Above Photo: Dr. Heather Macumber, Associate Professor in Biblical Studies, holds her recent book Recovering the Monstrous in Revelation that applies the interdisciplinary method of monster theory to John’s Apocalypse.
Article Submitted by Madison Franks, Student Writer
Although I may be biased, I think it is fair to say that Providence students have the privilege to learn from some of the best and most distinguished professors. Among them is Dr. Heather Macumber, one of Providence’s Biblical Studies professors, and a very beloved one at that. Being tasked with writing a story featuring a Providence professor, and unsure of how I would proceed, I took to the rest of the university student body to suggest who I should write about. While many incredible names were thrown around (Providence really does have an extraordinary bunch of teachers!), one name came up over and over again – Heather Macumber.
Macumber began her career at Providence in 2017. She is a natural and gifted professor but admits unapologetically that she never planned to choose teaching as her profession. For years, she was looking for an “aha” moment and, through a process of elimination, her call to teaching was confirmed in the classroom as she started her post-secondary career journey.
When reflecting on her time in the classroom, and what she loves most, Macumber shares, “As a professor, you can open up subjects and help people see things in a different light and a different way.”
Her passion for teaching is evident in the amount of care and consideration she gives to her students. “I’m the most excited when I walk into a room and I know the students already. The relationships I build are really meaningful.”
Third-year student Christina Duerksen, who is working toward her BA in Biblical Studies & English Literature, adds, “Heather goes absolutely above and beyond in caring for her students and setting them up for academic success. You often see her around campus and at events, and when you do, she will come up to you, eager to chat and get to know you outside of class times.”
Students are not the only ones whose lives have been impacted by Macumber. Her colleagues also speak highly about her influence and presence. Professor of New Testament and English Literature, Dr. Michael Gilmour, affirmed this while reflecting on her specialized knowledge in both the Old Testament and the book of Revelation, “Such range is a tremendous resource for our university. We’re fortunate to have her as part of our community.”
Providence alumnus, Isaac Ginter (BA in Biblical & Theological Studies 2020), who studied under Macumber in the past, had these words to share, “Going beyond her brilliant intelligence and wisdom, she is someone who is dedicated to the perseverance of her students.” Isaac adds that she “fully embodies what it means to be both a scholar and a mentor.”
It is precisely this focus on mentorship that is a defining trait of Macumber to her students. She remembers the important role mentors played in her own development and growth as a student. “My Master of Divinity was a really formative time, and I think that’s because I had mentors.”
Her deep desire for students to get to know the biblical text, and passion for teaching are some of the reasons why the Providence community loves Heather Macumber. To all of those who have graduated, Macumber says to “never be static in life.”
To the first-year students coming in, she asks that you “take the opportunities when you don’t agree with the prof to dialogue with them because the prof wants that.” And her final advice, timely for everyone and very much in character, is, “Maybe, practice some Sabbath!”