320 Edge Hall
"Teaching is the heart of the matter--a process of transforming students and professors into persons possessing knowledge, wisdom, critical reason, and moral judgment, all proved in the life of care for others. Using enthusiasm and humor, moving around, calling students by name, encouraging discussion, teaching compels students to engage in the classroom, department lounge, and my office. Teaching is forming relationships with students, as we discover new ways of life and being in the world."
Dr. Waite Willis is the Edward J. Pendergrass Professor of Religion at Florida Southern College, his alma mater, and also serves as the chair of the Department of Religion and Philosophy. For over twenty years, Dr. Willis has also been a professor for the summer Course of Study program at the Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta, where he earned his Masters of Divinity. Dr. Willis earned his Ph.D. in constructive theology from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. He is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church and served for twelve years as a theologian on the Board of Ordained Ministry for the Florida Conference. He currently serves on the Florida Conference Board of Directors for Camping and retreat Ministries.
Dr. Willis is also a part-time staff person at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, where he serves as the director of Contemporary Worship and leads the music and worship at the 9:30 service, which he led in forming in 1995 and which currently averages 800 in attendance.
Professor Willis is the author of the book Theism, Atheism, and the Doctrine of the Trinity, co-author of the book Resurrection: The Origin and Future of a Stunning Concept, particularly the section on "A Theology of Resurrection: Its Meaning for Jesus, Us, and God," and author of a book chapter on "The Archaeology of Faith and the Archaeology of Palestine: Between a Rock and a Hard Place." He has given academic papers, as well as presentations and lectures in the church and community.
At Florida Southern, Dr. Willis has been involved in faculty governance and is active in student life. He chaired the committee and wrote the policy on faculty governance and chaired the colllege committee and wrote the policy for the reestablishment of tenure. He is faculty advisor for Theta Alpha Kappa, the national religion honorary, and the Theta Chi social fraternity. He also leads the May Option Study Abroad trips to places such as Italy, Turkey and Greece, Scotland and England, and Israel.
Professor Willis has been honored at Florida Southern College with many awards for excellence in the classroom, including the Phi Eta Sigma Lover of Wisdom Award, Phi Eta Sigma faculty membership for excellence in the classroom, the Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teacher Award. He was honored in 2012 by his selection for the Distinguished Alumni Award by the Candler School of Theology, Emory University.
Persons as Religious Seekers; Introduction to the Old Testament; Introduction to the New Testament; Basic Christian Beliefs; World Religions and Philosophies; Jesus in Film; History of Christian Thought; Fundamental questions in Theology and Philosophy; Philosophy of Religion; Current Theological Thought; Doctrine of God; Introduction to Women's Studies; Interdisciplinary Capstone Seminar in Christian Ethics
Ph. D., Theological Studies, Emory University
Master of Divinity, Candler School of Theology, Emory University
B.A., Mathematics/English, Florida Southern College
Distinguished Alumni Award, Candler School of Theology, Emory University - 2012
Awarded Tenure (new policy) - 2011
Selected for Summer Instructional Technology Institute - 2009
Omicron Delta Kappa Outstanding Teacher Award - 2002
Ben and Janice Wade Teaching Excellence Award - 2002
Edward J. Pendergrass Chair in Religion - 2001
Presidential nominee for Outstanding Educator Award given by The United Methodist Foundation for Christian Higher Education - 1999
Phi Eta Sigma Lover of Wisdom Award, Outstanding Teaching - 1995
111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive
Lakeland, FL 33801-5698