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Faculty Directory

Megan R. Dowdell

Assistant Professor of Ethics and Society

Consortial Faculty
At the GTU since
(978) 305-0361

Professor Megan Dowdell’s scholarship and teaching bridges the worlds of theological education, clinical/spiritual care and sociological research. Her current research project is an interpretive phenomenological study of the religious/spiritual experiences of women of color with congestive heart failure. She has also developed a congregational support group model for people with chronic conditions, which grounds her quest as an activist-scholar in the lives and needs of marginalized communities.

Prof. Dowdell is interested in qualitative research methodologies that can help us understand the dynamic relationships among religion/spirituality, justice and health and explore interstitial spaces of knowledge between the fields of religion and sociology. Her past projects have focused on the experiences of front-line providers of abortion care, the relationship between authority and ministry in UU congregations, and the ethical, social and legal implications of genomic biobanking research for communities.

As a Unitarian Universalist minister and educator, Prof. Dowdell educates toward the practice of covenant; she believes foundational knowledge, spiritual discernment and community accountability are all essential ingredients in theological education. She seeks to offer students a warm introduction to challenging material and active support in the preparatory stages for ministry and religious leadership.

Degrees and Certifications
  • B.A., Sociology/Society and Health, Simmons College, Boston, MA, 2006
  • M.A., Ethics and Social Theory, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA 2009
  • Certificate, Women’s Studies in Religion, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, 2011
  • Ph.D.(c), Sociology (Medical Sociology), University of California San Francisco, expected 2019
Research and Teaching Interests
  • Religion and Social Theory
  • Womanist and Antiracist Feminist Interventions in Medical Ethics
  • Religious/Spiritual Coping and Illness
  • Social Psychology of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Health
  • Social Scientific Study of Religion (qualitative methodologies: interpretive phenomenology and situational analysis)
Courses Taught
  • Health Ethics
  • Counter-Oppressive Sociologies
  • Critical Theory for Religious Leaders
  • Sexual Ethics
  • Religious Ethics