About the Director and Speakers
Dr. David Burns
David J. Burns, D.B.A. (1987, Kent State University) is Professor of Marketing Xavier University. For the previous three years, he also served as Director of Faculty Programs in the Division of Mission and Identity and presently serves as a board member of the Christian Business Faculty Association. Next year, David will begin his thirtieth year of full-time teaching and his eleventh year at Xavier University. He has co-authored several books, published over 95 journal articles and book chapters, and has presented over 200 papers. His research interests include mission/faith integration, retail location and atmospherics, ethics, and consumer culture. In addition to papers addressing mainstream marketing research topics, recent attention has been placed on papers addressing important, though overlooked, theological, philosophical, and social concerns. Although David’s primary teaching area is retailing and related areas, he has offered several unique courses over the past few years, including a three course sequence in Nonprofit Marketing, and classes in Marketing and the Consumer Culture, and Neuromarketing. He has been focusing on furthering mission integration in classes and research at his campus, including overseeing a year-long mentoring program for new faculty members and developing the Mission Academy for established faculty members. David attends Hope Evangelical Free Church in Mason, Ohio.
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Dr. David J. Burns
Dr. Gillian Ahlgren
Dr. Gillian Ahlgren (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is a Professor of Theology at Xavier University. Dr. Ahlgren specializes in church history, the Christian mystical tradition, and how the theological and spiritual resources of the Christian tradition can shed light on our contemporary circumstances. She is also an internationally-recognized scholar of the Christian mystical tradition and an experienced spiritual director.
Dr. Ahlgren has taught undergraduate and graduate students for 22 years, in addition to adult learners of all types both inside and outside the classroom. She regularly gives lectures and retreats locally and nationally.
Dr. Ahlgren is committed to community involvement in various ways, including serving on the Board of Directors of the Transfiguration Spirituality Center (Cincinnati, Ohio) as Chair of the Programming Committee, and working on the Cincinnati team of the Ignatian Spirituality Project, a national non-profit providing retreats and other forms of spiritual support for homeless women and men in recovery from substance abuse.
Dr. Vincent Miller
Vincent J. Miller, Ph.D. came to the University of Dayton from Georgetown University where he was an associate professor of theology. He served as a distinguished visiting professor at U.D. in spring 2008. He is author of Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture (New York: Continuum, 2003) and is currently working on a book about how globalization is affecting religious belief and communities. He was appointed as the first Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture in 2009.
Regarding his book, Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture, contemporary theology, argues Dr. Miller, is silent on what is unquestionably one of the most important cultural issues it faces: consumerism or “consumer culture.” While there is no shortage of expressions of concern about the corrosive effects of consumerism from the standpoint of economic justice or environmental ethics, there is a surprising paucity of theoretically sophisticated works on the topic, for consumerism, argues Dr. Miller, is not just about behavioral “excesses,” rather, it is a pervasive worldview that affects our construction as persons – what motivates us, how we relate to others, to culture, and to religion. Consuming Religion surveys almost a century of scholarly literature on consumerism and the commodification of culture and charts the ways in which religious belief and practice have been transformed by the dominant consumer culture of the West. It demonstrates the significance of this seismic cultural shift for theological method, doctrine, belief, community, and theological anthropology. Like more popular texts, the book takes a critical stand against the deleterious effects of consumerism. However, its analytical complexity provides the basis for developing more sophisticated tactics for addressing these problems.
Dr. Homer Warren
Homer B. Warren (D.B.A., Kent State University with a major concentration in urban economics and minor in marketing) is Professor Emeritus of Marketing at Youngstown State University. Over his 30 years in the marketing department he has taught many undergraduate and graduate marketing courses, concentrating mostly on consumer behavior, strategic marketing management, and social responsibility. Dr. Warren is a thought leader in effectively building students’ critical thinking skills and developing students’ capabilities to holistically and comprehensively approach and analyze situations. His recent research publications concern creative thinking methodologies in teaching marketing courses, (dis)empowerment issues relative to consumerism, and retail store atmospherics. He is currently undertaking research concerning consumer and producer consciousness.