I'm from Alabama, and I grew up on a farm outside Montgomery. Then when I was about to start high school my family moved to Mobile.
I came to Salem in 2008 as a member of the Religion Department. In 2012 I became an administrator, but I still teach Greek and religion.
The most obvious strengths of a women's college are the focuses on women's leadership and on how gender affects learning. I've been struck by how women in my classes both challenge and support each other.
Global experiences I have had include a 1997 dig at Banias (in the Golan Heights—in the New Testament it is called Caesarea Philippi) and I was in Israel/Palestine for five weeks. It was an amazing time, and I'd like very much to go back.
My research and writing is on the New Testament. I published a commentary on Luke in 2008 and on 1 Peter in 2010 . I'm currently working on materials for small groups to use in Bible study.
If a student wanted to go into the ministry, I'd say she ought to get some experience being a volunteer in a church and in some kind of non-profit organization, to learn what it's like to work in those contexts. She should then do a seminary degree in a school connected with whatever denomination she is most likely to want to ordain her. If a student wanted to do religion strictly as an academic pursuit, I'd say she ought to gather information about the qualifications necessary to be admitted to the top five or six PhD programs, and then make a plan for getting those qualifications.
My wife, Dr. Diane Lipsett, who is the chair of Salem's department of religion and philosophy, and I have five sons, three daughters-in-law, two grandchildren, a dog, and three cats.