Brief Professional History
I am a clinical psychologist and interdisciplinary teacher, scholar, and singer. I have spent the majority of my career in higher education, including more than three decades at the University of Denver (DU), in a variety of faculty roles and leadership positions. My official retirement from full-time teaching was finalized in July, 2020, after serving for a year as DU Interim Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
I am currently Professor Emeritus of Music, Culture and Psychology in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. I am also the Founder and Chair Emeritus of The Spirituals Project, which works to preserve and revitalize the music and teachings of the sacred folk songs created and first sung by African women and men enslaved in America in the 18th and 19th centuries. I have had the privilege of presenting concerts and workshops on spirituals throughout the United States. An expanded, 30th anniversary edition of my award-winning book, Wade in the Water: The Wisdom of the Spirituals, is scheduled for publication by Orbis Books in 2023.
Throughout my career -- in my teaching, scholarship and community work -- I have focused on issues of culture, power, and privilege, with an early specialty in African American and multicultural psychology. My work on the spirituals, begun in the early 1990s, with an expanded interdisciplinary reach, grew naturally from my early work in clinical psychology, as both a practitioner and scholar. I have been inspired by the power of the music and teaching passed on to us through song by my enslaved ancestors, and particularly the lessons these songs offer for building an inclusive, compassionate world. Long before our twentieth and twenty-first century focus on the idea of a "beloved community," women and men in bondage passed on to us a clear blueprint for the building of such a community!
In recent years, I have been exploring the contemplative foundations of early Christianity and their meanings for effective social action. I have encountered multiple parallels to the teachings embedded in the African American spirituals tradition!
For a detailed outline of my professional history, refer to my curriculum vitae, attached here.