Faculty Profile – Dr. Jim Coleman


Associate Professor and Program Chair, Religion Chair, Faculty Council

Arrived at KWC in 2014 and teaches a range of religion and Christian ministries courses

Ph.D., Wesley Studies, University of Manchester, England
M.Div., Pastoral Ministry, Asbury Theological Seminary
M.A., Speech Communication, Missouri State University
B.S., Religious Communication, Missouri State University

“KWC is the most student-focused institution I’ve ever encountered – that’s one of our many tremendous strengths. Our faculty, staff and administration sincerely want students to establish a trajectory of success in life that reaches well beyond Commencement. This is not a commercial sound bite – it is rooted in our values as a Christian college.”   

“My spouse, Tami, is an ordained United Methodist clergy and has pastored four congregations in Georgia and Kentucky, as well as serving on staff at district and conference levels in the Kentucky Conference of the United Methodist Church. She now pastors the Hanson UMC near Madisonville. Our oldest son, Josiah, just graduated summa cum laude from Kentucky Wesleyan and will pursue graduate studies in literature. Jonathan, our middle son, is a sophomore at Western Kentucky University and studied abroad in Europe last spring. Our youngest son, Jacob, is a freshman at Owensboro High School and a cross country runner. Our dog, Peaches, is a Brittany Spaniel and in charge of home security.”

“My career has always been one foot in the church and one foot in the academy, a symbiotic model that existed for most of church history until the past three centuries or so. Of course, I did not chart out this path. It’s a journey that has found me. My first academic field, speech communication, involved teaching public speaking, family communication, business communication and similar courses. During my seminary studies, I continued to teach, so I would instruct college classes on one side of the street, then (literally) run across the street to sit down as a student. Most of the years I have pastored, I simultaneously taught on the college level – either both as part-time, one full-time and one part-time, or both as full-time. So, you can imagine how fulfilling it is for me to teach students about world religions in general and, in higher level Christian ministry courses, for me to walk alongside those pursuing a call into ministry.”

Rewards and challenges of teaching:
“Teaching is deeply formative – it is about growing in knowledge and wisdom and skillfully sharing both of those with students, so they will also experience life-shaping knowledge and wisdom. With all of the fully adult responsibilities college students have today, the challenge of teaching is to inspire them to love learning rather than to just earn a degree. The reward of teaching is watching students embrace lifelong learning, which equips them for every opportunity around the bend and, more importantly, sculpts their character for the people their lives will touch.” 

Do you go by Reverend?
“Ha. People call me many things – Rev. Dr., Rev., Dr., Pastor, Professor . . . and I’m not big on titles. Most students and faculty call me by the academic “Dr.”

Where did you grow up?
“I grew up 50 miles south of Kansas City, Mo., in a rural farm community, near where President Harry Truman was raised.”

How did you and Tami meet, and how long have you been married?
“Tami and I met in graduate school at Asbury Theological Seminary. The wiring in our first married apartment was so old that we couldn’t run the microwave and window unit air conditioner at the same time – oddly enough, good memories.  This June, we celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. We’re already talking about how to celebrate the milestone 25th.

Hobbies and leisure activities
“Most of my leisure time is with the family. We’ve enjoyed watching our boys play sports through the years – baseball, soccer, swimming, cross country. I walk a few 5k’s a week and keep up with some podcasts.”

What books have influenced you and why?
“The Bible” – transformative
“Mere Christianity” (C.S. Lewis) – faith embraces logic
“A Tale of Two Cities” – hope and redemption
“A Separate Peace” – reconciliation

Describe a typical Saturday.
My Saturdays are seasonal. In the fall, college football game time will decide the flow of the day. Winter? Take the Christmas wreaths down, light a candle in the living room and read three more chapters of a great novel.  In spring and summer, it’s probably time to mow the lawn and talk across the fence with my neighbors.” 

Tell us about a fun memory of your time at KWC.
“Some of my best memories are of with students in service projects.  A couple of years ago, my freshman orientation class had a demo day at a former elementary school – it’s fun tearing cabinets off walls with college students.”

Who has influenced your life and career?
Like most people, I would have to list many people who entered my life at different times and particularly influenced that leg of my journey. There are the constants – the sacrificial support of my parents, spouse and children – but the wise words of others along the way come to mind. I was inspired by the advice of my college advisor, Dr. James Moyer: “Become an expert in something you love.”  A seminary professor, Dr. Stephen Seamands, gave this wisdom: “Don’t minister to others out of your emptiness, but from your overflow.”  Many saints in the church have poured refreshing faith and love into me. Men and women who have been sent into my life at just the right time form the ranks of those who’ve influenced my direction.”