closely with Archdiocesan offices to meet a number of needs and educate several generations of religious leaders.

Today faculty from Loras College serve the Archdiocese as priests, chaplains, committee members, speakers, and Directors of Archdiocesan offices. In addition to those many individual commitments, faculty also are committed to provided academic programming to an emerging generation of lay leaders.

Loras has also sponsored summer Institutes in Liturgical Studies and Parish Leadership.

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Theology argues that the claims of one particular tradition are true, and perhaps unique. At Loras, that tradition is Christianity, as practiced in the Roman Catholic tradition.

Religious Studies majors here take courses in studies of the Bible, moral/ethical behavior and systematic theology (systems of thought that are based on Christian revelation). They benefit from a faculty that teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, and from a library that has outstanding resources—both paper and electronic.

Thanks to these resources, all Religious Studies majors who have sought to continue their educations in graduate programs have been accepted by accredited institutions.

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Major Requirements

Division of Philosophical, Religious, Theological, Social & Cultural Studies
Richard Anderson, Ph.D., Chair

The religious studies program emphasizes three areas of study: theological studies, biblical studies, and moral studies. L.REL-112 is an introduction to courses in theological studies; L.REL-113 an introduction to courses in biblical studies; and L.REL-270 an introduction to courses in moral studies. All students are welcome in courses 100, 200, and 300 level courses. Students are encouraged to take courses in the 200s between their second and fifth semesters, and courses in the 300s between their sixth and eighth semesters. 400 level courses are designed for majors only.

Requirements for the major in Religious Studies (B.A.):

Req Course Cr’s
1   L.REL-112: An Introduction to Theology and Religious Studies 3
Select one from Req 2
2   L.REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament 3
2   L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA 3
3   L.REL-270: Introduction to Christian Values-AV 3
Select one from Req 4 (Theological Studies)
4   L.REL-115: Introduction to Peace and Justice 3
4   L.REL-210: World Religions 3
4   L.REL-212: Roman Catholic Sacred Space 3
4   L.REL-213: Foundations for Ministry 3
4   L.REL-214: Islam in America 3
4   L.REL-215: Eastern Christianity, Then and Now 3
4   L.REL-216: Catholic Church in Latin America 3
4   L.REL-260: Martyrs, Mendicants and Masterpieces-AC 3
4   L.REL-261: Christ and Culture-AC 3
4   L.REL-274: All for one-AI (only if clustered with CTL-277) 3
4   L.REL-316: Pilgrims in Their Own Land-AI 3
4   L.REL-318: Councils Creeds and Culture-AC 3
4   L.REL-320: Sacraments: Catholic Identity in Community-AI 3
4   L.REL-325: Roman Catholic Liturgical Music in Theology & Practice 3
4   L.REL-335/CTL-277: Belief, Unbelief & the Good Life-AV 3
4   L.REL-391: The Catholic Heritage 3
Select one from Req 5 (Biblical Studies)
5   L.REL-113: Intro to the Bible 3
5   L.REL-239: Jesus and the Gospels 3
5   L.REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament; if not taken above 3
5   L.REL-252: God’s Literature (AA); if not taken above 3
5   L.REL-253: The Hebrew Prophets 3
5   L.REL-350: Bible and Literature 3
5   L.REL-354: Seminar on the Letters of St Paul 3
Select one from Req 6 (Moral Studies)
6   L.REL-271: Catholic Social Teachings 3
6   L.REL-272: Christian Sexual Morality-AV 3
6   L.REL-345: Issues in Christian Ethics-AV 3
6   L.REL-348: Social Justice Practicum 3
7   Additional L.REL Elective 3
8   Additional L.REL Elective 3
9   Additional L.REL Elective 3
10   Additional L.REL Elective 3
Select one from Req 11 (Capstone)
11   L.REL-491: Thesis Writing 3
12   L.REL-493: Practicum in Parish Ministry 3
33 total required credits

*Majors must enroll in the section of L.LIB-305 offered to CTL students unless their second major requires otherwise.

