Ruthann Knechel Johansen became president of Bethany Theological Seminary in July 2007. Prior to becoming president of Bethany Seminary, Dr. Johansen was a professor at the University of Notre Dame from 1987 until 2007. At Notre Dame she taught in the Program of Liberal Studies, administered the interdisciplinary Core Course in the College of Arts and Letters, and was a Fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies where she taught courses on the literary imagination and peacemaking and on the role of narratives in understanding cultures and identity and mediating conflicts. She received a Kaneb Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and a Notre Dame Woman award from the Women’s Center of the university. Dr. Johansen is a graduate of Manchester College and holds an M.A. degree from Columbia University Teachers College and a Ph.D. in English (with emphases in religious and psychological themes in literature) from Drew University. She is the author of Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark: Reconstructing Life After Brain Injury; The Narrative Secret of Flannery O’Connor: The Trickster As Interpreter; Coming Together: Male and Female in a Renamed Garden and numerous articles and papers.
Ruthann’s early religious formation occurred in the rich diversity of Church of the Brethren congregations in eastern and southern Pennsylvania and northern Indiana. For eleven years while living in Princeton, New Jersey, she and her family worshiped with the Religious Society of Friends. She is currently a member of the Crest Manor congregation in South Bend, Indiana. She has served on several denominational study committees and has been a frequent guest speaker and retreat leader. From 1985-1995 Ruthann was a member of the Bethany Board of Trustees.
Affirming Bethany Seminary’s commitment to bring students of differing theological perspectives together for study, worship, and respectful conversation, Ruthann herself is dedicated to fostering attentive, deeply respectful conversations that can lead to greater understanding instead of polarizing boundaries that divide people.
For a complete listing of accomplishments: Curriculum Vitae