Our Faculty


Our Faculty

Seeking Truth Together

Students who come to Franciscan University come to be challenged, strengthened, and equipped to live as salt and light in the culture. You also come to be transformed by the love, light, and wisdom of Jesus Christ.

That happens first in the classroom.

At Franciscan University, renowned scholars and experts in dozens of fields help students seek the truth about nature, man, and God. They challenge you intellectually and form you professionally, preparing you to confront the social and economic problems facing society.

Our professors also help you apply the wisdom of the Church to all branches of knowledge and fields of study, from biology and mathematics to psychology, accounting, and social work. But what truly sets Franciscan’s professors apart from their peers is that they hold teaching and mentoring you as a sacred trust. They care not only about your GPA and your future career but about helping you become the man or woman God has called you to be from all eternity.

In Their Own Words


Dr. Dan Kuebler, Assistant Professor, Biology

“My job, as I see it, is to help educate the next generation of pro-life doctors, researchers, and scientists. Not just to give them the academic skills they need, but also the moral and ethical grounding that is essential if they are going to be lights to the world. It’s a phenomenal job. I still can’t believe they pay me to do this.”
 

Dr. Kathleen Spinnenweber, Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Literature

“Besides the school’s Catholic faith, the focus Franciscan puts on the students is what attracted me here. I think for a professor, the student has to be the priority. I have other projects, but the students, the people I’m with, is what matters the most.”
 

Dr. Regis Martin, Professor of Theology

“What a wonderful job I have teaching theology to young people! It doesn’t, this side of Paradise, get much better than that.”

 

Dr. Jerry Jo Gilham, Associate Professor of Social Work

“The Christian faith of my students and their desire to help others are beautiful complements to each other, and that really excites me. They bring that passion, and we give them the professional skills.”
 

Dr. Joseph Almeida, Honors Program Director

“There’s a statement in Plato’s Republic that education is a way of turning the soul so that it is in the best position to perceive reality. That notion of education has never left me. It helps me see the pursuit of knowledge as a way of life that’s connected with the human soul. It’s not about information gathering or pragmatic success. It’s about becoming more human.”

 

Recent Faculty Highlights

  • “The Problem of Unlimited Academic Freedom,” presentation by Professor Shawn Dougherty, Fine Arts Chair, First Catholic Theatre Conference, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.
  • “Enhanced Mercury Wet Deposition in the Proximity of Coal Fired Utilities,” presentation by Dr. James Slater, Chemistry Chair, Ninth International Symposium on Mercury as a Global Pollutant, Guiyang, China.
  • Kinship by Covenant (Yale University Press) by Dr. Scott Hahn, a revised, updated, and expanded version of his doctoral dissertation.
  • Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics (Oxford University Press) by Dr. Patrick Lee, Professor of Philosophy, Franciscan University, and Dr. Robert George, Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University.
  • The Evolution Controversy: A Survey of Competing Theories (Baker Academic) by Dr. Dan Kuebler, Associate Professor of Biology.
  • Dionysius the Areopagite and the Neoplatonist Tradition: Despoiling the Hellenes (Ashgate Publishing) by Dr. Sarah K. Wear, Assistant Professor of Classics.

Meet Our Faculty

Read profiles of some of our remarkable professors.

Dr. Robert Doyle
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Professor of History
When Robert Doyle was 20, a ROTC scholarship made it possible for him to study German at Pennsylvania State University. It also set the stage for the rest of his professional life. READ MORE >>


Professor Shawn Dougherty
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Professor of Drama
Professor Shawn Dougherty is passionate about the theatre and believes the fine arts have an important role to play in the New Evangelization. “Sometimes the fine arts are seen as a relativist area, but that’s not the case. READ MORE >>


Dr. Eugene Gan
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Assistant Professor of Communication Arts

Dr. Eugene Gan was born in Singapore, the only child of Catholic parents. He grew up with an unusual combination of talents—technology and art. When it came time for college, he could see... READ MORE >>


Dr. Dan Kuebler
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Associate Professor of Biology
Every athlete has heard the sage advice stretch, stretch, stretch. But does it really work? Franciscan University biology professor and cross country head coach Dr. Dan Kuebler is leading several of his students on... READ MORE >>

Dr. Patrick Lee
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John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Chair in Bioethics
Director, Franciscan University Institute of Bioethics

When Dr. Patrick Lee made the decision to leave another Catholic university to come and teach at Franciscan University in 1992... READ MORE >>

Professor Don Materniak
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Professor of Business

Professor Don Materniak knows the world of finance from the inside out. Before making the switch to higher ed in 1984, he worked at both Ernst and Young and Merck Pharmaceuticals, two of the largest companies in the country. READ MORE >>


Dr. Mary Kathryn McVey
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Associate Professor of Education
One of Dr. Mary Kathryn McVey’s best childhood memories is of going to the library with her father almost every evening. Her dad was in the Marines, so the family moved a... READ MORE >>

Dr. Carolyn Miller
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Professor of Nursing
Dr. Carolyn Miller says she knows Franciscan’s nursing students “better than they want” her to. “I stand by the patients’ beds with them, teach them in the classroom, and see them here on campus... READ MORE >>


Dr. Matthew O'Brien
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Associate Professor of History
Dr. Matthew O’Brien has forged one career out of many interests: history, which he describes as “the narrative of human experience”; Ireland, the land of his ancestors; the Catholic commitment to social justice; and teaching. “I’ve been very blessed,” he says. READ MORE >>

Dr. Jonathan Sanford
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Professor of Philosophy
One teacher can change a life forever. Dr. Jonathan Sanford, chair of Franciscan University's Philosophy Department, knows this well. In South Bend, Indiana, eighth-grade literature teacher Dr. Rollin A. Lasseter changed Sanford’s life. READ MORE >>


Dr. Mary Sunyoger
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Professor of English
“The day I lose my passion for teaching is the day I leave the classroom.” That day, if it ever comes, will not come soon for Dr. Mary Antoinette Gallo Sunyoger. READ MORE >>

Dr. Michael Welker
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Associate Professor of Economics
Dr. Michael Welker ’89 has never found a shortage of things that interest him. Raised in Rockville, Maryland, Welker went to California to work for five years after high school, where he found an interest in Christianity, converting from Zen Buddhism. READ MORE >>


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