Valparaiso University announces that Nicholas E. Denysenko, Ph.D., will join its faculty as the Jochum Professor and Chair, effective Jan. 3, 2018.
Denysenko, an ordained deacon, has been a faculty member in theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles since 2010, where he has served as the director of the Huffington Ecumenical Institute since 2011. As director of the Institute, Denysenko developed events to educate the general public on issues concerning ecumenical dialogue, bringing together the local community in shared fellowship.
The Emil and Elfriede Jochum Chair, a University professorship established through a gift from Emil Jochum, supports the study of Christian values in public and professional life. The Chair will work to bring scholarship or other forms of creative work to bear on the many dimensions of the Christian calling in a complex society and to engage students in such exploration whenever possible.
“We are so pleased that Dr. Denysenko will be joining us next year as the Jochum Chair. His background as a theologian and liturgical scholar are a perfect fit for the Jochum Chair. His scholarly work has placed him as a nationally and internationally known scholar, and he effectively brings that scholarly work to bear in his excellent work as a teacher and mentor of students,” said Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We greatly look forward to the unique and powerful voice that Nick will bring to our discussions about Lutheranism, the broader Christian Church, inter-religious dialogue, and our world.”
In his role as University Chair, Denysenko will teach and initiate other pedagogical activities throughout the academic year. He will affiliate with programs and departments across the University, including the theology department. Denysenko will also promote the purposes of his position through work outside the University, which may consist of speaking engagements, writing, consulting and attending and organizing professional meetings.
“I am deeply honored and privileged to be appointed to the Jochum Chair at Valparaiso University. The Jochum Chair presents a special opportunity to engage the common pursuit of truth — wherever it leads us,” Deynseko said. “A beloved teacher once told me that working in Christian higher education is a unique opportunity to ‘give blood’ — my hope is to create relationships with students, faculty, and people in the Valparaiso community to ‘give blood’ — for the life of the world.”
Denysenko will be the third occupant of the Jochum Chair, continuing the work of Rev. John Arthur Nunes, Ph.D., who served in this position from 2013 until he stepped down at the end of the 2015–2016 academic year to become the ninth president of Concordia College—New York in Bronxville, N.Y. The first occupant of the Jochum Chair, Walter Wangerin Jr., continues to serve on Valpo’s faculty in both the English and theology departments.
Prior to joining the faculty at Loyola Marymount University, Denysenko served on the faculty of The Catholic University of America in the School of Theology and Religious Studies. He has also served as a lecturer at George Washington University.
Denysenko holds a bachelor of science from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, a master of divinity from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in Crestwood, N.Y. and a doctorate in liturgical studies/sacramental theology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
He is an ordained deacon of the Orthodox Church of America. He is currently a member of the Society of Oriental Liturgy, the North American Academy of Liturgy, the American Academy of Religion and the Orthodox Theological Society of America. Denysenko is the author of many publications, including “Theology and Form: Contemporary Orthodox Architecture in America,” “A Proposal for Renewing Liturgy in the Twenty-First Century” and “Liturgy in the Contemporary Local Community and Belonging: Thanksgiving and Petition.”