Faculty bios

Graduate Course: Virtue, Christianity, and the Two Kingdoms

Father Paul Abernathy, an Orthodox Christian priest, is the inaugural director of FOCUS Pittsburgh, a non-profit located in the Hill District. The agency, launched in 2011, is committed to supporting the greater Pittsburgh region with its three-pillar healing strategy known as Trauma Informed Community Development (TICD). FOCUS provides community support, health and well-being initiatives, and leadership development. In addition to his work with FOCUS Pittsburgh, Fr. Paul serves on multiple community boards and committees and has been awarded the New Pittsburgh Courier's Fab 40 award, Larry Richert's Hometown Hero Award, Pittsburgh Magazine's 40 under 40, and Wheeling Jesuit University's Fr. Pedro Arrupe Distinguished Alumni Award. He also serves as pastor of St. Moses Orthodox Christian Mission, also located in the Hill District. A member of the adjunct faculty at Duquesne University, Fr. Paul team-teaches the United Pittsburgh graduate course with Dr. Elizabeth Cochran.

Elizabeth Agnew Cochran is an associate professor of theology at Duquesne University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses that focus on virtue, moral methodology, health care ethics, and the history of moral thought in Christianity. She is the author of two books, Receptive Human Virtues (Penn State University Press, 2011) and Protestant Virtue  and Stoic Ethics (T&T Clark, 2018) which explore the ways in which Christian accounts of character and moral dispositions have been understood at various historical moments and have developed over time. Elizabeth teaches the United Pittsburgh graduate course alongside Fr. Paul Abernathy.

"I'm excited to teach this course. By bringing academic study of these themes into conversation with insights communicated through the lecture series and conversation with community partners, this course will challenge all of us to reflect carefully about how the work that takes place in a university classroom may speak to concerns about structural injustice and inequality in a real-life context," Elisabeth says.

Undergraduate Course: Social Ethics and Racial Geographies

Elisabeth Vasko is an associate professor of theology. At Duquesne, she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in liberation theologies, gender studies in religion, and theological anthropology. She is the author of Beyond Apathy: A Theology for Bystanders (Fortress Press), which highlights the significance of social privilege in the form of silent complicity in sustaining sexual violence and white racism. Elisabeth teaches the undergraduate United Pittsburgh course with Terri Baltimore from the Hill House Association.

"Violence always begs the question of communal complicity and moral agency. As a person of faith, educator, activist, parent, and scholar; I believe we are called to participate in the creation of a more just and loving society. United Pittsburgh provides a unique opportunity to continue this work. I hope you will join us," says Elisabeth. "There are no "pre-requisites" for this series. All are welcome, irrespective of your race, gender, religion, sexual preference, class, ability, educational background, or experience. I want to meet you," she adds.

Terri Baltimore is the Director of Neighborhood Engagement for the Hill House Association. Currently, she is responsible for environmental programs, volunteer activities, strategic partnerships and historic tours of the community. Terri co-founded the "Dot Talley Center," which provided supportive housing for women in recovery and their children, and "Find The Rivers," a community-driven approach to improving economic, environmental, and cultural and public health in the Hill District. She also served on the team that created "The Greenprint," the award winning green plan for the Hill District. She was the inaugural Community Fellow at Duquesne University's Center for Engaged Teaching and Research. Terri is Board Chair of the Ujamaa Collective; serves on the African American Advisory Board at the John Heinz History Center; and is a member of the Daisy Wilson Artist Community. She is an adjunct faculty member and co-teaches the undergraduate United Pittsburgh course with Dr. Elisabeth Vasko.