CENTRE COLLEGE DIRECTORY
Use the directory below to find information on faculty, staff, and offices on campus.
The main telephone number for Centre College is 859.238.5200. Calls to this number will be routed to the appropriate extension. In an after-hours emergency, call 859.236.4357.
Dr. Rick Axtell is the Centre College Chaplain and Professor of Religion. He initially taught at Centre during 1992-93 and returned to the college in 1995, when he also became Chaplain and Director of the Religious Life Office. Axtell received his M.Div. and Ph.D. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He has completed additional postgraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame. Axtell’s experience as a minister in several churches, Director of an interfaith anti-hunger organization, Case Manager in Louisville homeless shelters, and Board member of Witness for Peace has shaped the diverse program emphases of the Religious Life Office.
Christian Haskett joined Centre’s faculty in 2012 as an assistant professor of religion.
Haskett’s academic specialty is the history of Buddhism in Tibet and India.He also works on Jainism and Hinduism, as well as Tibetan, Sanskrit, and other South Asian languages.
Haskett has a B.A. in English from Marywood University. He earned a M.A. in religion from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in languages and cultures of Asia from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
File last updated: 5/2/13
Lee Jefferson is an associate professor of religion, and was named a Centre Scholar in 2014.
Prior to coming to Centre in 2008, Jefferson taught courses at Memphis Theological Seminary and at Vanderbilt University, both in various areas of the Christian tradition. His primary area of interest is the development of the Christian tradition and art and imagery of Late Antiquity.
He graduated cum laude from Sewanee-University of the South and earned his M.Div. from Southern Methodist University (magna cum laude). He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in religion from Vanderbilt University. He has published articles on aspects of early Christianity in Religion and the Arts, Studia Patristica, Religion Compass, the Sewanee Theological Review, and SBL Bible Odyssey. His book reviews have appeared in Review of Biblical Literature, Religious Studies Review, Church History, and the Journal of Roman Studies. He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception (DeGruyter), and contributes to the Huffington Post, and most recently to Marginalia: Los Angeles Review of Books (see his article here).
Jefferson has developed a study abroad course on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In addition to traveling to sites of holy pilgrimage, he is researching the rise of reliquary devotion associated with pilgrimage routes in early and medieval Christianity.
His book, Christ the Miracle Worker in Early Christian Art (Fortress Press, 2014) concerns the early images of the miracles of Jesus. His second book, a collection of essays including a chapter he authored, co-edited with Robin M. Jensen, entitled The Art of Empire: Christian Art in Its Imperial Context, was published in October 2015. He contributes to the Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity and the The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies. He also has a forthcoming chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Early Christian Art. (read about it here).
He won the Kirk Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011. He is also a Shohet Scholar, having won the Shohet Scholars Award from the International Catacomb Society in 2013. Prof. Jefferson is utilizing the grant along with Prof. Tom McCollough to explore the material evidence of the caves of Khirbet Qana in Israel.
File last updated: 9/7/2016
Thomas McCollough retired as professor of religion and history at Centre College in 2017, where he had taught since 1980. He has held the Rodes Professorship since 2002. In 2009, he received the Kirk Teaching Award. In 2012, he was named Kentucky Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In 2013, he was selected as the Annual Professor at the Albright Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem and spent the spring of 2013 in residence. He has particular expertise in the history of Christianity and Christian thought, biblical history and archaeology, and the contemporary Middle East. He is the director of the Archaeological Excavations at Khirbet Qana (Cana of Galilee), and since 2008, he has been the program director for the Istanbul Program offered by the Kentucky Institute for International Studies.
Since 1985 McCollough has been the assistant director of archaeological digs in Sepphoris, Israel taking along a number of Centre students for summer excavations during this time. In 1992 and 1993, he and his students were part of a team that uncovered rare amulets at Sepphoris that are estimated to be around 2000 years old. At the beginning of 2002, McCollough also became the assistant director for the archaeological excavations of Khirbet Kana. He and fellow Centre professor, Beth Glazier-McDonald, have published scholarly articles about the amulets in Atiqot and Archaeological Odyssey.
McCollough is a co-editor, along with Douglas R. Edwards, of Archaeology and the Galilee: Text and Context in the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Periods (Scholars Press, 1997). He also has published articles in academic journals including Studi Patristica and Religious Studies Review. McCollough has forthcoming books entitled Ancient Christian Commentary of the Book of Daniel and another co-edited book entitled The Archaeology of Difference. He recently received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to support his research and publication of the excavations at Sepphoris.
McCollough received a B.A. from the University of Florida, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Notre Dame. He also has an M.Div. degree from Duke University.
File last updated: 9/11/14
EXPERT: Christianity and Christian thought — Biblical history — Contemporary Middle East — Archaeology in the Middle East
Expertise in the history of Christianity and Christian thought, Biblical history and archaeology, and the contemporary Middle East. An avid participant in archaeological digs in Israel, often taking Centre students. He and his students were part of a team that uncovered at Sepphoris rare amulets estimated to be around 2000 years old. Co-editor, along with Douglas R. Edwards, of Archaeology and the Galilee: Text and Context in the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Periods (Scholars Press, 1997).
Matthew Pierce joined the Centre College faculty in 2011. Before coming to Centre, he spent extensive time in the Middle East and Central Asia, including living in Egypt, Yemen, and Iran. He was named a Centre Scholar in 2016.
Pierce specializes in medieval Islamic history and thought. His current research focuses on classical Arabic and Persian biographies, analyzing the production of cultural symbols related to gender, authority, and identity. His 2016 book, Twelve Infallible Men: The Imams and the Making of Shi’ism (Harvard), won international recognition when selected for the Iran’s Book of the Year Award. He is presently writing a biography of the eighth century scholar, Ja’far al-Sadiq (under contract with Oneworld Publications). Pierce has also contributed to The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought (2012) as well as an edited volume on Women, Leadership, and Mosques: Changes in Contemporary Islamic Authority (Brill, 2012). His work has also appeared in the Journal of Shi’a Islamic Studies.
In addition to his regularly-taught course, “Western Religious Traditions,” Pierce teaches a variety of upper-level courses on topics related to Islamic Studies. He serves on the gender studies program and frequently teaches courses abroad during winter terms. In the spring of 2017 he served as co-director of the Centre-in-London program.
Pierce holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Boston University’s Division of Religious and Theological Studies. Prior to that, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies from Bryan College and received a Fulbright Fellowship (2002-2003) to research Qur’anic religious education in Sana’a, Yemen. From 2003 to 2006, he participated in an inter-faith dialogue program while studying in Qom, Iran.
To read about his course on “Islam in America,” click here.
To read about his course on “Rock, Rap, and Religion,” click here.
File last updated: 8/30/17