Two leading Melbourne Anglican scholars, the Revd Dr Dorothy Lee and the Revd Dr Andrew McGowan – both of Trinity College Theological School in Parkville – are among the first 10 professors appointed by the Council of MCD University of Divinity, Australia’s first University of Specialisation.

Professor Lee – an ordained minister in the Uniting Church for more than 20 years until she became an Anglican in 2007, taking Holy Orders the following year – is Dean of the Theological School and Frank Woods Distinguished Professor in Biblical Studies. She has taught New Testament at MCD for more than 20 years.

Professor McGowan, the Warden of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne since 2007, has taught Early Church History and Liturgy at MCD for nine years. He is a Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral and a member of the Doctrine Commission of the Anglican Church of Australia.

Trinity College Theological School is one of three colleges that make up the ecumenical United Faculty of Theology, within MCD University of Divinity.

The 10  senior scholars have been recognised by the university for their outstanding scholarship, teaching excellence, and leadership within and beyond the academy.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Sherlock, said: "The 10 Professors have brought great distinction to themselves and to our institution over a long period. Each one has made a mark internationally. They have an impressive record of service to the academy, the churches, and most importantly their students.

"Their areas of expertise illustrate the wonderful spectrum of theological research undertaken at MCD University of Divinity, including biblical scholarship, spirituality, church history, doctrine, liturgy, canon law and ethics.

"Each of our Professors has an outstanding record in engagement with the community and churches in Australia and beyond, developing theologically informed responses to the needs and issues facing 21st century society.

"I am delighted that MCD University of Divinity is able to honour these 10 scholars in its first year as an Australian University of Specialisation. I look forward to future appointments by Council to this distinguished academic title."

The appointments are the culmination of a rigorous application process, benchmarked against Australian university practices. Applications were assessed against four areas: teaching, research, leadership in the academy, engagement with the churches and wider community. Recommendations for all appointments were made by a working group that included Professors from three Victorian universities. Sixty members of academic staff were classified at senior levels: 10 as Professors, 13 as Associate Professors, and 37 as Senior Lecturers.

Media enquiries:
Professor Peter Sherlock
M: 0409-007-724
T: (03) 9853-3177 extension 7 

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On 17 October 2012, the Council of MCD University of Divinity appointed the university’s first Professors, with 10 of MCD’s most senior scholars being recognised for their outstanding scholarship, teaching excellence and leadership within and beyond the academy:

Professor Mark Brett
Whitley College

Professor Brett has taught Hebrew Bible at MCD for 20 years. He has an outstanding record as an interdisciplinary and collaborative teacher, and has received international recognition for his postcolonial and hermeneutical approaches to biblical scholarship. He has made a substantial contribution to native title policy in Victoria, and in the development of theological resources for use in Aboriginal and Pacific Island communities.

Professor Brendan Byrne sj
Jesuit Theological College, United Faculty of Theology

Professor Byrne has taught New Testament at MCD for 35 years. He is a leading world scholar on Paul's Letter to the Romans. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, was editor of Pacifica for 11 years, and is the only Australian biblical scholar to have been appointed to serve on the Pontifical Biblical Commission of the Roman Catholic Church. His many publications include works that make exegetical and theological scholarship available to preachers, teachers, and congregations.

Professor Maryanne Confoy rsc
Jesuit Theological College, United Faculty of Theology

Professor Confoy has taught pastoral theology and ministry studies at MCD for over 30 years. Her lifelong contribution to scholarship is seen not only in her diverse publications, ranging from biographies of Morris West through leadership studies to mystical and feminist theologies, but also in her mentoring work with students and early-career academics in Australia and internationally. Her scholarship is thoroughly grounded in her extensive engagement with the educational, health, and social welfare sectors in Australia.

Professor Austin Cooper omi
Catholic Theological College

Professor Cooper has taught church history at MCD for 40 years. His research on John Henry Newman and the Oxford Movement displays meticulous historical scholarship and spiritual depth and is paralleled by his leadership of theological education in Australia, from his role as Foundation Master of Catholic Theological College through his participation in the development and improvement of MCD's Bachelor of Theology for over 30 years.

Professor Terry Falla
Whitley College

Professor Falla has been a leading scholar and teacher of Syriac language studies for 40 years. Since 2001 he has led the International Syriac Language Project which engages in cutting-edge lexicography and linguistics with a team of 22 international scholars. They meet annually and publish a series on ancient-language linguistics and lexicography, of which Falla is series editor. He is overseeing the production of the monumental work A Key to the Peshitta Gospels, a critical research resource for biblical scholarship. Through his scholarship he has contributed to the study of an ancient yet living language in Australia and internationally.

Professor Norman Ford sdb
Catholic Theological College

Professor Ford has taught ethics and philosophy at MCD for 40 years.  He is well known internationally and his extensive scholarly work on controversial bioethical issues has been commended for its fresh contribution to understanding of the beginning of human life and translated into Polish and Italian. He was Master of Catholic Theological College 1986 to 1991 and President of the Melbourne College of Divinity from 1991 to 1993. He has served on numerous Ethics Committees, and was editor of the Chisholm Health Ethics Bulletin from 1995 to 2007, promoting informed dialogue about ethical issues vital to the wider community.

Professor Dorothy Lee
Trinity College Theological School, United Faculty of Theology

Professor Lee has taught New Testament at MCD for over 20 years. She is internationally recognised for her research on symbolism in the Gospel of John, displaying pastoral sensitivity and cultural awareness in exegesis and interpretation. Her focus is on a literary and theological approach to the Gospels and she is widely published in books and journals. Her esteem is evident in the high demand for her scholarship as a lecturer, supervisor, preacher and writer. 

Professor Andrew McGowan
Trinity College Theological School, United Faculty of Theology

Professor McGowan has taught early church history and liturgy at MCD for nine years. His scholarship on the origins of the Eucharist has had wide international recognition within and beyond the discipline of theology for its reassessment of the nature of early Christian ritual. His scholarly engagement with contemporary issues has invigorated debate within the churches, higher education sector, and wider community, bringing theological perspectives to bear on public affairs. 

Professor Christiaan Mostert
Uniting Church Theological College, United Faculty of Theology

Professor Mostert has taught systematic theology at MCD for 16 years. An acknowledged expert on the theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg, his scholarship is characterised by precision and passion and has influenced generations of current and future church leaders through his teaching and engagement.  He has exercised outstanding leadership in the academy, including as President of the MCD and as President of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools.

Professor Ian Waters
Catholic Theological College

Professor Waters has taught canon law at MCD for 20 years. He has an outstanding record as a teacher in a demanding area that requires application of a complex body of knowledge to contemporary situations. The quality and esteem of his scholarship as a canon lawyer is evident not only in his research papers but also in his published judgments and confidential legal opinions and in his extensive record of service to church and community.