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Laura Simmons

Laura Simmons

Professor of Christian Ministries


I have wanted to be a teacher since high school, when I was blessed to learn from some great teachers. I've been thinking about how to teach since college, when I was first exposed to the idea of different learning styles.

When I finished my doctoral degree, I wrote letters to all the teachers who had influenced me from grade school to grad school, sharing my memories of their classes. I realized, in looking at what had been important to me as a student, that experiences of 'learning beyond lecture' were central: re-enacting the Continental Congress, putting Frankenstein's monster on trial, investigating the death of Dorothy L. Sayers ... learning by doing, learning outside the classroom. When I teach, I hope to create a space in which God can move and students can learn through experience.

Academic Background

BA, University of California, Davis (history with a sociology minor); MA, Fuller Theological Seminary (biblical studies and theology); PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary (practical theology) Dissertation title: "Theology Made Interesting: Dorothy L. Sayers as a Lay Theologian"

Expertise and Research Interests

Dorothy L. Sayers, reconciliation (currently focused on congregational reconciliation after crisis), adult-learning theory, teaching and learning in theological education

Research Bibliography

Published works

What to expect in my classes

A collaborative learning environment, snacks and student-led devotions, varied teaching and learning styles ... and high academic standards

What I do when I'm not at Portland Seminary

See the latest movies, engage in "baking therapy," serve in worship ministry at my church, and watch too much reality TV, engage in distance walking (breast cancer three-day walk, Portland marathon)

Favorite web links

Courses currently taught