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Dr. Nicole Symmonds Appointed Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics

The Board of Trustees of Columbia Theological Seminary has appointed Dr. Nicole Symmonds as Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics, effective July 1, 2023.

Dr. Symmonds is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology.  A Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, her research explores the racializing effects of evangelical anti-trafficking work and constructs a womanist ethic of encounter for urban mission outreach. Dr. Symmonds also contributes writings on religion and culture to the National Catholic Reporter and has previously served as a writer and editor at Beliefnet.com and UrbanFaith.com.

“I am excited to join Columbia at a pivotal moment in the institution’s history,” she said.  “In particular, I am eager to help shape the religious and moral imagination of clergy persons and lay ministers going into diverse contexts by expanding their vision of ethical resources beyond the norm and sharpening their socio-cultural analysis to be interculturally and transnationally sensitive.  In general, I am looking forward to walking alongside this community in the time to come.”

An in-demand speaker who serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Catholic Social Thought, Dr. Symmonds is a member of the committee on the Status of Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession for the American Academy of Religion, the steering committee of the Black Catholic Consultation of the Catholic Theological Society of America, and an academic advisory Board member of the Political Theology Network’s Catholic Re-Visions blog.  She was also a student board member of the Society of Christian Ethics.

“Dr. Nicole Symmonds’ appointment comes at the end of an extensive search process,” said Columbia Theological Seminary President Rev. Dr. Victor Aloyo.  “As a Christian social ethicist focusing on women, gender, and sexuality, particularly the lived, embodied experience of Black women in North America, Dr. Symmonds will, with our current faculty, invigorate the depth and breadth of our collective scholarship and degree programs.  Her presence and teaching will benefit the current and future faith leaders of the Church in the public square.”

“I want to thank the search committee chair, Dean Christine Roy Yoder, the entire search committee, and everyone involved in the search. On behalf of Columbia Theological Seminary, I also take this opportunity to extend my deepest thanks to Dr. Marcia Riggs, who will be retiring as the J. Erskine Love Professor of Christian Ethics this year,” he added.

Dr. Symmonds earned her Bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University, a Master of Divinity from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, and a doctorate in Ethics and Society from Emory. 

“The appointment of Dr. Nicole Symmonds is exciting for so many reasons,” said Dr. Yoder, Columbia’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty. “She is a remarkable scholar, celebrated teacher, sought-after speaker, and generous colleague who is deeply committed to theological education and cutting-edge ethical engagement for the sake of the Church and the world. Dr. Symmonds will lead us in new directions, and she will continue Columbia’s distinguished history of faculty who shape the field of Christian Ethics. I look forward to learning from and serving with her for many years to come.”

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