Published: May 5, 2016
Matthew Briel Ph.D., a theology professor, will be leaving at the end of the semester after one year at The University. He will move on to a permanent position at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts as a theology professor.
A last minute opportunity allowed Briel to get his first experience as a professor during the last year here at The University. The opportunity came up as he was finishing his dissertation, so this year at The University has been his first as a professor.
While his time here has been short, he describes it as a meaningful experience. Briel says that his favorite aspect of teaching here has been the students and the opportunity to watch them grow.
“It’s been a great opportunity to have class with people and watch them develop intellectually, even over the course of a semester or a year,” Briel said.
Briel has taught a range of classes, including Theology I and II, Faith and Fiction, and two tutorials. The two tutorials have been in Greek and Thomastic Medical Ethics. His favorite course, however, he says has been Theology II because of the opportunity to build the course in a unique way.
“I got to design the course, and it’s one of those classes which everyone has to take, whether they want to or not, which means that you have to try and engage the entire classroom,” Briel said.
Briel elaborated, saying that the intellectual movement towards only things we can know with certainty has caused him to first address things that can be known with less certainty but which are more important, such as “My mother loves me.” He approached the issue through literature.
“What I’ve done with literature in our theology class is get people used to knowing things in a way with less certainty, but they are more important things, and then that as well is true about claims about God and humanity,” Briel said.
Briel says this approach to teaching Theology II helps address current issues in thoughts with incoming students, especially science majors, who tend to seek certainty and near certainty in knowledge.
As the semester comes to a close, The University community wishes Briel the best of luck at Assumption College.
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