Majors wishing to graduate with a concentration of coursework in the area of ministry must complete the major including the following eight courses:
1. L.REL-112: Intro to Theology and Religious Studies
2. L.REL-213: Foundation for Ministry
3. L.REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament OR L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA
4. L.REL-270: Introduction to Christian Values-AV
5. L.REL-231: Catholic Social Teaching
6. L.REL-239: Jesus and the Gospels OR L.REL 350: Bible and Literature
7. L.REL-320: Sacraments: Catholic Identity in Community-AI OR L.REL 318: Councils, Creeds, and Culture
8. L.REL-493: Practicum for Parish Ministry

Requirements for the minor in Religious Studies:

Req Course Cr’s
1   L.REL-112: An Introduction to Theology & Religious Studies 3
Select one from Req 2
2   L.REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament 3
2   L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA 3
3   L.REL-270: Introduction to Christian Values-AV 3
4   Additional L.REL Elective 3
5   Additional L.REL Elective 3
6   Additional L.REL Elective 3
18 total required credits

L.REL-113: Introduction to the Bible
L.REL-239: Jesus & the Gospels
L.REL-250: Introduction to the Old Testament; if not taken above
L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA
L.REL-253: The Hebrew Prophets-AC
L.REL-350: Bible & Literature
L.REL-354: Seminar on the Letters of St. Paul

L.REL-271: Catholic Social Teaching
L.REL-270: Introduction to Christian Values-AV
L.REL-272: Christian Sexual Morality-AV
L.REL-345: Issues in Christian Ethics-AV
L.REL-348: Social Justice Practicum

L.REL-295: Topics
L.REL-395: Topics
L.REL-397: Independent Study: Arranged Course
L.REL-398: Independent Study: Empirical Research
L.REL-491: Thesis Writing
L.REL-493: Practicum in Parish Ministry
L.REL-498: Independent Study: Directed Readings

L.REL-112: Introduction to Theology & Religious Studies
L.REL-115: Introduction to Peace and Justice
L.REL-210: World Religions
L.REL-212: Roman Catholic Sacred Spaces
L.REL-213: Foundations for Ministry
L.REL-214: Islam in America
L.REL-215: Eastern Christianity, Then and Now
L.REL-216: The Catholic Church in Latin America
L.REL-260: Martyrs, Mendicants & Masterpieces-AC
L.REL-261: Christ & Culture-AC
L.REL-274: All for One-AI (*only if clustered with CTL 277)
L.REL-316: Pilgrims in Their Own Land-AI
L.REL-318: Councils, Creeds & Culture-AC
L.REL-320: Sacraments: Catholic Identity in Community-AI
L.REL-325: Roman Catholic Liturgical Music in Theology & Practice-AA
L.REL/CTL-335: Belief, Unbelief & the Good Life-AV (REL-335 OR CTL 277)
L.REL-391: The Catholic Heritage

Course Descriptions

L.REL-112: Introduction to Theology & Religious Studies
How do the arts, social and physical sciences, philosophy, and daily human life raise religious questions about meaning, truth, values, faith, identity, community and mystery? How does Christian theology respond to these questions? This class helps students better understand both the questions and the answers. 3 credits.

L.REL-113: Introduction to the Bible
An introduction to the methodology and importance of biblical studies, which includes a survey of the history and theology of the Old and New Testaments. 3 credits.

L.REL-115: Introduction to Peace and Justice
The course will provide a foundational exploration of social justice concepts, issues, and remedies thereby developing the necessary analytical tools and information to assess injustice and inequality and to suggest changes that need to be made to better these situations. Typical issues included in the course are poverty and the distribution of resources, gender and racial discrimination, war and other forms of violent behavior. 3 credits.

L.REL-210: World Religions: An Introduction
An introductory study of the great world religions, particularly Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The class invites students to compare and contrast the search for meaning that defines each tradition. 3 credits.

L.REL-212: Roman Catholic Sacred Spaces
How are individuals formed by the physical spaces that surround them? How do the spaces in which Roman Catholics worship inform their understanding of the Church and God? How can substantially different understandings of the Church and God be reconciled within a single Church? And how might these differences not simply be overcome, but embraced. This course involves travel to a variety of Catholic churches and the analysis of the theological function of those spaces that emerges according to their form. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-213: Foundations for Ministry
Frederick Buechner described vocation as the intersection of one’s deep joy with the world’s deep needs. This course explores theological frameworks for ministry and the ministerial needs of the church today. In addition, the course engages students in theological reflection aimed at discernment and development of the personal skills necessary for effective ministry. Prerequisite: L.REL-112. 3 credits.

