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Dr. Devin P. Zuber Honored with the 2022 GTU Excellence in Teaching Award

BERKELEY, CA – May 11, 2022 – The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is pleased to announce that Dr. Devin P. Zuber, Associate Professor of American Studies, Religion, and Literature at the GTU and the George F. Dole Professor of Swedenborgian Studies at the Center for Swedenborgian Studies, is the recipient of the 2022 GTU Excellence in Teaching Award.   

The Excellence in Teaching Award is presented annually to recognize a member of the GTU’s core doctoral faculty for exemplary embodiment of interreligious sensitivity and commitment, interdisciplinary approach to religious studies, and creative and effective classroom pedagogical methods and performance. 

“The selection committee was impressed by the high praise for Dr. Zuber’s teaching, as expressed by doctoral students in the History and Culture Department,” said Dr. Arthur Holder, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. ‘The syllabi for Dr. Zuber’s courses are masterpieces of creative pedagogy—especially ‘City Magic (or, the Magic City): San Francisco, Art, Esotericism.’ The committee unanimously agreed that Dr. Zuber fits this award’s criteria.”  

Dr. Zuber has served on the GTU’s faculty since 2011 and is a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty affiliated with the Art and Religion concentration in the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Sustainability 360 initiative and has been a member of the Public Theology Inquiry Group at UC Berkeley's Center for the Study of Religion. 

Dr. Zuber earned his PhD in English Literature from The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center in 2010. He earned a Master of Arts degree from Queens College, CUNY, in 2008, and an MPhil degree from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2007. 

Dr. Zuber’s experience as an instructor is wide and varied, having held prestigious appointments across continents and contexts. Prior to joining the faculty at GTU in 2011, Dr. Zuber taught at the University of Osnabrück and the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, both in Germany, and at Queens College in New York City. He has been a fellow, scholar-in-residence, and visiting research professor at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library (London), at the Wabash Center for Religion and Theology at Wabash College in Indiana, in Stockholm University’s Department for Aesthetics and Culture (Sweden), at the Mesa Writer's Refuge in Point Reyes, California (with the Gardarev Center), and at the Rachel Carson Center for the Environment at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. In 2016, Dr. Zuber was a scholar-in-residence at the former estate of the film director Ingmar Bergman on Fårö island (Sweden). He is presently on sabbatical for the academic year 2021-2022, working as a Visiting Professor of Religion and Literature at the Humboldt University of Berlin. 

Dr. Zuber’s research and teaching interests include environmental literature and eco-criticism, the intersection of religion and literature, romanticism, aesthetics, Western esotericism, new religious movements, and Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772), the Scandinavian scientist-turned-mystic with a church based in San Francisco. Swedenborg’s evolution from scientist to mystic also forms the basis of Dr. Zuber’s most recent publication, A Language of Things: Swedenborg and the American Environmental Imagination (University of Virginia Press, 2019), which explores Swedenborg’s natural philosophy and theosophy and its impact in shaping nineteenth century approaches to natural space in America. 

“Having taught in large public institutions in New York and Germany prior to coming to Berkeley, I can truly say there’s no other place quite like a GTU classroom,” Dr. Zuber said. “The GTU is a laboratory for interreligious, interdisciplinary pedagogies, and some of my richest moments of teaching have been the moments when I've had my ideas challenged and expanded while collaborating with colleagues and students. Teaching, to me, is a journey I get the honor of traversing with others, and I love when I get to learn, to unlearn, to be surprised by new insights, and to broaden my capacity for appreciating different perspectives on shared concerns.” 

The GTU Excellence in Teaching Award was instituted in 2003. Previous winners include Mary E. McGann (2021), Rebecca K. Esterson (2020), Arthur Holder (2019), Jean-François Racine (2018), Barbara Green, OP (2016), and Munir Jiwa (2015). 

 

About the Graduate Theological Union 

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is a world leader in the study of religion and theology, as well as a vibrant home for spiritual exploration through online learning opportunities with global reach.  

Through rigorous academic research and active interreligious dialogue, the GTU’s centers of study and wider consortium offer programs that lead to groundbreaking scholarship, with alumni who become thought leaders in their fields.  We offer innovative approaches to advanced study, driven by our core commitment to furthering the causes of ethical leadership, social justice, sustainability, and spiritual care to create more just and peaceful communities worldwide.  

Discover more about our programs and the work of our alumni and community at gtu.edu.