“We are a small department and small college, so you get to know your students pretty well,” Religious Studies Professor Stacy Davis says. Happenstance landed her at Saint Mary’s and that once on campus, she immediately discovered the students’ passion for learning matched her own love of academia.
“I joke that the students are high maintenance and they are,” Davis says. “They force [me] to do [my] best job in the classroom. You can’t come in unprepared and get away with that.” Davis appreciates this and insists that these high academic norms do not stop at her. In return, she expects the same level of preparedness from her students and holds her students to the same high standard she sets for herself and her own work.
These shared standards among student and professor are highlighted in one of Davis’s favorite experiences with a student: working on a Student Independent Study and Research (SISTAR) grant project with religious studies major Rebecca Marie Jones ’12. The two worked together over an eight-week period during the summer of 2011. While Davis examined feminist Bible commentary, Jones researched the language in Jewish prayer books. At the end of the summer, Davis and Jones presented their findings together. “It was a ridiculous amount of fun. I’d recommend the SISTAR to anyone,” Davis says.
Davis delights in the accomplishments of the Department of Religious Studies. “We teach our classes and we do that well, but we publish stuff,” she says proudly. In particular, Davis, a Hebrew Bible scholar, is a member of the African American Biblical Hermeneutics section of the Society of Biblical Literature. With approximately 75 members, the group meets annually and works collaboratively throughout the year to publish research.
Davis utilizes this research in the classroom. “I try to make sure, even though the bible is a closed cannon, the stuff [my students] read in literature is not,” she says. She works to ensure that her students are as up to date as possible on the subject matter.
Davis is passionate about her field of study and remains dedicated to equipping her students with this knowledge and love of learning.
~ Elizabeth Kenney ’15