L.REL-214: Islam in America
This is an in-depth study course that examines the history of Islam in the United States, with particular attention given to a period that begins at the end of the nineteenth century and continues into the contemporary period. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-215: Eastern Christianity: Then and Now
This study travel course aims to explore the general nature and essential features of Eastern Christianity by focusing primarily, though not exclusively, on the Byzantine Rite Catholic Church in Ukraine. Site visits, interviews, and guest lectures will help students to understand the nature and history of the key sacred spaces, rituals, liturgical practices, and people (both religious and laity) associated with the Byzantine Rite Catholic Church in Ukraine. Students will also be given opportunities to become acquainted with other Christian religious traditions in Ukraine. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-216: The Catholic Church in Latin America
This study travel January term course covers the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America and the current issues it faces. The course will primarily focus on Spanish and Portuguese colonialism, liberation theology, and the contemporary period. For part of the course, students will travel to Peru and experience historical reminders of the Catholic Church’s past, but also experience first-hand the issues facing the Church in Latin America today. Prerequisites: L.LIB-130 or L.LIB-135. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-231: Catholic Social Teaching
This course will examine those official documents of the Catholic Church, spanning from Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum (1891) to the present, that make up Catholic social teaching. This course will study CST’s guiding principles, how the modern popes and the Second Vatican Council applied them to the social, political, and economic problems of our time, and what continuing relevance they have for Catholics and all persons of goodwill. 3 credits.

L.REL-239: Jesus & the Gospels
A critical study of the content of the Four Gospels of the New Testament, as well as their literary, historical, social, and theological contexts. We will compare and contrast their portraits of Jesus, their messages for ancient Christians, and their relevance for modern readers. 3 credits.

L.REL-243: Wisdom of the Prophets
A survey of the writings of the prophets, with main emphasis on the texts and how they were written, on the historical situations which they addressed, and on their continuing importance today. Special attention is given to the writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. 3 credits.

L.REL-248: Seminar on the Letters of St. Paul
Using a seminar format, this course studies the letters of St. Paul in the order in which they were written, to facilitate an understanding of the author’s theological development in terms of the changing problems he faced. We pay attention to the literary form of the public letter in Paul’s day, his own use of that form, the people and positions he found himself arguing against, and his emerging theological synthesis. 3 credits.

L.REL-251: Does The Land Belong To Israel-AC
The Land promised Israel is both a central faith symbol for Judaism and a constant geopolitical problem. Using this problem as passport into the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament), the course will survey the main moments of the Israel’s story, its struggle to remain faithful, and the writings produced in that struggle. These, in turn, will be read for evidence of present day claims to the territory of Palestine. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-252: God’s Literature-AA
The New Testament is a library of the foundational documents of Christian faith, shaping our lives even today. The course surveys these writings in a series of two-week modules, each entertaining a new problem to solve. To assist in this task we will look at the texts in terms of their various literary forms as well as those occasions, both religious and political, that prompted their writing. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-260: Martyrs, Mendicants & Masterpieces-AC
The course is a January term study abroad opportunity in Italy. The course focuses on the culture of pre-Constantinian Christian Rome, medieval Franciscan Assisi, and Renaissance Florence. We will study the customs and artifacts of each period to determine how they affected the development of Christian thought and practice. We will examine how cultural traditions formed and changed, and how these traditions affected social organization, religion, and everyday life. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits. January term.

