Announcing: Catholic Studies Position at University of Illinois

The Department of Religion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign invites applications for a position as Visiting Assistant Professor, Visiting Lecturer or Visiting Instructor of Catholic Studies, depending on qualifications and experience, for the 2011-2012 academic year. Research and teaching interests in Catholicism with a special interest in Latin America and/or in ethics are required, as is ability to teach general courses in Christianity and Catholicism. For a specialist in Latin America, preference will be given to scholars who concentrate on the social and cultural impact of Catholicism. For a specialist in ethics, preference will be given to scholars who concentrate on application of Catholic ethical thought to environmental issues, economic justice, or use of technology.

The successful candidate will have either a Ph.D. or ABD in Religious Studies (or related field) with a concentration (as indicated by coursework, doctoral thesis or research) in Catholicism as related to either of the above fields and should demonstrate a commitment to excellence in teaching. Only candidates with PhD in hand, a year of teaching experience, a strong publication record, and an active research agenda can be considered for the Visiting Assistant Professor position. Candidates with PhD by time of appointment and teaching experience will be considered for appointment as Visiting Lecturer, and ABD candidates with teaching experience for appointment as Visiting Instructor.

The target date of appointment is August 16, 2011. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience.

To apply, create your candidate profile through the University of Illinois application login page at and upload your application materials: letter of application, CV, up to 3 representative publications, statement of teaching and research interests, and teaching evaluations if available, and contact information for three professional references. Referees will be contacted electronically upon the submission of the application. Only electronic applications will be accepted.

To ensure full consideration, all required application materials must be submitted by June 15, 2011; letters of reference must be received no later than June 22, 2011. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made before June 22, 2011.

For more information contact or visit
Illinois is an Affirmative Action /Equal Opportunity Employer and welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity (

21 thoughts on “Announcing: Catholic Studies Position at University of Illinois

  1. I have a question related to this, for anyone that can offer insight:

    In theology/religion, what subfield has the most job openings? My background is in philosophy, so that’s the only field I’m familiar with, but I’m actually moving forward in grad. studies in theology. In philosophy, for example, apparently ethics is the field where all the hiring is taking place, while metaphysics/epistemology fields not so much.

    Any insight anyone may be able to offer on this point?

  2. Ah, interesting. Great to know. Ironically, those are two areas that are chief interests of mine, anyway.

    Is there a place to browse religion department job listings, to get a broader idea of what’s out there, and what they’re looking for?

  3. There seems to be one “hot” field every year, in a way that’s pretty unpredictable, but the perennials are Catholic theology and Christian ethics.

    Also maybe “practical theology,” whatever that is. (Something like “fantasy engineering”?)

    You’d also do well to get “Religion in America” and “World Religions” under your belt, as those seem to be the most in-demand courses in religion departments.

  4. While I know that Adam knows this, let me point out for those who don’t hang out in seminary/Div school environments that “practical theology” has (at most institutions offering an M.Div. or D.Min.) become an umbrella term encompassing pastoral counseling, worship, homiletics, institutional leadership theory, etc. This is a slight variation on the classic Schleiermachean sense of the term in his _Brief Outline_, which remains a sort of locus classicus for American M.Div. programs at most seminaries.
    And my friends in those fields tell me that the job market there is only slightly less tight than say, PR or theology. But of course any given year could be an exception.

  5. Good to know about “World Religions” and “Religion in America,” as well. This is tremendously helpful insight, going into my first semester at the MA level, thanks very much.

    I’ve been meaning to fire up my AAR membership for a while, so now’s as good a time as any.

    Of course, since I won’t be coming out the other end of a PhD program for perhaps 7 years or so, hopefully these fields are still hiring at that time! But as I understand it (at least from the philosophy PhD side), anyone with a PhD in ethics can be hired in academia, private sector, or government alike (at least at the moment).

  6. The jobs are in adjuncting. And it’s likely that those jobs will become competitive in 7-10 years. The more well rounded and the more versitility you show as a teacher can only lead to more adjuncting.

  7. “But as I understand it (at least from the philosophy PhD side), anyone with a PhD in ethics can be hired in academia, private sector, or government alike (at least at the moment).”

    This is not the case for philosophy PhDs. It’s totally possible to do a PhD in something ethics-related and get shut out when you first try to go on the market. I believe that very narrow subfields, like bioethics, have a little better luck getting non-academic jobs, but in general the market is just really tight all around.

  8. It’s totally possible to do a PhD in something ethics-related and get shut out when you first try to go on the market. I believe that very narrow subfields, like bioethics, have a little better luck getting non-academic jobs, but in general the market is just really tight all around.

    @Daniel, Yeah, I didn’t mean to suggest an ethics PhD is a free pass—you still have to get hired. But merely to say that ethics positions are where more hiring is taking place, generally.

    @Rod, yup, I’ll be firing up my membership. Although, what’s that “other group” you have in mind? (I’m too ignorant of AAR to catch such referencese :-) ).

  9. Here’s another, related question:

    My BA is in philosophy. My currently planned concentration for my MAR at Yale Div is philosophy of religion/philosophical theology.

    My question is whether or not perhaps I should switch my concentration to something like systematic theology, ethics, or history of Christianity, to diversify myself for the job field.

    When I chose philosophical theology, I was thinking about what I would be best at within what my interests are. But now I’m wondering if I should swap concentrations based on making myself more employable within what my interests are. All of these options are interests of mine (as opposed to other concentrations offered such as liturgical studies, judaic studies, religion and the arts, etc.), so I wouldn’t be merely picking a concentration based on exclusively pragmatic concerns.

    I’m just wondering if by doing a philosophy BA and philosophy of religion MA, if I’m making myself a one-trick-pony.

  10. Just a word of advice: every choice you can possibly make can be construed as a misstep, because the job market is fundamentally irrational. Make sure you can teach some good bread and butter courses (like I did with my research in patristics and medieval), and beyond that, do what you want. It might not get you a job, but going all mercenary is also not necessarily going to get you a job.

    Where you really need to diversify is by developing skills and contacts such that you will have job opportunities outside of academia that do not involve randomly going to the temp agency. I call this strategy the “shadow resume.” (If you can do some kind of consistent freelance/part-time work alongside your studies, you can plausibly omit your grad work without needing to explain a gap in your employment history.)

  11. • One should cultivate as wide a teaching competence as possible so as to serve a variety of departmental needs AND one needs to have a clear, narrow specialization.

    Bingo. At least for me, my “shadow resume” backup plan would be simply ministering in a church. Thanks for all the great tips.

    @Rod, Ah, of course! I should’ve known =).

  12. You should avoid thinking of the job market as something that can be planned for in this way. Study what you’re sincerely interested in and do everything you can to make grad school an end in itself, so that you can look back at it and think, “At least back then I was doing what I want,” rather than, “It sucks that I jumped through all these pointless hoops and didn’t get the promised job.” Trying to be “realistic” about positioning yourself for the job market is the least realistic approach possible.

  13. Yeah, I’m fully prepared to finish a PhD and then go and become a pastor just as well as academia, so I’ll definitely be enjoying the education unto itself. Thanks again for the tips!

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