Shelli M. Poe is Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Millsaps College (Jackson, MS). She originally joined Millsaps as a post-doctoral Teaching Fellow in 2013, and has held a visiting position since 2014. She previously taught courses at the University of Virginia and University of Mary Washington. Her own studies were undertaken at the University of Virginia, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Bethel University (St. Paul, MN).
Shelli was elected to the AAR Schleiermacher Group Steering Committee in 2013, and as co-chair in 2014. Her forthcoming book, Essential Trinitarianism: Schleiermacher as Trinitarian Theology, will be published in October 2017 with Bloomsbury Academic in their series, Explorations in Reformed Theology. Her co-edited volume, The Key to the Door: Experiences of Early African American Students at the University of Virginia, will be published in Spring 2017 with the University of Virginia Press. Her edited volume, A Theology for Ecological Living: Schleiermacher and Sustainability, is currently in submission. In addition to these books, Shelli has published a number of articles in Christian theology, higher education, and the study of teaching and learning.
I teach courses in Religious Studies, and Christianity is my specialization. I love studying people’s religious beliefs, how those beliefs are intertwined with other ideas and contexts, and how people’s lives and practices reflect (or not!) their theologies.
Religious beliefs and/or reactions against them are deeply embedded features of most people’s lives on this planet. By studying religions—both one’s own tradition, if applicable, and others’ traditions—we learn that they are complex, various, and have capacities for self-criticism and change. By studying religions, those who are part of a religious tradition may become active shapers of those traditions, and all of us can develop greater respect for our religious and secular neighbors.
Students are wonderful conversation partners in the study of religions, and I am delighted to be part of students’ learning processes. I take a learner-centered approach to teaching, which means that I focus on helping students achieve their particular goals in the classroom, acknowledge the background and skills they bring with them to the classroom, and use learning activities to keep students engaged. I pay special attention to the ways that course material and processes relate to other aspects of students’ lives, both inside and outside the classroom.