L.REL-261: Christ & Culture-AC
Jesus of Nazareth has been the most important figure in western culture for twenty centuries. This course examines his legacy by negotiating themes of continuity and change in a wide range of cultural artifacts, from symbols and images to historical accounts and fictional narratives. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-270: Introduction to Christian Values-AV
This course will examine the basic questions of morality and the answers that have been developed by Christians to answer such questions: What are good and evil? What makes an action good or evil? What makes a person good or evil? How should we make moral decisions? Much of the course will involve an examination of important voices from the Christian tradition who grappled with these questions. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-272: Christian Sexual Morality-AV
This course will examine the Catholic Church’s official teachings on sexual morality, looking both to traditional formulations and to more recent ways of thinking about issues of sexual morality. It will also examine some contrary positions proposed by Catholics and non-Catholics. The course will also consider human sexuality, marriage, and family life as paths for growth in the Christian spiritual life. Prerequisites: LIB-100, LIB-105, LIB-110, and at least one course from LIB-130, LIB-135, or LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-316: Pilgrims in Their Own Land-AI
Explore the variety of religious traditions, communities, beliefs, and practices that together constitute “religion” in the United States. During the semester, students map their own journeys, recording the interactions they have with people and places on and off campus. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-318: Councils, Creeds & Culture-AC
This course will examine three periods in the course of Christian history: (a) the time of the “Christological councils” (325-451), (b) the time of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and (c) the time of the Second Vatican Council (1962-present), to investigate (a) the formation of Christian doctrine, (b) the interaction between social/cultural manifestations and Christian faith, and (c) the interaction between politics and Christian religion. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-320: Sacraments: Catholic Identity in Community-AI
The Christian theological enterprise involves the study of Scripture, past theological work, contemporary culture, and other disciplines which engage the believer. But above all, theology must engage the life of the community in which an individual’s faith is mediated, nurtured, and developed—the sacramental life of the Church. How do we understand Christian faith from the past and present celebration of the sacraments? Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-325: Roman Catholic Liturgical Music in Theology & Practice-AA
This course explores the artistic nature of Roman Catholic liturgy by focusing on one of its most recognizable artistic elements, liturgical music. Liturgical music is vital because it fundamentally impacts the experience of worship; by extension, it directs the theological vision that is developed by the liturgy itself. Students will explore the ways in which liturgy and liturgical music enrich, shape, and express the Christian spirit. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-335: Belief, Unbelief & the Good Life-AV
The course examines arguments for and against the existence of God and studies how these arguments affect a comprehension of the moral life and the value of human behavior. The course will begin with a study of “virtue ethics” and will use this ethical theory as a basis for dialogue with the ethics of the non-Christian belief systems of Feuerbach, Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche. Students will develop the tools to make ethical decisions about critical issues facing the human community. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and one course from L.LIB-130, L.LIB-135, or L.LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-345: Issues in Christian Ethics-AV
This course will look at the intersection of faith public policy debate, as well as the basic principles that shape the Catholic Church’s positions on public issues. It will examine different sides of important public issues such as abortion, immigration, and the war on terror, as well as how Catholic principles relate to these issues. Prerequisites: LIB-100, LIB-105, LIB-110, and at least one course from LIB-130, LIB-135, or LIB-220. 3 credits.

L.REL-348: Social Justice Practicum
Engaging in approved volunteer work and integrating it with one’s research and study of the theology of liberation. 3 credits.

L.REL-350: Bible & Literature
No religious tradition survives without the help of writers who celebrate, challenge, and even transform its beliefs and practices. This course reads Biblical writings for their beauty and artistry and then examines how the Bible has inspired others to compose poetry, fiction, and drama. 3 credits.

L.REL-391: The Catholic Heritage
An examination of defining characteristics of Catholicism, and their manifestation in theology, spirituality, philosophy, history, economics, politics, literature, film and the arts. An integrative course for the Catholic Studies minor. Prerequisite: L.LIB-130 or L.LIB-135. 3 credits.

L.REL-491: Thesis Writing
Review of theological research, the identification, use, and citation of sources, and the composition and writing of the thesis paper. The thesis is part of the portfolio required for religious studies majors. Open only to seniors. 3 credits.

L.REL-493: Practicum for Parish Ministry
Background information and provisions for field experience in various practical aspects of parish ministry, especially parish operation and religious education techniques. Open only to seniors. 6 credits.

RELATED COURSES: Catholic Studies, Philosophy


After receiving your degree from Loras, your career could take off into one of these fields:

  • Director of Religious Education
  • Youth Minister
  • Campus Minister
  • Social Worker
  • Publishing Assistant
  • Educator
Loras College Department Staff

Kristin Anderson-Bricker, Ph.D.
Professor of History
563.588.7403 |
Curriculum Vitae

Kristin Anderson-Bricker completed a doctorate at Syracuse University in United States social and cultural history with specialties in race, gender and social movements. Upon graduation in 1997, she accepted a position at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. Anderson-Bricker teaches topical courses covering American history from the late nineteenth century through to the present. She also teaches on the American West, Native Americans in the Upper Mississippi River Valley, Women’s History, sexuality, African Americans and historical methods (research and teaching).

She is currently at work on a book manuscript, Going Beyond the Rules: Catholic Young Adults Making Sexual Decisions, designed to initiate between students a conversation about sex to assist them in determining the values they want to apply to their choices about sex.

Her service work has focused on diversity initiatives including committee chair responsibilities, gender equity and a civil discourse initiative (DuTalk). Anderson-Bricker has directed the Honors Program and served on many committees including Rank and Tenure, Faculty Senate and First Year Experience. In addition to serving on the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association’s travel grant committee and assessing manuscripts for the State Historical Society of Iowa, she has served the profession as a program reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Iowa, Dubuque County Historical Society and Effigy Mounds National Monument.

