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The Theological-Historical Department

The courses in this department are designed to provide grounding in Christian theology, history, ethics, and comparative religion. Theology courses survey the history, significance, and philosophical dimensions of the major doctrines and issues of the faith, exploring their significance for contemporary life and ministry. Ethics courses address both fundamental matters and specific topics and thinkers. The courses encourage students to bring theological, philosophical, and ethical insights to bear upon contemporary moral and cultural issues. Courses in comparative religion explore basic basic concepts of religion, the particularity of Protestant Christianity within the diversity of religious thought and practice, and the beliefs and nature of other religions.


To view videos from each of the professors in the department, click on their "profiles" below.

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Melissa Wiginton

Faculty Information
Location(s) McCord Building
Department(s) EBW office, Staff, Theology Department
Title(s) Vice President for Education Beyond the Walls, Research Professor in Methodist Studies
Contact Information
Work Phone
Other Information

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Listen to Professor Wiginton's sermons here



BA, University of Texas at Austin, Magna Cum Laude

JD, University of Texas at Austin

MDiv, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Summa Cum Laude



Ms. Wiginton joined Austin Seminary in 2011 with the call to establish Education Beyond the Walls. Previously, she served for 12 years at the Fund for Theological Education, a national, ecumenical organization whose mission is to call exceptional, diverse young leaders for the church and the academy. She was the architect of four FTE Ministry Fellowships for undergraduates and seminary students; instrumental in developing a program in support of young adult volunteer organizations to promote vocational discernment and the connection of faith and work for volunteers, Volunteers Exploring Vocation; and a leader in founding Calling Congregations, a major initiative  which aimed to inspire and equip congregations to nurture vocation for young people. She worked with diverse denominations, colleges and universities, seminaries and divinity schools during her tenure. She holds deep commitments to diversity, to the church, to theological education and to the flourishing of young adults.

Ms. Wiginton has participated in several major research initiatives relative to the church and pastoral leadership, including Duke Divinity School’s Pulpit & Pew project and Pathways to Ministry, a project of the Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education. She is the co-editor of “Awakened to a Calling: Reflections on the Vocation of Ministry,” a collection of sermons focused on young people and the vocation of ministry; author of “Truth,” in “Way to Live: Christian Practices for Teenagers,” and a contributor to “Greenhouses of Hope: Congregations Growing Young Leaders Who Will Change the World.” She has written for Call & Response, a blog sponsored by Faith & Leadership.

Austin is home for Ms. Wiginton: she attended college and law school here and practiced law for a dozen years before changing her direction to earn the M.Div. degree. While practicing law, she served as president of the Austin Family Mediation Association and, with Mary Fogel, created “Moving Through: A Workshop for Divorcing Families,” the first educational program in Austin to help parents in conflictual divorces ease the children’s difficulty. In 1996, the Texas Senate recognized Ms. Wiginton for her work on behalf of Texas families.

She is a practicing Christian and a member of the United Methodist Church.

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