Current Research and Areas of Expertise
- Contemplative Life
- Psychology and Religion
- Paths to Enlightenment
- Spiritual Development and research into the "inner arts," that is, the cultivation of Compassion, Joy, Lovingness, Forgiveness, and Peace
Fran Grace spent her growing-up years in the Coffeen Nature Preserve on Florida's Gulf Coast. She sees her teaching and research in the field of Religious Studies as a continuing inquiry into some of those early catalytic experiences of solitude and nature.
The first several years of her career grappled with the downside of religion-- its dogmatism and judgmentalism. Her first book came out of the effort to understand such impulses not only within religious history but also within herself.
Her current teaching and writing examine the upside of religion, mainly the "inner life" -- its inspirational teachers, various methods for spiritual development and healing and the paths to Self-Realization, Enlightenment and Divine Union as taught by the sages and mystics of the world's spiritual traditions.
Current Public Offerings
Dr. Grace offers sessions on meditation and contemplative practice in the University’s Meditation Room. The sessions are open to the public for free and described on the Meditation Room’s website.
For academic settings, she serves as a consultant on teaching contemplative-based courses that integrate meditation into academic learning. She recently published an article about her use of meditation in the academic context .
See also "A Semester Within: Exploring Meditation," a 50-minute documentary film about her contemplative-based courses, which have also been mentioned in local and national news sources.
For more information about her public speaking schedule, see the website for Inner Pathway, a non-profit organization based on the core principles of compassion, love, joy, beauty, and truth.
Although new adventures and research hold her attention, Dr. Grace still occasionally makes presentations to universities, libraries, churches and writing groups about Carry A. Nation and biographical writing. Dr. Grace spent seven years researching Nation's life, resulting in what reviewers call a "landmark" biography of the famous American saloon smasher. See 2001 the C-SPAN interview with Fran Grace on Carry Nation.
Courses Taught at Redlands
REL 210: Meditation
REL 250: Compassion
REL 323: Quest of the Mystic: The Inner Path
REL 293: Healing and Wholeness: Exploring Psychology and Religion
REL 101: Issues in Modern Religion
- 1986. B.A., B.S. Political Science and Public Adm., Harding University
- 1987. Certification in Italian, Universita' di Firenze (Florence, Italty)
- 1991. M.A. Government, University of Texas at Austin
- 1992. Master of Divinity, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
- 1993. Th.M. History of Christianity, Princeton Theological Seminary
- 1997. Ph.D. American Religious History, Princeton Theological Seminary
- 2000. Certificate in Spiritual Direction, Center for Spirituality, Mount Saint Mary's College, three-year training in Christian contemplative life
- 2004 – Present. Institute of Advanced Spiritual Research, Sedona, AZ, monthly seminars and satsangs with David R. Hawkins and the Devotional Nonduality community.
- 2008. "Screenwriting" at Zaki Gordon Institute of Independent Film-Making, Sedona, AZ.
- 2006. "Approaches to Energy Medicine" workshop, Puerta Vallarta.
- 2004. "Traditional Chinese Medicine and Self-Healing," Shiatsu School of Healing Arts, Santa Monica, CA.
- 2004. "Writing, Healing, Reconciliation" workshop with Zen teacher Natalie Goldberg, Institute of Noetic Science, CA.
- 2003. Engaged Buddhism workshop with Joanna Macy, Santa Cruz, CA.
- 1999. Visiting Scholar, Harvard Divinity School.
- 1998. "Women, Religion and Social Change," taught by Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether at Immaculate Heart College Center, L.A.
- 1998. "Women in Solidarity," conference aimed at uniting women from diverse racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds, facilitated by Dr. Susan Marie Maloney, Director at Immaculate Heart College, L.A.
- 1998. Seminar on Women Mystics, Institute for Spirituality, L.A.
- 1996. Inner Peace Conference, Bishop Kallistos Ware, St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, L.A.
Previous Teaching Experience
- Assistant Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University, 1995-1999
- Instructor of Politics, Austin Community College, 1991-1992
- Teaching Assistant, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin, 1989-1991
- Academic Coach for Department of Athletics, University of Texas at Austin, 1989-1992
Awards, Honors and Grants
- Mortar Board "Professor of the Year" 2006-07, University of Redlands
(awarded by student body)
- Luce Fellow in Comparative Theology and Theology of Religious Pluralism, 2010-2011
- Banta Center Award for Ethics Across the Curriculum - Compassion Seminar, 2008
- Pew Faculty Fellowship, Religion & American History, 1998-99
(awarded by Yale University)
- WRW (inter-racial student group) Phenomenal Womyn Award, 2006
- Outstanding Research/Creativity Award, University of Redlands, 2002
(awarded by faculty review committee)
- Lilly-Luce Teaching Fellow, 2000-01
(awarded by the American Academy of Religion)
- Who's Who Among American Teachers and Educators, 2007
- Tyler Teaching Award, Pepperdine University, 1997-1998
(awarded by student body)
- Helen Pepperdine Community Service Award, 1998
(awarded by staff-faculty committee)
- Doctoral Fellowship Awards, 1993-1997, Princeton Theological Seminary
Publications, Presentations and Panels - Selected
PUBLICATIONS – BOOKS
Judith Simmer-Brown and Fran Grace, editors. (2011) Meditation and the Classroom. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Fran Grace. (2011). "The 'Map of Consciousness': A New Paradigm for Mysticism and Healing." In June McDaniel and Thomas Cattoi (Eds.), Perceiving the Divine through the Human Body. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
Fran Grace. (2004). "Carry Nation". In Brian Lamb (Ed.), Booknotes on American Character: People, Politics, and Conflict (pp. 117-125). New York: Rutgers University Press.
