ARLINGTON, Va. – Dr. Brian Flanagan, an assistant professor of theology at Marymount University, received the 2014 Robert A. Draghi Outstanding Faculty Award at the school's Recognition Day on May 17.
Named for the late Dr. Robert Draghi, a professor of philosophy and dean of Marymount's School of Arts and Sciences, the award recognizes Flanagan’s teaching excellence, efforts to strengthen the university community and commitment to students. It was presented by the Class of 2014.
“It’s a great honor, particularly considering how many great colleagues I have in my department and school, and throughout Marymount,” Flanagan said. “I’ve learned half of what I know through my fellow faculty, so to be honored among them is quite humbling.”
Student evaluations consistently praise Flanagan for the passion he brings to theology and his ability to engage them in discussion and get them to think critically.
“He makes them laugh and think, which is a great combination,” said Dr. Brian Doyle, chair of the department of religious studies and theology. “They also trust him with their learning, their development, and when appropriate, their personal lives.”
Dr. George Cheatham Jr., dean of Marymount’s School of Arts and Sciences, said Flanagan was an engaged and productive scholar.
“Students can tell when a professor cares about his subject and when he cares about them,” Cheatham said. “Dr. Flanagan cares deeply about both. Students know that about him and they respond to it.
In class, Flanagan likes to focus on the big questions.
“In theology courses, we spend a lot of time with what we call ‘perennial questions’ about God, life, death, suffering, etc.,” Flanagan said. “It’s easy to get simplistic or cheap answers to those questions – or to avoid them altogether – and so what I hope to teach and to model are ways of asking difficult questions with intellectual vigor, attention to one’s own faith tradition and experiences, and openness to dialogue with others asking similar questions.”
He praised his students’ energy and the diversity at Marymount, which he said results in a wealth of experiences, perspectives and traditions in his classes.
PHOTO CAPTION - Dr. Brian Flanagan, assistant professor of theology at Marymount University.