Faculty

Professor, Europe Program Leader

Rachael has been lecturing at SSU since she moved here from England with her family in 2008. She loves learning and teaching about language, culture, and religion, and offers courses related to these areas of interest at SSU – including French, TESL, the weekly School of Contemplation, and courses on the Europe travel study program, for which she is a program leader and logistics coordinator.

Professor of Religious Studies
Disciplines:

Peter Fitch began teaching at SSU in 1979, three and a half years after the university opened its doors. From 1995 until 2019 he served as the Dean of Ministry Studies, SSU’s graduate program in Theology. His main academic focus has been the History of Christian Spirituality, though he has also taught courses in Philosophy, Biblical Studies, and Practical Theology.

Dean of Theology & Culture, Professor of Religious Studies

Brad Jersak, a prairie boy, migrated west to marry Eden (1986). Brad served as a pastor and church planter for twenty years, where he developed a heart for restorative justice for people with disabilities, addictions and economic disadvantages. In 2009, Brad began Ph.D. studies in political theology at Bangor University (Wales). After graduating, he was invited to teach at Westminster Theological Centre (UK), then at SSU and IRPJ, eventually becoming Dean of the Theology & Culture program.

Professor of Religion and Peace Studies, Director of the Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice
Andrew is Director of the Institute of Religion Peace and Justice
Disciplines:

Andrew Klager holds a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Glasgow (2011). He has spoken at many conferences and interfaith dialogues and is widely published in journals and books in research fields as diverse as peace and conflict studies, Anabaptist-Mennonite studies, interreligious peacebuilding especially in Egypt, peace theology, history of Christianity, early modern European history, the Church fathers (especially St. Gregory of Nyssa), and Eastern Orthodox theology. His main area of research is on the inner transformation of a peacemaker.

Professor of Philosophy, President & Chief Academic Officer
Disciplines:
A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Dr. McGinn spent part of his childhood in Nova Scotia before his family moved back to western Canada. Dr. McGinn studied philosophy and history at...
Professor of Psychology
Disciplines:

Dr. Walter Thiessen teaches psychology and religious studies at St. Stephen’s University, including various courses related to trauma and healing. He is currently the faculty lead on the new Reconciliation Studies program and has been enjoying the learning, the conversations and the growing friendships as he has consulted with Indigenous knowledge keepers and educators in the shaping of this program. Lately, his main research interests are studying compassionate, contemplative healing and developing a new model of spiritual maturing.

Assistant Professor of History
Disciplines:

Laurens van Esch teaches history, philosophy and international studies at St. Stephen’s University, and is particularly interested in the links between the study of the past and the pursuit of justice in the present. He completed MA degrees (in history and in philosophy) at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, where he is also currently completing a PhD dissertation (in political philosophy).

Over the last decade, Laurens has participated in various forms of Indigenous solidarity efforts, mainly through and in partnership with Community Peacemaker Teams. This included advocacy work in support of the Grassy Narrows First Nation (2012-2013), a 500 km ‘Honour Walk’ to honour the survivors of Residential Schools (2014), a short stint at Standing Rock (2016) and a 600 km ‘Pilgrimage for Indigenous Rights’ to Ottawa (2017).

Sessional Faculty
Disciplines:

David graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). He was appointed to a church in Santa Barbara. After 10 years with this church, David was invited by Foursquare to take the leadership of one of their churches. He continues to serve both churches. His Master’s degree is from St. Stephen’s University and his doctorate in theology from the University of South Africa (UNISA) David and Diane have been married for 42 years and have 5 adult children.

Sessional Faculty
Disciplines:
Naomi came to work at SSU after over 10 years in private practice as a Registered Psychotherapist and Registered Marriage and Family Therapist. She has a M.Div.Counselling, from Tyndale University,...
Sessional Faculty / Dean of Students / Food Services Associate

Jess has been engaged in theological studies since she was old enough to recognize the questions it sparked within her. Eventually those questions led her to pursue an MA in Theology and Culture at SSU. She currently enjoys the work of supporting undergrad students as SSU’s Dean of Students, developing lectures for the Theology and Culture program, and cooking with and for the community that calls Park Hall home.

For any student life-related questions email: [email protected]

Sessional Faculty
Disciplines:

Dr. Robert Larmer is Chair of the Philosophy Department of the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, New Brunswick, having been a member of the department since 1986. He has taught many different areas of philosophy, but his primary research interests are in philosophy of religion.

Sessional Faculty
Disciplines:

No biography available.

Sessional Faculty
Disciplines:

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Dave was one of the first six students at SSU. He has a B. Ed and M. Ed from the University of Saskatchewan, and has also studied at Simon Fraser University and Regent College on the UBC campus.

Adjunct Faculty
Andy Wood
Disciplines:

No biography available.

Staff

Finance Aid Officer

Kathy first started working for St. Sephen’s University in the finance department back in 2013. Most of the time you can find her in her office buried under a pile of sticky notes and mounds of student loan forms. But when the paperwork slows down and SSU needs some extra help with renovations; you can find her happily balancing on a ladder while mudding or painting with her headphones in.

Financial Officer

Lorna Jones is one of the few ‘native New Brunswickers’ among the SSU staff, having grown up in Woodstock, another lovely small town with a river flowing alongside! She has always lived in the Maritimes, other than her 4 undergrad years in New England, and settled in St. Stephen in the early 90’s.

Associate Registrar

Once a former SSU graduate, Debbie MacDonald has imprinted herself in a variety of roles at St. Stephen’s University since 2004. Debbie now guides students as the Associate Registrar, finding avenues for students to explore on their academic path.

Food Services Coordinator

Carol Thiessen has been cooking up homemade goodness in the kitchen at SSU for nearly twenty years. She deeply values the blending of healthy cooking, thrifty shopping and great taste and loves to pass on those values and skills to students. She is also easily talked into playing a game of euchre or Dutch blitz if she has a free moment. Originally from Winnipeg, Carol has raised her family here in St. Stephen.

Emeritus Faculty

Dr. Lois Mitchell

Professor Emerita of International Studies

Professor of English, St. Stephens University

Dr. Agnes Kramer-Hamstra

Professor Emerita of English Literature

Professor Emeritus of History, St. Stephens University

Dr. Gregg Finley

Professor Emeritus of History

Board of Governors

  • Carol Macdonald (Chair)
  • Alex Henderson
  • Sharon Mason
  • Wendy Gritter
  • Karen Petersen
  • Joy Benson Green
  • Catherine Renneberg
  • Judith Moses
  • Laurens van Esch