Theology professor Corrine Carvalho walks around the room checking on groups during a strategic planning brown bag session February 10, 2014 in the Anderson Student Center's Woulfe Alumni Hall.

Carvalho Named Executive Adviser to the President

Dr. Corrine Carvalho, a professor of theology and a St. Thomas faculty member since 1996, has been named executive adviser to the president by Dr. Julie Sullivan.

Carvalho will begin her new position on July 1 upon the retirement of Dr. Susan Alexander, who has served in the position since Jan. 1, 2007. Carvalho will split her time between the president’s office and her teaching and research on the faculty.

“I am delighted to appoint Corri as executive adviser,” Sullivan said. “She has had a significant presence on this campus over the last 20 years through her service on the faculty and, more recently, as co-chair of our Strategic Planning Oversight Committee. I look forward to working even more closely with her in the years ahead.”

Carvalho said she couldn’t be more thrilled with her new position.

“I love the direction the university is going,” she said. “I love the leadership in place, and I believe the job will give me further opportunities to help the strategic plan become a reality.”

Sullivan thanked Alexander for her 35 years of service to St. Thomas. She joined the Department of Economics in 1981, served as department chair from 1987 to 1992 and was elected Professor of the Year by the faculty in 1997. She served as interim dean of the undergraduate college in 1993-94 and as interim vice president for academic affairs from 2001 to 2003.

“Susan is an incredibly wise and thoughtful administrator and professor,” Sullivan said, “and has served St. Thomas with distinction throughout her career. I always will be grateful for how helpful she has been during my first three years as president.”

Carvalho joined the Department of Theology in 1996 after teaching five years at Florida State University, and was director of the Luann Dummer Center for Women from 2006 to 2012. Sullivan appointed her co-chair of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee in 2013 and co-chair of the Strategic Planning Oversight Committee the following year.

She was chair of the faculty in 2014-15 and in that role she was a member of the president’s cabinet. She has served on the executive committee of the Faculty Senate for three years, since 2013.

Carvalho’s faculty peers elected her Professor of the Year in 2012, and at the time she credited the university for simultaneously fulfilling a desire to teach and do research.

“I came here to teach undergraduates primarily, and then what I found was that the way the university defined scholarship in the broad sense of the term freed me up to do what I wanted to do,” she said in a Newsroom story at the time. For her, that included writing projects on temple ideology and ritual studies in application to the Bible.

She became fond of teaching core courses, including Theology 101: The Christian Theological Tradition. She tried to create a safe environment that would allow students to have vigorous discussions in the classroom because she thought it was important they came to understand “that questions about religion and the Bible are important to our culture. … that they don’t just swallow things hook, line and sinker. … that they have the tools to think for themselves on the issues.”

Carvalho earned her Ph.D. in 1991 from Yale University, where she specialized in the Hebrew Bible and Old Testament studies. She also has a master’s degree in the Old Testament from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a B.A. in Latin from the University of San Francisco. She spent her junior year at Oxford University in England.

Her memberships include the Society of Biblical Literature (president of the Upper Midwest Region, 2005-07), Catholic Biblical Literature, National Association of Women in Catholic Higher Education, National Women’s Studies Association and the Old Testament Colloquium.