Loyola University Maryland


Self and Other Course Pairing

Theology Matters: Where Do I Fit in This Picture? (TH 201)

How we imagine the world greatly affects our sense of place in it. Do we think of ourselves as individuals who stand on our own, or as part of a communal fabric? Do we imagine ourselves as standing outside of nature, exercising mastery over it, or are we one with the natural world whose wellbeing is tied up in our own? Are we more body or soul, or something in between? Do we exist within a meaningful cosmos in which we are given an ultimate purpose, or in a random universe in which we must forge our own meaning? This course explores various ways of addressing these questions in Jewish and Christian literature and thought. Course texts include the Bible, theological writing (ancient and contemporary), fiction, the visual arts, and religious ritual. Special attention is given to how contemporary Christian theology addresses issues of ecology, race, economics, and work.

Faculty biography

Dr. Claire Mathews McGinnis studied anthropology and sociology as an undergraduate at Swarthmore College. Her minor in religion led her to pursue further study at Yale University, from which she received an M.Div. and then a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. A native of Baltimore, she has taught at Loyola for 25 years, and especially enjoys her first-year students. She likes outdoor activities, dogs, baseball, and showing students around Baltimore.

Basic Digital Photography: Expose/disclose (PT 270)

In this Messina course, we will use the lens to explore topics such as self and identity, location and history, and creation and abstraction. We will look at what a photo is, what it represents, and the ways in which pictures function today. Fundamentally, this art course focuses on who are we in this world and how we reveal perception using creative imagery. Throughout the course, we will look at both historic and contemporary photographic practice and talk about the ethics and power of the camera.

Faculty biography

Professor Heather Braxton is a Baltimore-based artist, teacher, and activist. She earned her MFA in Photographic and Electronic Media from Maryland Institute College of Art. Largely her work focuses on social, political, and personal boundaries utilizing photography, video, text, printmaking, book, and installation. Her research focuses on feminist photography, image ethics, and community-based art and activism. She transplanted from Connecticut in 2014 and has called Baltimore her home since. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, woodworking, gardening, and finding great food in Baltimore.

Mentor biography

Garrison (Garry) Schmitt moved to Maryland and joined the Loyola Team in 2018 having departed from his former role in Hospitality Administration with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. Garry has a diverse education background, having served in both K-12 as well as Higher Education roles. But, while Garry has found a passion for working with students of all ages, he truly excels when in an atmosphere where students are empowering one another to serve, create their own identity, and care for the whole person. Originally from Berlin, Connecticut, Garry completed his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from fellow Jesuit institution, College of the Holy Cross, and his Master of Education degree in Higher Education Administration from Post University.

Mentor biography

Marci Belton serves as the Assistant Director of Student Life who oversees the exclusively first-year-populated area of campus, Hillside... *coughs* BESTSIDE. Marci started working at Loyola in October 2018. Marci is a member of the Loyola Votes taskforce, Common Text Selection Committee, and has worked closely with the Office of International Student Services to help support the Global Connections program. Marci is a huge fan of learning and laughing as much as possible. 


Virtual Advisor

Both courses in this pairing satisfy core requirements (Theology and Fine Arts) for all students.

Abigail Vitaliano standing in front of the Humanities Building on a snowy day
Loyola Ready

A Transformative College Experience

“Loyola enabled me to become the best version of myself.” A former student reflects on her experience.

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