Fran Grace. (2002). "The Best Show in Town: Carry A. Nation and the Selling of Temperance in the Urban Northeast". In Diane Winston and John Giggi (Eds.), Faith in the Market: Religion and the Rise of Urban Commercial Culture (pp. 57-73). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Fran Grace. (2001, paperback 2003). Carry A. Nation: Retelling the Life. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
PUBLICATIONS – ARTICLES
Fran Grace. 2011. “Beyond Reason: The Certitude of the Mystic, Al-Hallaj to David R. Hawkins,” International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, Vol. 1, No. 13 (September), 147-156.
Fran Grace (April 2011). "Learning as a Path, not a Goal: Contemplative Pedagogy, Its Principles and Practices." Teaching Theology and Religion, Vol 14: 2, 99-124.
Thomas Coburn, Fran Grace, Anne Carolyn Klein, Louis Komjathy, Harold Roth, Judith Simmer-Brown. "Contemplative Pedagogy FAQs," Teaching Theology and Religion, Vol 14:2, 167-174.
Fran Grace. (Summer 2009). Served as Guest Editor for special issue on “Spirituality in Higher Education: Problems, Practices, and Programs.”
Fran Grace. (Summer 2009). "Pedagogy of Reverence: A Narrative Account." Religion and Education, Vol 36:2, 102-123.
Fran Grace and Judith Simmer-Brown. (Summer 2009). “A Contemplative Response: The Part IS The Whole.” Religion and Education, Vol 36:2, 150-152.
Fran Grace. (May 2009)."Breathing in Suffering, Breathing out Compassion." UCLA Spirituality in Higher Education Newsletter, Vol 5, Issue 2, 1-10.
Frances Grace. (1999). "With Bible in One Hand and Battle Axe in the Other: Carry A. Nation as a Religious Performer and Self-Promoter." Religion and American Culture, 30-65.
PRESENTATIONS - Selected
The Power of Love in the Christian and Sufi Mystics, invited presentation for Integral Sedona, Sedona, Arizona, August 2011.
Exploring the Mystics, invited 8-hour seminar, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Sedona, Arizona, December 2010.
Contemplative Studies Panel, American Academy of Religion, National Annual Meeting, Atlanta, 2010.
Exploring Compassion, invited 8-hour seminar, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Sedona, Arizona, July 2010.
Contemplative Pedagogy Roundtable, American Academy of Religion, National Annual Meeting, Chicago, 2008.
"I'm Not Religious - I'm a Mystic!" panel at University of California -Riverside, 2007.
"Map of Consciousness: A New Paradigm for Healing," Mysticism Session, American Academy of Religion, National Annual Meeting, D.C., 2006.
"Awakening the Self: Contemplative Approaches to Teaching," American Academy of Religion, Western Region, Annual Conference, Claremont, CA, 2006
"Women's Religious Leadership in late 19th century Protestantism," AHA/American Society of Church History, January 2003, Chicago
"Madeline Southard: Her Search for Same-Sex Companionship and Work for the WCTU," AHA/ American Society of Church History, Winter 2001, Boston (with Cynthia Cornell Novak)
"She, Me, We: The Feminist Experience of Bringing Voices Out of Silence Through Collaborative Editing," National Women's Studies Association Conference, Boston, MA, June 2000 (with Cynthia Cornell Novak)
"Carry A. Nation and Self-Reinvention in Spiritual Autobiography" at the National Women's Studies Association Conference, Albuquerque, NM, June 1999
"Carry Nation and the Stone-Campbell Movement" at the Restoration History Lectures at Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas, 1999.
The Spiritual Journey of Carry A. Nation," at the Center for the Study of American Religion, Princeton University, October, 1996
- American Academy of Religion
- Chair, 2002-2005, “Women and Religion” Program Unit, Western Region
- Co-Chair, 2005-2008, "Teaching Religion" Program Unit, National Meeting
- Steering Committee, 2010 - Present, "Contemplative Studies" Program Unit, National Meeting
- Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion
- Workshop Staff, 2008-2009
- Editorial Board, Journal of Religion and Education, 2010 - Present
- Institute for Contemplative Life, Founding Director