Sheila Tefft

Sheila L. Tefft, a senior lecturer in the Journalism Program, was a reporter, editor and foreign correspondent for almost 25 years. She served as Journalism director 2000-2009. Prior to joining Emory, she taught journalism and writing courses at Louisiana State University. She spent 12 years in Asia where she was a correspondent and bureau chief for The Christian Science Monitor in Beijing, Bangkok and New Delhi. She attended Marquette University and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin. She received a M.Sc. degree in economic history from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1977. She has also worked for The Chicago Tribune and The Atlanta Constitution and freelanced for many other publications.


Johannes Kleiner

I am a Ph.D. student in Hebrew Bible. My research focuses on four major questions: 1) How did the ancient Israelites and their neighbors relate to nature, natural phenomena, and non-human beings? 2) How are different relationships between humans and nature expressed in ancient Near Eastern texts—including but not limited to the Bible? 3) Which new insights can a reading of the biblical text from the perspective of nature offer?  And, 4) how do we understand the Bible as authoritative scripture in times of environmental threats—e.g. what can the biblical text contribute to the debate over environmental ethics or sustainability? From the Bible and its historical context, my interest expands to the emerging field of Ecology and Religion. The interdisciplinary nature of my work brings me into close contact with faculty in the areas of environmental studies, ethics, and ancient Near Eastern iconography.

Before coming to Emory, I earned a Diplom in Theology form the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany (2011), as well as a Master of Theological Studies with a focus on Hebrew Bible from the Franciscan School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA (2012).


becky copeland

Becky Copeland

I am a PhD student in the Graduate Division of Religion. Before pursuing a theological education, I earned a B.A. in English literature from the University of Miami (FL), and a J.D. from the William and Mary School of Law. I spent eight years as an Assistant Attorney General for Virginia before earning my M.Div. and Th.M. from Candler School of Theology. My work at Candler focused on the Christian doctrine of the incarnation and understandings of atonement and sacrifice. My research interests include a broader understanding of what is essential in the incarnation, and the implications this definition has for other doctrines, including creation, theological anthropology, and soteriology.


Holloway Sparks

Holloway Sparks earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and came to Emory from Penn State University in 2004. Her research interests include feminist theory, political theory, and American political thought, with an emphasis on political dissent, women’s activism, political identities, and democratic communication. She is currently completing a book called Dissident Citizenship: Gender and the Politics of Democratic Disturbance that investigates the way gender combined with race, class, and sexuality to both enable and constrain women’s democratic activism in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the U.S. welfare rights movement. She is also researching a project on gender, anger, and democratic communication, and is co-authoring an essay exploring the gendered dynamics of the Jessica Lynch rescue. Her teaching interests in Women’s Studies include feminist theory, feminist political theory, the history of feminist thought, feminism and postmodernism, the history and theory of women’s activism, and feminist research methods.


Holli Semetko

Holli A. Semetko, MSc PhD (The London School of Economics & Political Science) MBA (Emory), is a Fulbright Nehru Scholar and Visiting Honorary Professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Bombay) in Mumbai and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Media and International Affairs and Professor of Political Science at Emory University in Atlanta, where she served as Vice Provost for International Affairs (VPIA) from 2003 to early 2013. With over 100 publications, her research on influence, attention and campaigns in international contexts extends from the US, UK, Germany, Turkey and the European Union (EU), to India, China and South Korea.

Dr. Semetko’s years as VPIA and Director of The Claus M. Halle Institute for Global Learning were a time of unsurpassed growth in Emory’s international reputation, partnerships, teaching and research. Emory’s international alumni clubs grew more than ten-fold, the international student and scholar population grew eight-fold, and more than 100 international partnerships and programs were launched in countries around the world. Strategic alliances with institutions in a number of countries were launched and strengthened under her leadership.

Semetko established the Halle Institute’s research program in 2004 to advance faculty research and partnered with a variety of institutions to cosponsor symposia including: the European Central Bank; Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; diplomatic missions from Argentina, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Turkey and the UK; Seoul National University and Nanjing University’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Hundreds of scholars and students have benefited from the research program.  The Halle Institute’s Knowledge Futures initiative, an interdisciplinary program that sponsors forums to address critical issues about the digital, mediated and wireless world, was launched by Dr. Semetko, as were many new programs including the endowed Turkish Lecture Series; Cartooning for Peace at the United Nations and Cartooning for Peace and Health at Emory; and the annual India Summit. The Halle Institute’s study trip program was expanded from Germany and India to Belgium, Brazil, China and Hong Kong, Jordan, South Korea, Indonesia and Turkey.

Dr. Semetko spent 8 years as Professor and Chair of Audience and Public Opinion Research at the University of Amsterdam where she obtained over 1.5 million euros in research grants, launched and served as founding board chair of the Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR) where she remains an honorary professor. She held fellowships from Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy, and the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

An award-winning scholar, Dr. Semetko received the Samuel H. Beer Dissertation Prize and the MSc in political sociology with distinction at the LSE. An advisor to The Carter Center China Program, Dr. Semetko serves on a number of non-profit boards and consults internationally. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Emory’s Center for Ethics, and the Academy of International Business.


