Jacob Wood, the new assistant professor of theology at Franciscan University, enjoys the air of a community where people can passionately live out the Catholic faith.
“The number one thing that matters to me and to my wife is to be part of a Catholic community that is vibrant in its faith and passionate about its fidelity to the church,” Wood said. “That was what excited us most about Franciscan University. … That’s a beautiful witness to academia at large.”
He initially heard that Franciscan had an open position while he was finishing his doctorate in systematic theology at Catholic University of America and teaching at the University of Dallas.
“I had, of course, always heard very good things about Franciscan graduates,” said Wood. “Franciscan University is renowned for its fidelity to the church and that, of course, is not so easy to find all the time in academia.”
In July, he and his wife and their three children made an approximately 1200-mile move from Dallas to Steubenville. He and his wife are originally from New Jersey, where they grew up in the same town and were high school sweethearts.
They have settled in Bloomingdale, about 15 minutes outside of Steubenville. They have bought some chickens and look forward to raising goats, keeping a garden and other outdoor activities.
When he has free time, Wood plans to return to his hobby of brewing beer.
“(Brewing) is a sort of all day affair and just a very relaxing thing to do,” he said. “(It) provides a nice counterbalance to the fast pace of the university.”
Franciscan’s theology department is currently working on developing and teaching online courses. Wood has experience in this area due to his time working for Catholic Distance University. The department has also just developed a research-intensive track for the masters program.
Before coming to Franciscan, Wood taught at Loyola University in Maryland, Catholic Distance University, the Augustine Institute and the University of Dallas.
He finds teaching classes an exciting opportunity to explore interesting areas of theology with the students and says that the enthusiasm of his students has made each class enjoyable.
When asked to name a favorite class out of the ones he is currently teaching, he replied, “All of them. I’m sorry, but I can’t pick.”