Last updated: August 29. 2014 11:47PM - 1130 Views
Staff report

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LAURINBURG — When Tanner Capps arrived on the St. Andrews University campus in the fall of 2013, it was as a part-time professor in Religious Studies as he completed his doctoral work through Duke University.

“St. Andrews was looking for a one-year hire in Religious Studies,” said Capps. “I had a goal to work at a small Liberal Arts College and saw this as a fantastic opportunity.”

After phone conversations with Campus President Paul Baldasare and Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert Hopkins, Capps came to campus and met with Creative and Liberal Arts Department Chair David Herr and Professor Stephanie McDavid.

“It was a great visit and I committed to teach two classes per semester,” said Capps. “I was initially surprised how open to engaging in the material the students were. They jumped right in.”

The initial surprise also caused Capps to rethink some of his processes in classroom teaching.

“This was my first time teaching at the undergraduate level,” he said. “I had to get down to key terms and rethink a way to use basics with the students. It has been a very good teaching experience.”

The positive experience was a mutual one as the University extended the offer for a full-time position as Assistant Professor of Religious Studies beginning this fall.

“I love the interdisciplinary teaching that takes place here,” said Capps. “I love seeing a place where art, history, literature and religious studies come together.”

With his new position, Capps is looking for ways to expand some of the interdisciplinary aspects in new ways with particular emphasis on his own background with visual arts and English literature.

“If I could teach any course, it would be a course that surveys popular art and media presentations of religious violence, beginning with depictions of Adam and Satan in Genesis and ending with representations of American civil religion,” he said. “I’d like to teach something like this because we’re largely unaware of the subtle ways religious convictions underwrite domestic and global patterns of brutality, particularly in our American context — and the study of art and media is a good way of digging into some of these issues.”

Capps enjoys trout fishing, catfishing, backpacking, kayaking and watching Atlanta Braves baseball.

Capps received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Anderson College and a Master of Arts degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He can be reached at cappsft@sapc.edu.

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