Christine Ristaino

Christine Ristaino, Senior Lecturer & Teacher Trainer, Italian Studies Program (Ph.D. in Italian Literature, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2004): Italian Education; Italian cultural studies; cultural acquisition; language pedagogy; the marvelous Baroque; the ‘Querelle des Femmes’; and Italian women writers.
Co-author of Lucrezia Marinella and the“Querelle des Femmes” in Seventeenth-Century Italy (Farleigh Dickinson Press, 2008).  Co-author of the first edition ofthe Italian Virtual Class, volumes 1 & 2 (Emory University Office of Technology Transfer, 2006, 2007), which teaches language through cultural acquisition (Academic Exchange article).  Author of a number of entries, book reviews, book chapters, and articles in Teaching Italian and Italian Culture, Encyclopedia of Italian Literary Studies, Annali d’italianistica, Academic Exchange and Emory Report.  Author of The Little Girl Is Me, a memoir that confronts the topics of violence and discrimination (Emory Report article). Advisor of student mentoring organization, The Waller Scholars Chapter at Emory.  Community-engaged learning partner with five local schools.


Bobbi Patterson

Professor Patterson joined Emory University’s faculty in 1994 after serving as a University Chaplain and Emory University Dean of Students. As Dean of the Emory Scholars Program while on the faculty, she designed a comprehensive program for 350 students including in-course service projects, a residential living program, a summer residential internship program, and service scholarship abroad. 

Professor Patterson’s initial training focused on feminist theory and theology at the intersections of symbolisms and narratives of the body, psychodynamics, and cultural studies. Her current research and teaching focuses on comparative contemplative practices and pedagogies often related to questions of place and thriving/sustainability. Her approaches draw from ancient and contemporary Christian and Tibetan Buddhist perspectives with emphasis on processes of self and communal transformation through ethical engagement for social change. She works closely withEmory’s Office of Sustainability Initiatives linking contemplative perspectives to issues of place and space. Writing widely about community-partnered learning and service, she founded the Theory-Practice-Learning Program at Emory, offering workshops, trainings, and placement coordination for faculty and community leaders. She remains engaged in community-partnered teaching and research through Emory’sOffice of University-Community Partnerships. Professor Patterson has developed numerous portfolio formats, field-based exercises, and case study models to hone insights and skills for joining conceptual and experiential learning and teaching. More recently, her writing focuses on sequenced pedagogies integrating reflective judgment and critical analysis as pathways of resilience for learning for life, where information becomes discerning and transformative action. Her most recent publications describe contemplative pedagogies used in Religion and Ecology classes. She has led numerous workshops addressing these and other pedagogical theories and strategies at national academic meetings and on college and university campuses across the nation. With several other teaching prizes and an Emory Scholarship named for her, she is an established national leader in reflective and engaged pedagogies.

In 2010, Professor Patterson was recipient of the Award for Excellence in Teaching of the American Academy of Religion, which also noted that much of her current research relates to her pedagogical interests. Using a Grounded Theory approach, her research team is analyzing over 150 portfolios, identifying major student self-reported themes of content learning, epistemological shifts, growth in analytical skills, and personal and spiritual change. She is also co-leading a Compassion Meditation group for suicide attempters through the Grady Hospital Psychiatry and NIA project programs. Through the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, she developed the Emory as Place Initiative, designed to explore and educate about campus histories, places, and ecologies. Using media-based, experiential, and narrative-based formats, this initiative has created tours of campus woodlands, an Emory civil rights related tour, and a campus-wide scavenger hunt among other residential hall activities.

As Chair of the American Religious Cultures concentration within the Graduate Division of Religion (GDR) of Emory University, Professor Patterson’s graduate courses range from examining methodological approaches, particularly practice-driven frameworks, to the genealogies of “mind” in American religious cultures of healing, meditation, and spirituality, to place and space. She co-leads with Professor Liz Bounds the graduate teaching training program of the GDR, comprised of a series of workshops and special topics sessions which interrelate with the GDR’s emergent professional development initiative.

As Chair of the Sustainability Task Force of the American Academy of Religion, she draws her interests in material culture, religion, and spirituality into areas of sustainable living and transformation. The Task Force has thoroughly greened the Academy’s meetings and become a model for other international organizations who have consulted with us including the American Philosophical Association and the American Anthropological Association. The Task Force has developed a number of workshops and is working more closely with Regional Sections.

Professor Patterson currently serves as a contemplative practices consultant on three major grants with Emory University’s Psychiatry, Nursing, and Psychology/Medicine Departments. She is also involved in a grant to Emory’s GDR from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.


Judy Raggi Moore

Creator of the groundbreaking Italian Virtual Class (I.V.C.) culture and second language acquisition method & co-author with Christine Ristaino of the three volumes of Italian Virtual Class, Chiavi di Lettura, Volumes 1, 2, 3 (Emory University Office of Technology Transfer, 2007, 2008). Dr. Moore has co-authored several papers on the topic of second language acquisition and teaching language through cultural studies. She also co-authored a book chapter in Teaching Italian and Italian Culture (Cambridge Scholarly Press)A native of Italy, Dr. Moore is the director of study abroad semester and summer opportunities in Italy and conducts a yearly interdisciplinary summer study program in Italy. Italian Studies has recently partnered with the School of Medicine to create an ideal medical humanities course for undergraduates entitled Medicine and Compassion, which is co-taught with Emory medical faculty in Italy