Eli Lilly Professor of Religion
Bachelor of Science, Spanish Education, Northwestern State University, 1975
Master of Divinity, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1982
Doctor of Philosophy, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1994 (areas:Christian Social Ethics, Theological Ethics, New Testament Literature and Background)
Additional Graduate study:
Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies, The University of Notre Dame, 1992
Peacebuilding Institute, Conflict Transformation Program, Eastern Mennonite University, 2003
University and Relevant Job Experiences
Michelle Tooley joined the Department of Philosophy and Religion in 2003, after 8 years at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to college teaching, she has worked as a Spanish and English teacher in the Cayman Islands, a campus minister in Texas and Louisiana, and Minister to the Homeless at Jeff Street Baptist Community in Louisville, Kentucky. At Berea, she teaches in the Department of Philosophy and Religion and is affiliated with the Campus Christian Center.
Michelle Tooley understands herself as both an academic and an activist. Her field of specialization in the academic world is in the area of Religion, Social Ethics, and Public Policy, with special attention to peacemaking and economic justice. Her most current research focuses on the role of Christian religious communities in peacemaking. For that project, she has done research in Chiapas, Mexico; Nagaland, India; and Iona, Scotland. She also researches the interrelationship between Christianity, Social Ethics and Public Policy, particularly women’s poverty and welfare reform (2003/2004 TANF Reauthorization). Some of her publications include, “Remember the Margins: Constructive Postmodernism and Baptist Discipleship” in Review and Expositor (forthcoming), “Lent,” in Hungry for the Word: Lectionary Reflections on Hunger and Justice, (forthcoming, Liturgical Press), “Seguire Geru Nel Chiapas” in Riforma L’Eco Delle Valli Valdesi (2002), "Practicing Resurrection Amidst Pharaohs," in Sojourners (September-October, 1995), "Justice and Empowerment as a Response to Alienation and Abandonment," co-authored with Glen Stassen and Aubrey Williams, Review and Expositor (1992), and Voices of the Voiceless: Women, Justice, and Human Rights in Guatemala (Herald Press, 1997).
In the other part of her life, she has been a grassroots activist and on the national boards for Witness for Peace and Bread for the World. Her special love for Latin America resulted in dissertation research and study on women in Guatemala during their 36-year war. Also, she led human rights delegations to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Mexico and worked as a Human Rights Observer at the Fray Bartolome Center for Human Rights of the Diocese of San Cristobal in Chiapas, Mexico. In an effort to make peacemaking local as well as global, she trained and volunteered as mediator in South Bend, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; and Nashville, Tennessee.
A native of Texas, Michelle enjoys almost all kinds of Mexican food, but especially Tex-Mex. In summers and spare days during the year, she can be found hiking in the mountains and traveling. In 2001, she hiked five weeks on the Appalachian Trail and now takes every opportunity to hike more sections of it. She also enjoys baking bread, listening to good storytellers, and reading.
If you have any questions or comments, email me.