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Monica A. Coleman
Monica A. Coleman, professor of Africana studies
at the University of Delaware, is the new John and Patricia Cochran
Scholar of Inclusive Excellence. Coleman joined the UD faculty in 2018.
Her research and teaching interests include African American religions,
African traditional religions, black and womanist theologies, process
theology, theories of religious pluralism, and the intersection of
mental health and faith.
At UD, Coleman is director of graduate studies for the Department of Africana Studies and coordinator of the
African American Public Humanities Initiative, which supports doctoral
students in the humanities with an emphasis on public scholarship in
African American/Africana studies. The initiative provides fully funded
graduate fellowships for doctoral students in history, English and art
history in a five-year, cohort-based program.
scholar of Black religions, Coleman is the author or editor of six
books and several articles and book chapters that focus on the role of
faith in addressing critical social and philosophical issues. Her book
Making a Way Out of No Way: a Womanist Theology is required reading at
colleges and universities around the United States. Her memoir Bipolar
Faith: a Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith received the
Silver Illumination Award in 2017. Coleman serves on the program
committee for the American Academy of Religion. Coleman co-hosted the
popular webinar series Octavia Tried to Tell Us: Parable for Today’s
Pandemic, addressing today’s most pressing issues with insights from
Afrofuturist literature, process theology and community values.
has received funding from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon
Foundation, the Institute for Citizens and Scholars (formerly the
Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation), the Association for Theological
Schools and the Forum for Theological Exploration (formerly, the Fund
for Theological Education).
Coleman earned her Ph.D. in religion at Claremont Graduate University, her M.Div. at Vanderbilt
University Divinity School and her bachelor’s degree in African American studies at Harvard University. Before joining UD, she taught at Bennett
College, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and Claremont School of
Theology, where she was the recipient of the Exemplary Teaching Award
and the Faculty Mentor Award.
Coleman’s appointment as a Cochran Scholar took effect September 1 and will continue for five years.
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The John and Patricia Cochran Scholars endowed fund was established to recruit, develop, retain and promote a diverse faculty and support their successful academic career advancement. John Cochran is a former chair of UD’s Board of Trustees.
The Cochran Scholars program recognizes outstanding UD faculty members whose scholarship and service reflect excellence, creativity and a commitment to inclusiveness, both on campus and beyond. Those selected as Cochran Scholars are outstanding faculty members on an accelerated path for academic distinction. They focus on promoting and exemplifying diversity throughout the UD community, through their exceptional scholarship, teaching and service.