(March 12, 2012) — Dr. Timothy Harvie says his research has a direct impact on the classes he teaches at St. Mary’s University.

A couple of weeks after delivering a paper – Corpus Socialis: The Integral Role of the Body as the Medium of Ethics in Thomas Aquinas – at Austria’s University of Graz in February, Dr. Harvie lectured to a rapt audience on the same topic in his Philosophy 351 class.

Sharing international research “as it is happening” with his students is one of the things he likes about being an assistant professor of philosophy and ethics at St. Mary’s.

“I like seeing the light bulbs go on,” he said. “Here at St. Mary’s, I have the opportunity to actually engage and get to know my students.”

Dr. Harvie established a student ethics club at St. Mary’s this year, leading lively discussions on topics such as child vs. parental rights, and the ethics of body modification.

“The students are so keen about growing, both in terms of their academic pursuits and their character,” Dr. Harvie said.

He is also serving as faculty liaison for the Students’ Association this year, working closely with another group of St. Mary’s keeners.

“It is wonderful seeing the dedication of these students and their commitment to facilitating a vibrant student life at St. Mary’s.”

Dr. Harvie’s own collegiate experience began in Regina, where he achieved a Bachelor of Theology at Canadian Bible College (now Ambrose University College) and a Master of Arts and Religion (High Honours) at Canadian Theological Seminary.

He then studied at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, obtaining a PhD in Systematic Theology and Ethics. A further two years in the post-doctoral program at the University of Wales led to the publication of his book Jürgen Moltmann’s Ethics of Hope: Eschatological Possibilities For Moral Action, which examines Moltmann’s theology and experiences as a German prisoner of war.

Dr. Harvie’s first job after receiving his PhD was at Starbucks – “I learned to make a great latte, which is a good life skill.” – but he was soon working as a sessional lecturer at St. Mary’s and Ambrose University College in Calgary.

He joined St. Mary’s as a full-time faculty member in 2010, and was appointed Assistant Professor prior to the 2011-2012 academic year.

While Dr. Harvie’s past research explored how hope affects our approaches to social justice, his current writings focus on medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas’s views on the body, ethics and social justice.

“Thomas talks about how our corporeal bodies are an inextricable part of who and what we are. I’m interested in how this engages our involvement in social justice and ethics,” he said.

“This is a natural progression in some respects, because ethics doesn’t fulfill its mandate if it merely remains in the abstract.”