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I am delighted to announce that this year’s winner of the Lucrezia Culicchia Award for Teaching Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences is Dr. Ed Hahnenberg from the Department of Theology and Religious Studies (TRS).

Dr. Hahnenberg came to John Carroll in 2011 as the Jack and Mary Jane Breen Chair in Catholic Systematic Theology, following eight years on the faculty at Xavier University. He is the author of five books and the editor of two more; he is also actively involved in connecting his scholarship to the life of the church, publishing regularly in popular and pastoral outlets and serving on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America. He received John Carroll’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2019.

During his twelve years on the faculty at John Carroll, he has taught a wide range of courses, ranging from introductory courses in theology and religious studies (e.g., The Sacred Quest, Contemporary Catholic Theology, Jesus in Film and History) to advanced specialized courses in systematic theology and church and sacrament. He also directs the graduate program in TRS and is a valued mentor and advisor for students in the program – so much so that his nomination for the Culicchia Award was student-driven. In this role, he has developed two new graduate certificates – one in Theological Education and one in Ecclesial Ministry – and has been instrumental in formalizing a chaplaincy training partnership with the Cleveland Clinic. 

Dr. Hahnenberg has established a strong track record of excellence in his own teaching, and as a teacher of teachers. He has developed an ever-growing Theology for Teachers program (last year it reached 182 participants) that supports and develops high school teachers in both theology and pedagogy. On campus, he played a key leadership role on the Teaching and Research Team that guided John Carroll faculty in making the various pedagogical transitions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, working collectively and individually to ensure that John Carroll’s pedagogy was as seamless as possible.

Colleagues, current students, and alumni supported Dr. Hahnenberg’s nomination. All nominators spoke about his signature blend of rigor and approachability, and about his sensitivity to helping students navigate the big existential questions raised in many of his courses. For example, a current student praised the ways in which Dr. Hahnenberg “encourages students to wrestle with challenging ideas even when transparent answers do not arise. I have appreciated how he makes an effort to indicate the joy that can come from the paradox of desperately seeking understanding for something (like faith) even when straightforward solutions are not possible.” Another commented, “As a scholar and a teacher, Dr. Hahnenberg is always grounded in the present, searching for answers to today’s toughest questions while simultaneously being present to his students so they can begin answering the questions vital to their life.”

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Hahnenberg for his achievement and for the extraordinary leadership he has provided during his time on the John Carroll faculty. We will formally recognize Dr. Hahnenberg at the Fall 2023 CAS Faculty and Staff Meeting. 


Bonnie Gunzenhauser Dean, College of Arts and Sciences