Sr. Suzanne Mayer, IHM
Coordinator of Pastoral and Theological Studies
B.A., Immaculata University
M.S., Villanova University
M.S., Neumann University
Ph.D., Loyola University in Maryland
As a Sister of the Immaculate Heart I am proud to say I have had a long-standing history with Neumann University and have found a home in its Franciscan spirit. In 1990 I graduated from the then fairly-new masters in Pastoral Counseling and then went on for my doctorate in pastoral counseling from Loyola University in Maryland. After having taught eight years as an adjunct in the pastoral care and counseling program here, I was invited to a become a fulltime professor in 2011. Just this year, I agreed to take on the coordination of the pastoral programs and the undergrad theology. In every role, in every year, I have discovered more creative, giving, caring people – in the faculty and staff and, even more, in the students. As I always say, “The students are the best part of this program.” Along with Neumann, I have also taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Immaculata University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. In my “free time” I work as a pastoral counselor, primarily with children and members of religious orders, and as a consultant, lecturer and retreat director with groups of religious across the United States, I especially love interacting with those in formative stages, including working as an instructor in the In-Search inter-novitiate program for the contiguous dioceses.
From high school I knew I wanted to be a teacher and this has been fulfilled, beginning as a lay teacher in the primary grades right out of high school, and moving up through elementary and secondary education as an English teacher. I am known as the master of the APA among the pastoral counseling students. Currently, along with my teaching and advising I love spending time giving lectures, retreats and days of recollection and writing for publication in areas such as development and growth, women's roles and issues, the integration of spirituality and psychology and formation for religious growth. I have been published as a poet and hold a special interest in writing and teaching about forgiveness and the areas of trauma and crisis.
Professor, Pastoral Studies
B.A., Immaculata University
M.A., Villanova University
Ph.D., Temple University
As professor of pastoral studies, I teach undergraduate theology students and graduate students in the pastoral counseling and spiritual direction programs. Some courses I have taught are: Theological Foundations, Francis and Clare: Images of Spiritual Growth, Theology for Pastoral Identity, Discernment and Decision Making, Developmental Models of Psychology and Spirituality, Spiritual Direction: Engaging Traditions and Cultural Challenges. I also coordinate the Spiritual Direction Practicum and oversee the student program for the Certificate of Advanced Study in Spiritual Direction Supervision.
I have been part of the Neumann Community since 1990 when I assisted in the creation and design of Neumann's Spiritual Direction Program. In 2006 and 2008, I also served as adjunct faculty at St. John’s University, School of Theology, at Collegeville, Minnesota, and in 2012, at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Awarded a Fulbright Specialist Grant, during the winter of 2011, I conducted a research project on Spiritual Care in Healthcare Contexts at All Hallows College, Dublin, Ireland.
Current areas of my scholarly research and writing include: the spirituality of Clare of Assisi, the establishment of the Poor Clares in America, the contemporary practice of spiritual direction, and spiritual care in healthcare contexts.
Rev. Wallace Fletcher, Jr.
Adjunct Faculty, Pastoral Studies
B.A., Sterling College
M.A., Union Theological Seminary
M. Div., Princeton Theological Seminary
D. Min., Lutheran Theological Seminary
Rev. Wally Fletcher, D.Min., is Executive Director of The Dialogue Center for Counseling and Consulting in Plymouth Meeting, PA, and Cherry Hill, NJ. He has extensive training and experience as a therapist, consultant, educator and non-profit executive. He is a certified psychoanalyst and clinical supervisor in the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP # PO81814) and a certified Clinical Fellow (and supervisor) in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (#1924). He has taught in the Pastoral Counseling program at Neumann University for fifteen years and was awarded the Part-time Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005. Dr. Fletcher also teaches courses in the Organizational & Strategic Leadership program at Neumann as well as courses in the history and evolution of psychoanalysis at the Philadelphia School of Psychoanalysis. He is an ordained Presbyterian clergyman and served as pastor of a small rural congregation before entering specialized ministry. He has published an article on "Group and Group Dynamics" for the second volume of The Encyclopedia of Christianity and is a regular contributor on pastoral themes for Lectionary Homiletics, a national journal for preachers.
His current research interest is in the history of the relationship between spirituality and mental health practice in pastoral counseling and psychoanalysis. In March 2010, he was invited to deliver the 30-Year Anniversary Lecture for the Clinical Pastoral Education program at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital entitled: “The Role of Spirituality in Mental Health Care- The Passionate Conversation between Prof. Freud and Pastor Oscar Pfister and its Legacy”.
James A. Houck
Assistant Professor, Pastoral Studies
B.A. Messiah College
M. Div., Asbury Theological Seminary
M.S., Loyola University in Maryland
Ph.D., Loyola University in Maryland
Jim Houck earned his Ph.D. in pastoral counseling from Loyola College in Maryland. He currently serves as an assistant professor of pastoral studies and clinical coordinator for the department. In addition to having provided pastoral leadership in various settings, Dr. Houck is also a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania, and holds professional memberships in the National Board for Certified Counselors, the American Counseling Association, and the International Association for Near Death Experiences. His research interests include grief and bereavement, trauma, spiritual and religious coping, after death communication and near death experiences.
"For me, the field of pastoral counseling is an on going professional and personal integration of clinical psychology with pastoral, theological and spiritual issues. Students come to understand that it is within this integration that we are being transformed by God's grace working in and through us as pastoral counselors."
John V. Kruse
Assistant Professor, Theological Studies
B.A., University of Dayton
M.A., University of Dayton
Ph.D., Saint Louis University
I am a historical theologian with expertise in Franciscan spirituality and the office of the papacy. I came to Neumann in 2006 and have taught the following courses: Theological Foundations, Themes in Christian Scripture, Contemporary Catholicism, Sacramental Theology, Sexual and Medical Ethics, and Francis and the Environment. My publications include Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Pope John Paul II, Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope John Paul II, Advent and Christmas Wisdom from St. Francis of Assisi, Lent and Easter Wisdom from St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, and the article “The Changing Role of Hugolino dei Conti di Segni (Gregory IX): A Hermeneutical Tool for Understanding the Lives of Francis" published in the Italian Journal Miscellanea Francescana (2008). My scholarly interests currently are focused on the relationship between St. Clare and the papacy.