Slemmons Inducted into Faculty Hall of Fame

May 6, 2016 | Stacey Ortman

The Rev. Dr. Timothy Matthew Slemmons, associate professor of homiletics and worship at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, was inducted into the University's Faculty Hall of Fame.

DUBUQUE, Iowa – The Rev. Dr. Timothy Matthew Slemmons, associate professor of homiletics and worship at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, aims to model good Christian speech and good theology in his classrooms to help prepare faithful pastors.

“One of my chief aims is to model a way of speaking that is informed by scripture, so that we can find the words of prayer and the words of proclamation that encourage and build up people in the faith rather than open the door to misunderstanding and aberrant theology,” he said.

Slemmons was one of two inducted into the University of Dubuque’s Faculty Hall of Fame for Excellence in Teaching and Advising on April 28 at the Dubuque Golf and Country Club. The event was established in 1995-96 by Richard and Donna Svrluga to recognize the contributions and impact of faculty on the lives of students. Awards are named in honor of former distinguished faculty members – John Knox Coit and William Lomax. Slemmons was recognized with the John Knox Coit Prize.

“It’s very humbling,” he said.

Slemmons holds a bachelor of science from Kansas State University, a master of divinity and master of theology from Columbia Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he taught preaching as teaching fellow and visiting lecturer. A past recipient of the David H. C. Read Preacher/Scholar Award and a Presbyterian teaching elder, Slemmons served as pastor of churches in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and he preached as far afield as Jamaica, Scotland, and Malawi. Slemmons joined the faculty at UDTS in 2008. He is a faculty mentor of the Wendt Character Initiative.

“I primarily teach worship and preaching, and so I try to be fully prepared even on a word-for-word basis in the same way that I prepare a sermon,” Slemmons said. “I prepare a whole manuscript word-for-word, but then I use it freely and very loosely because I want to be able to engage students in a conversational way.”

Katie Ebel, a junior in the master of divinity program from Waukesha, Wisconsin, enjoys Slemmons’ joy and passion for worship and teaching. She said he has an extensive historical, theoretical, and practical knowledge of worship, preaching, and ministry.

“After taking his classes, I feel better equipped to design worship services because I have a better understanding of why we worship as well as how we can worship” she said, adding. “Every professor has his or her own style of teaching, so what sets Dr. Slemmons apart from others is just being himself. One of the things that I notice in his classes, though, is that he really seems to enjoy them. He also works with students instead of simply teaching to them.”

Slemmons said he recognized a sense of responsibility to help create faithful and competent pastors who are both compassionate and convicted about the truth of Jesus Christ.

 “That’s my call to teaching. It’s not really teaching per se, but serving God in the classroom in a way that hopefully equips the saints to do the same in the church and broader culture,” he said.

 Slemmons is the author of numerous books such as “Groans of the Spirit: Homiletical Dialectics in an Age of Confusion,” the 4-volume series “Liturgical Elements for Reformed Worship,” “Year D: A Quadrennial Supplement to the Revised Common Lectionary,” and “Our Father Knows: The Prayer that Jesus Taught.” His current research project is a translation of the sermons of Basel Reformer Johannes Oecolampadius, notably, the Advent 1523 series on the First Epistle of John. His articles and essays have appeared in publications such as The Presbyterian Outlook and The Lutheran Forum.

Dr. Adam Hoffman, associate professor of environmental chemistry at the University of Dubuque, was also inducted into the Faculty Hall of Fame. Click here to read his story.