Alyce McKenzie, professor of homiletics in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, will be named to the seminary’s George W. and Nell Ayers LeVan Endowed Chair of Preaching and Worship. The appointment becomes effective in June 2011, following the retirement of the current LeVan Chair, Marjorie Procter-Smith.
I”The appointment of a faculty member at SMU to an endowed chair signals that the individual has attained the highest levels of accomplishment in scholarship and teaching. Alyce McKenzie is a tremendously accomplished scholar with a vast array of publications in Biblical studies and in preaching, and she is remarkably respected for her teaching within and beyond the University,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden in announcing the appointment.
“Alyce combines in her career both professional experience as a pastor in the church and academic accomplishments as a scholar. She is among the leading Biblical interpreters of wisdom literature. And she is one of the most widely sought preachers at conferences of persons in ministry,” added Perkins Dean William Lawrence.
McKenzie, an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church, joined the SMU faculty in 1999 after teaching at Princeton Theological Seminary. She was also the pastor of United Methodist churches in eastern and central Pennsylvania. Currently, she is a clergy member in the North Texas Annual Conference and serves on its Board of Ordained Ministry.
As a scholar, she is one of the nation’s most widely recognized authorities on the wisdom tradition in the Bible, particularly as expressed in preaching. Her current research involves the creative process of preparing and delivering sermons. Her newest book, Novel Preaching: Tips From Top Writers on Crafting Creative Sermons, examines the generative work that moves from images, ideas and texts toward the proclaimed message.
McKenzie earned her Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary after receiving a Bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Divinity from Duke University Divinity School. She has been a leader in both academic and ecclesiastical circles regarding preaching. Her contributions have included conferences focused on the professional development of ministers, publications addressing scholarly issues in the guild of homileticians, and programs of theological education for laity.
In 2001, McKenzie was selected as a Lilly Faculty Fellow by the Association of Theological Schools and received a grant through the Lilly Endowment Inc. In 2010, she began writing a blog on lectionary preaching that attracts more than 2,000 readers each week. In 2012, she will be president of the Academy of Homiletics.