Accomplished academic, scholar and author Michelle Voss Roberts has been appointed by Victoria University’s Board of Regents to be the 13th Principal of Emmanuel College, one of the Toronto School of Theology's seven member colleges. The Principal oversees all aspects of Emmanuel College, the largest theological college associated with the United Church of Canada and a founding member of the Toronto School of Theology. Professor Voss Roberts, who will be the College’s first female Principal, begins her appointment on July 1, 2018.
“Michelle was the search committee’s unanimous choice,” says Victoria University President William Robins. “She brings to Emmanuel her deep understanding of the role of theological education in the twenty-first century, as well as her commitment to building communities of dialogue across different religious traditions.”
Professor Voss Roberts comes to Emmanuel College from the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University, where she has taught since 2011 and where she was recently promoted to the rank of full Professor. Since 2015 she has served as the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, the school’s chief academic officer. An expert in comparative theology, with a particular focus on Christian and Hindu contexts, Voss Roberts has also written widely about aesthetics, gender, and embodiment. Her teaching integrates the study of Christian theological traditions with theories of gender and sexuality, disability studies, and religious pluralism. She contributed to changes to the curriculum at Wake Forest University School of Divinity to highlight issues of race and class, gender and sexuality, and religious pluralism.
Voss Roberts received her PhD in Theological Studies from Emory University. Among her numerous scholarly publications are several ground-breaking books: Dualities: A Theology of Difference (2010), Tastes of the Divine: Hindu and Christian Theologies of Emotion (2014), and, most recently, Body Parts: A Theological Anthropology (2017). She has also edited of a volume of essays aimed at student readers, Comparing Faithfully: Insights for Christian Systematic Theology (2016). She is the recipient of grants and prizes from many institutions, including the American Academy of Religion, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies.
Professor Voss Roberts is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, a denomination in full communion with the United Church of Canada. She joins the faculty of Emmanuel College at the rank of Professor. Professor Voss Roberts will succeed Professor Mark Toulouse, who stepped down as Principal of the College on June 30, 2017 following completion of an eight-and-a-half-year term, and Professor Phyllis Airhart, who has been serving as Interim Principal since July 1, 2017.
Emmanuel College was founded in 1928 when Union College united with the faculty of theology of Victoria University. Emmanuel College is one of seven federated theological colleges within the Toronto School of Theology and is a member of the Association of Theological Schools.
Victoria University was founded in 1836 in Cobourg, Ontario, and federated with the University of Toronto in 1890. It comprises Emmanuel College and Victoria College, an arts and science college of the University of Toronto. Included amongst Victoria’s graduates are literary critic and scholar Northrop Frye, Nobel laureate and Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, pioneering doctor Augusta Stowe-Gullen, Nobel laureate and co-inventor of the laser Arthur Schawlow, authors Margaret Atwood and Dennis Lee, actor Donald Sutherland, diplomat Kenneth Taylor, and filmmaker Norman Jewison.
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