(HARTFORD ? May 21, 2012) — The Board of Trustees of Hartford Seminary and President Heidi Hadsell have named Dr. Shanell T. Smith, a New Testament scholar, to the faculty at Hartford Seminary.
Smith will become Assistant Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, effective August 1.
?I am delighted that Shanell Smith will be joining the faculty at Hartford Seminary,? Hadsell said. ?Shanell is an innovative thinker who brings a fresh approach to New Testament scholarship. She has a passion for teaching in a Seminary context and a deep desire to mentor students, helping them develop the skills to become leaders in their ministry settings.?
Smith said that she decided to come to Hartford Seminary because she was attracted to its multi-faith community, which makes for great opportunities for a rich curriculum, liturgy, and most especially, dialogue.
?At Hartford Seminary, faculty and students are able to identify both similarities and differences between their faiths, helping them to realize that despite any differences they can work together toward common goals. I must also say that when I visited Hartford Seminary, the faculty and staff were so welcoming, and interested in me as a person and not just what I can do for the Seminary, that it just felt right,? Smith said.
Smith has a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy from the Graduate Division of Religion at Drew University in Madison, N.J.
Her dissertation topic, for which Drew awarded her the Rabbi Dr. Sheldon J. Weltman Prize for the Best Dissertation in Biblical Studies, was ?Empire, Gender and Ambiveilence: Toward a Postcolonial Womanist Interpretation of the Woman Babylon in the Book of Revelation.?
Previously, Smith was an instructor at Drew University and a Teaching Assistant at Princeton Theological Seminary. She is a member of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), serving on the Committee for Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Minorities in the Profession. In 2011, Smith served on the Steering Committee of the African American Biblical Hermeneutics Program Unit of SBL.
Smith wrote ?A Perspective on Revelation? in ?Global Perspectives on the Bible? (Pearson Prentice Hall, forthcoming 2012).
Smith described the strength of Hartford Seminary as ?a leader and trendsetter in interreligious dialogue and concerns.?
She added, ?One of the biggest problems that I see that hinders unity in diversity with regard to various religious groups is ignorance — that is, a lack of knowledge about each other?s religious beliefs and tenets. With open, honest, and critical communication, people of different religious faiths will begin to see points of ?working? intersections where commonality can lead to cooperative collaboration on certain goals.?
?My priorities will include getting to know my colleagues, their scholarly interests, and goals for their students in efforts to contribute most effectively and efficiently not only to the advancement of each other?s scholarship, but also to the quality of education that our students receive, and the collective goals of the Seminary,? Smith said.
?Of equal importance will be my intentional effort to know my students, their ambitions, and what they desire from the education they receive. My primary tasks will be to inspire and challenge my students by bringing together faith and intellect, and to help them acquire and hone the skills that are necessary for the practice of ministry,? she said.
In the fall semester, Smith will teach ?New Testament Survey.?
Outside work, Smith says, ?I love spending quality time with family (tossing the football, playing classic games such as Sorry, Operation, and now Wii). I also love cooking, listening to music, writing poetry, running, watching movies….I could go on!?