Faculty Feature: Dr. Clift Ward
Faculty Feature is a series in The Blue Tribune that recognizes the excellent professors and staff of Covenant College through a series of questions.
This week we're highlighting Dr. Clift Ward, Associate Professor of Historical Theology.
What brought you to Covenant? How long have you been teaching?
My knowledge of Covenant dates back many years, but most recently through a mutual friend that introduced me to Dr. Dryden. When Covenant had an open visiting position in church history, it wasn't a hard decision to apply!
What do you love about teaching at Covenant?
I'm sure others of my colleagues would say the same, but the best thing about teaching at Covenant is the people! My colleagues are incredibly humble and insightful, regularly challenging me in my teaching. And the students -- how incredible they are -- insightful, energetic, and curious they are (in a good way!).
What is your history with the PCA or Reformed Tradition?
I was involved with RUF and the ministry of a local EPC church in college at the University of Tennessee.
What's your favorite Covenant tradition?
It's hard to answer this question in only one year, but I must admit that convocation is at the top of the list. Can you imagine my thoughts in the first month at Covenant when I experienced such enthusiasm and excitement at the beginning of the academic year?! It was spectacular.
What is a current research project or area of interest you're excited about?
I have a few projects going right now that are centered on the church father Augustine of Hippo, but the ones that are really working on me are dedicated to Augustine and Humility and the development of Augustine's Trinitarian Theology via the Psalms. These two projects continue to provide a nourishment to me daily in my contemplation of God and growth in humility (I hope---but that's a question for others around me!).
What's one of your favorite cultural or family traditions?
We love family game nights or movie nights on the weekends, and I cook pancakes & eggs for our family as often as I can on Saturdays.
Anything else prospective students should know about you?
I love to cook/grill/smoke on our Big Green Egg year round in any weather.
Tell us a little about your family:
My wife Beth and I have three daughters: Charin (13), Annalyn (11), and Caroline (7).
How do you or your department encourage each student to pursue academic excellence?
We want students to be challenged to think deeply about God and all things in relation to God in their passions, vocations, and relationships. And at the heart of this practice is a recognition that theology (in whatever mode you practice it: historical, constructive, or biblical) is a discipline of character formation intended to transform you for lives that display a deep faith, hope, and love. As I tell my students, when you get to the end of one of my courses and do not love God more and love others more, then you haven't really succeeded in understanding the material.