Richard Anderson, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
563.588.7177 |

Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Politics
Division Chair of Philosophical, Theological, Social, & Cultural Studies
563.588.7279 |

Professor Budzisz joined the Loras College Politics program in 2000, with a teaching emphasis on constitutional law, American government and institutions and political philosophy, as well as elections and political behavior. As a 2007 Fulbright Scholar, Budzisz taught in the International Relations Faculty at Chernivtsi National University in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. His research interests center around constitutional law, political thought and public policy. He has been published in PS: Political Science and Politics, and in the edited volume Engaging the Public: How Government and the Media Can Reinvigorate American Democracy.

Beyond his teaching and research interests, Budzisz is director and coach of the Loras College Moot Court program. He is also a past winner of the Mike and Linda Budde Excellence in Teaching Award. Professor Budzisz serves as the Director of the Loras College Poll, a bi-partisan public opinion survey focused on politics and society that was launched spring 2014

Roman Ciapalo, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy
563.588.7434 |

Roman T. Ciapalo, Ph.D. (Loyola University Chicago) has taught at Loras College since 1982. He has offered a variety of courses, including Ancient Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, and Philosophy of the Human Person, but in recent years has concentrated on teaching a variety of applied ethics courses, among them, Business Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Media Communication Ethics, and Ethics in Sports.

His research interests include the philosophy of Gregory Skovoroda (18thcentury Ukrainian philosopher) and the intersection of Catholic Social Teaching with issues in sports and athletics. He has published one book and several articles, and has served as translator/editor of Ukrainian-language translations of two business ethics textbooks. He also serves as Faculty Advisor to the Loras Hockey Club, Loras Philosophy Club, and Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. He has lectured nationally and internationally in New Delhi, India, Bratislava, Slovak Republic, and Lviv and Kiev, Ukraine. He has been the recipient of a Fulbright-Hays Summer Seminar to Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and was a Fulbright Scholar at Lviv State University in Ukraine during the 1993-94 academic year.

He travels to Ukraine each summer to teach business ethics courses for various MBA Programs, including the Lviv Institute of Management and Kiev-Mohyla University, and has conducted workshops on “Ethics in the Public Sector” for the city management teams of Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, and Lviv, Ukraine. During the past two summers, he has lectured at the annual two-week long “Philosophy Summer School” conducted by Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine.

He urges his Philosophy advisees to see philosophy as a way of life, rather than merely an academic discipline to be mastered, and to employ it in their search for meaning and purpose in their lives. Beginning with the 2014-2015 academic year, he will hold the Andrew P. Studdert Endowed Chair in Business Ethics and Crisis Leadership.

David Cochran, Ph.D.
Professor of Politics
Director of the Archbishop Kucera Center
563.588.7262 |
Curriculum Vitae

Originally from Lubbock, Texas, Dr. Cochran received his B.A. from Drew University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. His primary teaching and research areas are religion, race, and ethnicity in American politics; political thought; war and peace; and Irish studies. Cochran is a winner of the college’s two campus-wide teaching and leadership awards. In addition to a wide array of articles and book chapters, he is the author or co-author of four books and the co-editor of a fifth. In addition to his work in the Politics Program, Cochran directs the college’s Archbishop Kucera Center for Catholic Intellectual and Spiritual Life.

Benjamin Darr, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Politics
563.588.7507 |

Dr. Darr began teaching at Loras College in the fall of 2012, and offers courses in both comparative politics and world politics. He is particularly interested in environmental politics, the politics of the global economy, nationalism and China studies. Dr. Darr received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2011, and his dissertation examined the state-led sources of Chinese nationalism and national identity. He has co-authored articles in the Journal of Contemporary China and in Communist and Post-Communist Studies.

John Eby, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
Chairperson for Faculty Senate
563.588.4929 |

Lisa Garoutte, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
563.588.7022 |

Janine Idziak, Ph.D.
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy
Director of Bioethics Center
563.588.7749 |

Dr. Idziak’s areas of interest include ethics, medieval philosophy, and the philosophy of God and religion. She received A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy from the University of Michigan and subsequently earned a M.A. in theology from the University of Notre Dame. Her courses of instruction include Foundational Ethics, The Theory and Practice of Bioethics, Ethics and the New Genetics, Neuroethics, Ethics in Philosophy, Literature and Film, the Philosophy of God and Religion, Medieval Philosophy, and The Catholic Heritage.

