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Dr. Barry R. Sang

Professor BarrySang.jpg

At Catawba Dr. Sang has played major roles in several of the College's major programs. The College has granted him the following awards: the Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teaching; the William R. Weaver Professor of Humanities; the Algernon Sidney Sullivan award for Christian character; and the Trustees' Award for outstanding contributions to the College. Dr. Sang regularly teaches courses in biblical studies, world religions, the phenomenology of religion, contemporary Christian theology, and french horn.

In 2002-5 Dr. Sang wrote successful grant proposals to the Lilly Endowment, Inc., for $2.5 million, leading to the foundation and continuation of the Lilly Center for Vocation and Values at Catawba College.

Dr. Sang was Faculty Director for Catawba's Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2004-06 and, as Accreditation Liaison to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, led Catawba through a very successful 2015 decennial review. He is married to Kathy Hanna Sang and both are the parents of Rebecca who was adopted two days after her birth in 1994.


Educational Philosophy
In the historical study of religion we discover that prophets are persons who, because of a divine calling, feel compelled to share their inspired view of reality. Although prophecy and teaching are not the same thing, they are equivalent in many respects. I see myself as having been "called" into teaching and, for me, it is a Christian calling, i.e., I have found a purpose for my life which I believe is part of God's purposes, although my realization of those purposes is certainly tempered by this flawed vessel. (This is James Fowler's notion of being "in vocation.")

My teaching experience is like prophecy because I feel a sense of compulsion to proclaim the "word," and the essence of that word is vision--I want my students to see what they have never seen before, or, to see what they now see differently. I teach to destroy mindless religiosity (Fowler again), to help students "own" their existing faith and to learn how to see new possibilities in other faiths--hence my favorite slogan, sapere aude (Dare to Know!). I want to help my students find the excitement of the dynamic, creative tension between faith and reason and to cherish the integral role that religion plays in human life.

I teach because I believe we have a responsibility to one other--a responsibility to try to communicate more effectively and listen more carefully so that we may learn from one other; a responsibility to understand before acting, and then to act with integrity.

I teach because I never wanted to leave college, because I wanted to be a student forever. And it is a maxim of mine that, should I ever cease to learn from my students, then I am no longer qualified to teach.

I teach because I can't help it. The treasure God has given us is too great; it is too beautiful to remain silent.