Headshot of Dr.Kathleen Roberts Skerrett

Dr. Kathleen Roberts Skerrett

University Professor
Curriculum Vitae

  • Profile

    Kathleen Roberts Skerrett was appointed University Professor at the University of Richmond in June 2016.  She served as the third Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Richmond from 2011-2016.  Previously, she served as Associate Dean of the College and Acting Vice-president for Diversity and Achievement at Grinnell College.  Earlier in her career, Dr. Skerrett served as Director of Gardner Hall at McGill University, and chair of the University’s Task Force on First Year Experience.

    Dr. Skerrett earned her J.D./LLB at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University and was called to the Bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada.  She earned her PhD at Harvard University in Theology and the Modern West.  Dr. Skerrett began her academic career as an assistant professor at McGill University in the Faculty of Religious Studies.  In 1998, she departed for Grinnell College, where she earned tenure and promotion to Professor, led the creation of the Gender and Women’s Studies major, was appointed Interdisciplinary Fellow, and chaired the college’s first year seminar and academic advising program.  Dr. Skerrett is a past president of the Canadian Theological Society.  She has lectured and published numerous articles on contemporary religious and political ideas of freedom.   She was awarded the Louisville Institute’s Faith and Life Fellowship in 2005.

    At University of Richmond, Dr. Skerrett championed the creation of new tenure-stream faculty positions, reduced temporary and part-time positions, enhanced faculty salaries, and introduced an annual budget process involving robust faculty governance.  Dr. Skerrett significantly expanded faculty-mentored research opportunities for undergraduates and introduced A&SNext, a networking event for A&S students and alums.  She is a constant and effective advocate for a diverse and inclusive community.

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    • Grants and Fellowships

      Visiting Fellow, Center for Religion and Media, New York University

      Faith and Life Grant, Louisville Institute (funded sabbatical leave)

      Co-Director, National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, Re-visioning the Introduction to Religious Studies

      Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship

      Mellon Dissertation Research Fellowship

    • Awards

      2016 ROTC Recognition for Outstanding Leadership from Officers and NCOs
      2013 Omicron Delta Kappa Recognition for Outstanding Contributions to Student Success
      2011 Alexandra and Martin Symonds Foundation Essay Prize
      2005–2006 Visiting Fellow, Center for Religion and Media, New York University
      2005–2006 Faith and Life Grant, Louisville Institute
      2000–2001 National Endowment for the Humanities Grant
      1994 Royal Bank Teaching Innovation Award
      1992 Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship
      1991 Mellon Dissertation Research Fellowship
      1990 Harvard general exams passed, with distinction
      1979–1980 Queen's Law School Scholarship
      1976–1979 Mount Allison University Scholarship
      1977 Hibbert C. Lawrence Prize

    • Presentations

      “Anxiety and Ethics” Nicholson Lectures, Atlantic School of Theology, forthcoming October 2016

      "Post‐secularism and the Return of Original Sin: The Wanton, the Addict, the Pervert, and the Deviant”. President’s address to the Canadian Theological Society, Waterloo, Ontario, May 29, 2012.

      “Educating freedom for the twenty‐first century.” Keynote address to the Charter Associates 22nd Annual Celebration, University of Richmond, September 7, 2012.

      “2011 Colloquy,” presented to the faculty and staff of the University of Richmond, August 17, 2011.

      "Social Contract or Commonwealth: The Person as Citizen of a Pluralist Society, “King’s College, Halifax, NS, October 7, 2010.
      "Critics of John Rawls's Political Liberalism: Justice without Goodness," Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, October 6, 2010.
      "Theological Rawls: Person, Sin, and Community," Department of Philosophy, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, October 6, 2010.

      “Welcome to the Class of 2014,” presented at New Student Orientation, August 2010.

      Presentation to the Board of Trustees, Grinnell Prison Education Program, April 2009.

      "To Be a Soul in Time," Scholar's Convocation, presented to Grinnell College, September 2002.

      Baccalaureate Address to the Class of 2001, May 2001.

      "Freedom, Discipline, Desire," presented to the alumni of Grinnell College, June 1999.

    • Memberships

      American Academy of Religion (co-leader, Feminist Theory and Religious Reflection, 2003-09)

      Canadian Theological Society (president, 2011-12)

    • Professional Experience

      Dean, School of Arts and Sciences (2011-2016)
      University of Richmond

      Professor of Religious Studies (2011-2016)
      University of Richmond

      Acting Vice-President for Diversity and Achievement (Fall 2010)
      Grinnell College

      Professor of Religious Studies (2010-2011)
      Grinnell College

      Associate Dean of the College (2007-2011)
      Grinnell College

      Chair, Gender and Women's Studies Concentration (2006-2010)
      Grinnell College

      Associate Professor of Religious Studies (2004-2010)
      Grinnell College

      Assistant Professor of Religious Studies (1998-2004)
      Grinnell College

      Chair, University Task Force on First Year Experience (1996-1997)
      McGill University

      Faculty Director, Gardner Hall (supervised first-year experience) (1994-1997)
      McGill University

      Assistant Professor of Religious Studies (1993-1998)
      McGill University

  • Selected Publications
    Journal Articles

    "Beyond consent: David Mamet's Oleanna and a hostile environment for souls," Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 12.4 (2011)

    "Sovereignty and Sadness: Tragic Vision and Wisdom's Grief," Augustinian Studies, 41.1 (2010) 301-314.

    "Negotiating Feminist and Gender Studies: A Roundtable Response," Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 26.1 (2010) 123-142.

    "Radical Democracy and Ordinary Time: Reflections on Hauerwas and Coles," Theology Today 66.1 (April 2009) 74-80.

    "Sex, Law, and Other Reasonable Endeavors," differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 18.3 (2007) 81-96.

    "Homosexuals, Heretics and Practices of Freedom," Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 6 (4) (Fall/Winter 2005).

    "Political Liberalism and the Idea of Public Reason: A Response to Jeffrey Stout's Democracy and Tradition," Social Theory and Practice, 31.2 (April 2005) 1-18. This is a special issue on Religion and Politics.

    "The Indispensable Rival: William Connolly's Engagement with Augustine of Hippo," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 72.2 (June 2004) 487-506. Response by William E. Connolly in the same volume.

    "Desire and Anathema: Mimetic Rivalry in Defense of Plenitude," Journal of the American Academy of Religion, 71.4 (December 2003) 793-809.

    "'To Be a Soul in Time,'" The Liberal Arts and Vocation: Three Faculty Scholars' Convocations. A publication of Grinnell College with support from the Lilly Endowment (2002).

    "When No Means Yes: The Passion of Carter Heyward," Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 12.1 (Spring 1996) 71-92.


    “Trauma, Tragedy, and Theater: A Conversation with Simon Critchley”, In the Wake of Trauma: Psychology and Philosophy for the Suffering Other, eds. Eric R. Severson, Brian W. Becker & David M. Goodman, Duquesne University Press, 2016

    “Reflections on The Book of Only Enoch”, in Jay Bolotin: The Book of Only Enoch, published on the occasion of the exhibitions at University of Richmond, October 2015 and Bates College, June 2016, University of Richmond Museums, 15‐22.

    "Dialogical Postscript” with James Wetzel, in James Wetzel, Parting Knowledge: Essays after Augustine, Wipf & Stock (Cascade), 2013.

    “Religious Freedom and Multiculturalism: Canadian Contentions,” The Immanent Frame, August, 2013.

    “The Photographs of Lui Xia,” The Contemporary Condition, February, 2013.