Dr. Idziak’s research work in ethical theory has focused on the history of divine command ethics. She has held postdoctoral research appointments at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS) in Toronto and at the Medieval Institute of the University of Notre Dame. Her research has been funded by grants from PIMS, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She is the editor of Divine Command Morality: Historical and Contemporary Readings, and has published a Latin edition and English translation of the most significant medieval text on this ethical theory, Andrew of Neufchateau, O.F.M., Questions on an Ethics of Divine Commands.

In the area of applied ethics, Dr. Idziak’s work focuses on bioethics. She is founding director of Loras’ Bioethics Center, which provides services to the community locally and within the State of Iowa. She currently serves as Health Care Ethics Consultant and chair of the Medical-Moral Commission for the Archdiocese of Dubuque; as chair of the ethics committee at Stonehill Franciscan Services in Dubuque; and as a member of the Institutional Ethics Committee, the Clinical Ethics Committee, and the IRB at Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque. Within the State of Iowa, she serves on the Board and IRB of the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City and on the Data and Safety Monitoring Committee for NewLink Genetics in Ames. She previously served on the Pandemic Ethics Committee of the Iowa Department of Public Health and, at the national level, on the Ethics Commission and in the House of Delegates of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA). Dr. Idziak’s community work in bioethics has led to the publication of three books: Ethical Dilemmas in Allied Health, Ethical Dilemmas in Long Term Care, and Organizational Ethics in Senior Health Care Services. Her community service has been recognized by a national level Trustee of the Year award from AAHSA.

Rev. William Joensen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Dean of Campus Spiritual Life
563.588.7463 |

Fr. Joensen teaches courses in the history of philosophy (Ancient and Modern), philosophy of being (metaphysics), philosophy of knowledge (epistemology), philosophy of the human person and courses in our Catholic Identity mission course category.

As academic advisor to Philosophy majors, Fr. Joensen tries to help students see how their awakening intellectual passions and life and work experiences might be indications of worthy professional pursuits. He also strives to help them appreciate how habits of mind, such as analytical thinking and critical reflection, and the ability to communicate ideas lucidly in written and spoken form will serve them all their lives.

As Dean of Campus Spiritual Life, he promotes the Catholic mission and identity of the College through the Faith and Values Education Committee and other avenues, including student-development programming. He is also chaplain to the Daughters of Isabella group of Catholic Loras Duhawk women, and offers individual spiritual direction to students and others.

Each summer, Fr. Joensen participates as a faculty member at the Tertio Milllennio Seminar in Krakow, Poland, which brings together European and American young adults to study Catholic social and moral teaching in the spirit of Blessed Pope John Paul II. He is also a regular contributor of scriptural and seasonal reflections to Magnificat®, a Catholic spiritual resource.

Mark Kehren, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of History
563.588.7633 |

Jacob Kohlhaas, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Moral Theology
563.588.7308 |

Dr. Kohlhaas received his Ph.D. in Theology from Duquesne University where his dissertation considered contemporary Catholic theological accounts of parenthood and the nature of kinship within the Christian tradition. He received his M.A. in Doctrine, with a minor in History, at Catholic Theological Union where his thesis compared and contrasted developments in Catholic and Lutheran perspectives on human sexuality since the mid-twentieth century. Dr. Kohlhaas teaches courses on Christian morality and the Catholic moral tradition including Introduction to Christian Values, Issues in Christian Ethics, Christian Sexual Morality and Catholic Social Teaching as well as Introduction to Theology and Religious Studies and Social Justice Today. Dr. Kohlhaas’ research centers on questions of Theological Anthropology, particularly the moral aspects of the human need and capacity for relationships. This has led to specific research in the areas of sexual ethics, family ethics, environmental ethics, and theologies of children and parenthood.

Christoffer Lammer-Heindel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy
563.588.7733 |

Within the Philosophy Program, Dr. Lammer-Heindel teaches Critical Reasoning, Introduction to Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Science. He also teaches Democracy and Global Diversity and Catholicism and Taoism, both of which are general education courses. His academic expertise includes analytic ethics and contemporary social and political philosophy. His research interests pertain to issues surrounding the nature of moral duties and obligations, especially institutionally or collectively held moral duties and obligations, as well as sustainability ethics. He is the author of the critical reasoning handbook, which is used in the Modes of Inquiry course.

