Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Sandy Haney

     Sandy Haney, once an Eastern student herself, has returned to the community to teach as assistant professor of biblical studies. She is a wife of 15 years and the mother of two wonderful children, John and Sylvia. Her story is a testament of diligent Christian scholasticism partnered with a fervent dedication to family life.

     Dr. Haney loved her time as an Eastern student, saying how thankful she was to come to a place that “talked about faith in everything.” She remarks how beautiful the diversity of the students was, lending itself to a healthy culture of conversation. Haney came into Eastern thinking she would eventually become a high school English teacher. Although she enjoyed her English classes, she says she really loved her Bible classes. It was not until she was informed by her friends that her love for the subject was unique that she discovered what her true academic passions were. She then changed her course of study to a double major in biblical and theological studies with a minor in English. She was also a member of the honors program.

     Haney describes her academic pursuits as a relationship where she “met the church fathers” and thought, “Oh, I really like them!” It was a love that grew over time with diligent study and dedication. She explains it as a kind of love you cannot help but return to over and over. As Haney continued to study and pursue her loves, her focus narrowed to that of Cappadocians (Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa and Basil the Great) and St. Augustine, and in particular, their beliefs regarding marriage, celibacy and ascetism. In studying these church fathers, Haney remarks that she was always more interested in studying them from a “people’s history” kind of perspective. She wanted to know what early Christianity was doing for everyone present at the time and tried to find traces of how it was affecting those often left out of historic narratives, like the married women of the time. This, she says, was something she had to dig for in the writings of the church fathers, though the answers were there for the seeking.

     Haney believes that her ecumenical upbringing has allowed her to have a balanced picture of the Christian faith as a larger narrative throughout history. This ecumenical atmosphere was continually present throughout her studies, as her professors and advisors ranged from Protestant to Orthodox. This kind of exposure has given her the unique ability to see beauty in all of the Christian traditions.

     Dr. Haney is excited to be a part of the Eastern community as an assistant professor in the biblical studies department and is looking forward to her family continuing to have a place in this community as well. Her dedication to this school and the students here is inspiring, and gives us one more reason to be thankful for this place.

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