April 6, 2011
CUA Theology Dean Steps Down
|Monsignor Kevin Irwin|
John Garvey, President of Catholic University, announced today that Monsignor Kevin Irwin, Dean of the University’s School of Theology and Religious Studies (STRS), will be stepping down from his position effective June 30, 2011.
Citing the book of Ecclesiastes Dean Irwin said “to everything there is a season.” “It is time to move forward with research, writing and teaching, much of which was mitigated by the demands of the Dean’s job.”
President Garvey said that he accepts Dean Irwin’s resignation with “great regret.” He observed that “the School of Theology and Religious Studies is one of the foundational schools of our institution. It plays a critical role in the University’s identity as the national university of the Catholic Church. To fulfill its promise, the school must be led by a distinguished scholar and an accomplished administrator. Monsignor Irwin has proven himself to be both in six years as dean. I am grateful for his service, and though we shall be sorry to see him relinquish his duties as dean, our loss will be cushioned by the fact that he will remain a member of our faculty.”
President Garvey announced that he will consult with the faculty of the School of Theology and Religious Studies before embarking on the search for a new dean.
Since becoming Dean in August 2005, Monsignor Irwin oversaw the hiring of 24 of the 40 full time faculty in the School of Theology and Religious Studies. He reflected on the work of the faculty involved in the search committees for these positions and recalled that for each hire the faculty and graduate students were involved in at least three on-campus interviews. “Especially when I talk to other deans I realize how privileged I have been to serve with this group of faculty colleagues. Their cooperation has made all the difference.”
During Monsignor Irwin’s tenure the school hosted two major symposia, one for the Year of St. Paul and the other for the Year for Priests. The papers from the latter symposium, one of which Irwin wrote himself, were published as a book entitled Ministerial Priesthood in the Third Millennium.
As holder of the Walter J. Schmitz Chair in Liturgical Studies, Monsignor Irwin has also taught an occasional upper division course and has continued to work on directing and reading dissertations. During his time as Dean, 10 of his doctoral students successfully defended their dissertations and graduated with earned doctorates from Catholic University.
During the 2008-09 academic year he oversaw the establishment of a new introductory required course “Faith Seeking Understanding” as part of the University’s new First Year Experience initiative.
Monsignor Irwin indicated that after he steps down as dean “I look forward to more generous and sustained time to study, write, and to return to teaching at Catholic University.”