Amanda Osheim, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Practical Theology
Director of Breitbach Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7506 |

Dr. Osheim received her doctorate in systematic theology from Boston College. Her courses include Introduction to Religious Studies and Theology; Foundations for Ministry; God’s Literature; Empowered Catholic Women, The Four Marks, and Communication for Communion. Dr. Osheim’s particular interest is ecclesiology, which is the study of the church’s identity and mission. She also collaborates with the Archdiocese of Dubuque to develop programs that meet the growing need for lay leadership in parishes.

Her research focuses on discernment of the Holy Spirit within the church; development of church doctrine and practice; and the evolving role of lay ministers in the church’s life. Dr. Osheim is an editor and contributor at Other recent publications include: “On Our Pilgrim Way [Responses to ‘Evangelii Gaudium’].” America: The National Catholic Review vol.210 no. 1 (January 6-13, 2014); “Theology: serving the conversation.” C21 Resources, Fall 2013, p. 37.; “The Local Church in Dialogue: Toward an Orthopraxis of Reception.” In Visions of Hope: Emerging Theologians and the Future of the Church. Kevin J. Ahern, ed. Orbis Books, 2012.

Kathrin Parks, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology
563.588.7819 |

David Pitt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Theology
563.588.7324 |

Dr. Pitt is trained as a liturgical historian and as a liturgical musician. His Ph.D. in Theology (Liturgical Studies) is from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where he researched the reform of the rite for adult initiation in the Roman Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. His M.A. in Liturgical Music (Organ Performance and Composition) is from St. John’s University, Minnesota. These academic interests guide his teaching and his research, motivating him to investigate areas in which the Tradition of the Church might inform and direct contemporary pastoral practice. He co-edited A Living Tradition: Essays on the Intersection of Liturgical History and Pastoral Practice (Liturgical Press, 2012). Author of over 45 essays, article, and book reviews, he has especially focused on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the liturgical year, issues in the performance of liturgical music, and the music of Olivier Messiaen. Pitt held the 2013-2014 John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Thought, during which time he was researching the history of Eucharistic praying. Pitt is actively involved in liturgical music ministry, currently serving as Organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church. He has led pastoral workshops and given organ concerts and recitals across the United States and in Canada.

John Waldmeir
Professor of Religious Studies
563.588.7966 |

Dr. Waldmeir teaches courses on religion and culture, sacred scripture, and world religions. A member of the Loras faculty for sixteen years, he has published four books, most recently Cathedrals of Bone, The Role of the Body in Contemporary Catholic Literature. A fifth book on the contemporary Catholic Church in Ireland, is forthcoming. He has held the annual John Cardinal O’Connor Chair for Catholic Studies twice at Loras, and recently won the Cardinal Newman Award for outstanding campus teaching and leadership.

Rev. Douglas Wathier, S.T.D.
Interim Vice-President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Theology
Director of Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program
563.588.7013 |

Fr. Wathier received S.T.D. (Sacrae Theologiae Doctor) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, with an emphasis on the transmission of revelation and the act of faith. He teaches courses in the Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program, including Character and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition; The Once and Future Church; The Displaced Person: Human Dignity and Human Rights; Councils, Creeds and Culture; Belief and Unbelief and the Good Life; and Leadership Seminar for Social Justice. He also teaches christology and ecclesiology in the graduate program, offers J-term courses with travel in Germany and Italy. Fr. Wathier is the Director of the Catholic Thinkers and Leaders Program, and serves as an instructor in the Archdiocese of Dubuque’s Deacon Formation Program.

Fr. Wathier’s academic interests include Catholic Identity in Higher Education. He has been invited to give presentations about this topic at Arizona State University and Fordham University. He also has given a presentation about the reception of revelation and the clerical abuse scandal at Georgetown University.

Lee Zhu, Ph.D.
Professor of History
563.588.7199 |

Dr. Lee S. Zhu was born in China. He received his doctorate degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He teaches East Asian History, Russian history and the history of the Second World War and the Cold War. His research interests center on the history of the Soviet Union during the Stalin period and the history of the People’s Republic of China during the Mao years. Dr. Lee conducted research in archives in Moscow, Shanghai and Beijing, and he published several scholarly articles examining the impact of the Communist ideology on Soviet and Chinese education. He took students on summer research trips and January-term trips to China.