Dr. Willard is on leave from OU for the 2017-18 year.
Dr. Willard is an assistant professor of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and is affiliated faculty with Judaic Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. She has also taught at Harvard University and Tufts University. In her research, Dr. Willard focuses on the intersection of religion, ethics, and politics in the twentieth century. Her first book examines Hannah Arendt's theories of totalitarianism and politics as action as secular outgrowths of German debates about religion. Her second project, on the so-called "Crisis in the Church" addresses the Boston clergy sex abuse scandal and its aftermath. This book considers how the lay demand for ecclesial reform was conditioned by Vatican II mandates for the laity to participate in realization of justice in the world, which then acted back upon the institutional church. Dr. Willard serves on the Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion of the American Academy of Religion. She and has publishedin the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, the on-line journal Religion & Politics, and the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. She has contributed to several ongoing project including the "Berkley Forum" (Georgetown), "Contending Modernities" (Notre Dame),and "Religion and Its Publics" (University of Virginia). She received her BA with distinction from Swarthmore College, and holds an MDiv and PhD in the Study of Religion from Harvard University.