Staff Spotlight: Dr. Courtney Wilder
Meet Dr. Courtney Wilder, Professor of Religion at Midland University. Dr. Wilder holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Classics from the University of Montana (Missoula, Montana), an M.A. in Religious Studies, and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from The University of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois).
Dr. Wilder has taught areas of Christianity, Philosophy, and Bible, with interests in the work of mid-twentieth-century Protestant theologian Paul Tillich, contemporary interpretations of the Bible, and theologies of the body, including feminist, womanist, liberation, and disability theologies. She has taught at Midland University since 2008 and was a nominee for Midland’s Excellence in Teaching award in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.
With her long history of dedication to Midland and passions for theology, religion, and activism, we look forward to the many contributions to come from Dr. Wilder. We sat down with Courtney to get to know her better and learn more about her strengths.
How many years have you worked at Midland University?
This is my 11th year of teaching at Midland.
Where have you worked prior to Midland?
Before coming to Midland, I taught at Loyola University Chicago and worked at the University of Chicago Press and in the Regenstein Library.
What do you most enjoy about your current role?
I really enjoy working with students on papers and projects that reflect their own background and knowledge and seeing how they can engage with the material of the course from their own perspectives.
What is one of your greatest accomplishments?
I had two children during my Ph.D. program, which taught me a lot about work/life balance.
What are your top five strengths, and how do you lead with each of them in your role?
My strengths are Input, Achiever, Learner, Positivity, and Intellection. That list feels accurate to me, and it reflects a lot of what I do in my work: read, think, inquire, focus on goals, and engage others in those processes.
What is your favorite book and why?
My favorite novel is Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers; it’s a mystery novel with some really complex character development and the plot focuses partly on gender roles in the 1930s and the experiences of professional women. My favorite academic book at the moment is Susan Wendall’s The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability. She has a very interesting take on how people’s identities influence the way they are perceived as creators of knowledge.
What do you enjoy doing outside of education?
I spend a lot of time outdoors; my kids and I work in the garden, cycle, kayak, hike, and snowshoe. I also read as much as I can.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on my next book, which is focused on the intersection of Christianity and disability in popular culture.
What might the next five years resemble for your future?
In the next five years, I’ll have kids graduate from high school and go to college, so that will be a new phase of parenting for me. I have some research planned and I’m also hoping to travel more.
What is a memorable milestone during your time at Midland?
Taking students to Central America in 2011 was an adventure!
What is something you would love to see in the coming year?
The growth of the Honors Program has been an exciting development at Midland, and I look forward to additional students joining that group.