African Studies Program Faculty

Creighton is fortunate to have a wide range of distinguished Africanist scholars and affiliate faculty members who regularly engage Africa and her peoples. Faculty engagement is only broadening through growing relationships with the Global Livingston Institute (Uganda) and Hekima Jesuit University College and Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations (Kenya). Creighton faculty also teach in the Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) program which offers online higher education courses in refugee camps around the world, including Kakuma Refugee camp in northwestern Kenya.

Research Faculty

Jill Brown, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

Dr. Brown studies child fosterage in Africa, specifically looking at the impact of socially distributed child care on HIV/AIDS orphans. She is interested in these practices among African immigrants. She also studies parental ethno-theories, or what mother’s hope for their children, cross culturally. She teaches courses on Multicultural Issues; Infant & Child Development; Adolescent & Adult Development; Research Methods & Statistics; Introductory Psychology.

Department of Psychology, Hixson-Lied 322

Jay Carney, Assistant Professor, Department of Theology & Director of African Studies

Dr. Carney's research focuses on the historical and theological dimensions of modern African Catholicism. His first book, Rwanda Before the Genocide: Catholic Politics and Ethnic Discourse in the Late Colonial Era (Oxford University Press, 2014) analyzes the controversial roles played by Catholic leaders in the historical periods preceding the 1994 genocide. In addition to Rwanda, Dr. Carney has conducted recent projects on the Catholic Church in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His specific research interests include the theology of reconciliation, political theology, postcolonial church-state relations, and African ecclesiology. At Creighton he teaches African Studies courses on African Christianity and the Rwanda Genocide and collaborates with Dr. Brown on a summer immersion course in Tanzania.

Department of Theology, Dowling Humanities 136

Ngwarsungu Chiwengo, Professor, Department of English

Dr. Chiwengo is a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo whose research specializes in African Literature. She teaches courses at Creighton in World Literature and African Literature. She is the faculty moderator of the African Students Association (AFSA) and the faculty coordinator of Creighton’s Black Studies Program

Department of English, Creighton Hall 130

Alexander Rödlach, Associate Professor, Department of Cultural and Social Studies

Dr. Rödlach was born in Innsbruck, Austria. Having completed studies in philosophy and theology, he received the Baccalaureatus Theologiae from the Pontificia Università Urbaniana in Italy and the Magister der Theologie from the Theologische Hochschule St. Gabriel in Austria. Afterwards, he did graduate studies in Anthropology, first at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and then at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Before coming to Creighton University he worked at the Anthropos Institute in Germany and in the editorial department of Anthropos. His current research explores the impact of services, events, and activities provided by Faith Community Nurses on the health and wellbeing of their clients. Further, his research focuses on how cultural explanations of illness as well as social factors influence access to healthcare services. Together with colleagues at Creighton University and community partners in Omaha, he works on a research project that studies the health and other needs of diverse refugee populations living in Omaha. At Creighton, Dr. Rödlach teaches medical anthropology, public and global health, and Africa-related courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. Visit his homepage, and read his Curriculum Vitae.

Department of Cultural and Social Studies, 441A Creighton Hall

Ogechukwu Ezekwem Williams, Assistant Professor, Department of History

Dr. Williams' research focuses on medical pluralism and the intersections between culture, religion, and childbirth in Nigeria during the twentieth century. Her teaching and research interests include the history of medicine in Africa and the African diaspora, early and modern Africa, Africa and the world, women's history, indigenous health systems, medicine and social justice, and wartime medicine.

Department of History, Dowling Hall, Humanities Rm. 232

James S. Wunsch, John P. Schlegel, SJ Distinguished Professor of Government and Politics, Department of Political Science

The founding director of Creighton’s African Studies Program, Dr. Wunsch teaches courses at Creighton on African politics. Dr. Wunsch has published scholarly articles on Third World development, African government, ethnic conflict, and public administration, his areas of primary research interest. He is co-author of a book on African government, entitled The Failure of the Centralized State, as well as a second, Local Governance in Africa: The Challenges of Democratic Decentralization. He has also co-authored a third book, African Decentralization: The Paradox of State Strength. In addition, Dr. Wunsch has lectured and traveled in South Africa under the auspices of the U.S. Information Agency. He spent 1971-1972 as a Fulbright scholar in Ghana, West Africa, where he was affiliated with the University of Ghana. Dr. Wunsch has consulted across Africa for the US Agency for International Development, the World Health Organization and the African Development Bank.

Creighton Hall 428

Affiliate Faculty

Martha Habash, Associate Professor, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies

In addition to her primary research in Classics, Dr. Habash teaches in the Jesuit Worldwide Learning (JWL) program and serves as the primary liaison between Creighton University and the JWL. JWL consists of a consortium of Jesuit universities that provide education to some of the 60 million people living as refugees around the world. The Jesuits have set up educational centers in refugee camps in Kenya, Malawi, Afghanistan, Jordan, and Myanmar and will soon start programs in Chad and the Philippines. Refugees are able to obtain on-site academic certificates in community service learning tracks such as English as a Second Language and Psychosocial Case Management. In addition, some of these students are able to obtain a Diploma in Liberal Studies from Regis University (Denver, CO) via online classes taught by volunteers from 28 Jesuit universities across America. These students concentrate in either Business or Education with the goal of giving back to their communities after graduation.

Tirimba Obonyo, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Finance, Heider College of Business

Engagement, in fact, is important to Obonyo. Next to expertise, it is the most important quality of a successful professor. “I believe students learn best when they are actively involved in the learning process,” says Obonyo, who spends a healthy amount of class time working through problems with his students rather than just showing his class how to do them.


John O’Keefe, Professor, Department of Theology

John J. O'Keefe, Ph.D. is a Professor of Theology and the holder of the A.F. Jacobson Chair in Communication at Creighton University. His academic research focuses on early Christian theologies of nature and the Christian theological contribution to the environmental movement.

O’Keefe is involved in documentary film-making projects that explore the mission of the Church in the developing world, especially central and eastern Africa. Three of his film projects were set in Uganda and one was set in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

O’Keefe received his MTS from Weston Jesuit School of Theology in 1987, and his MA and Ph.D. in Early Christian Studies from The Catholic University of America in 1990 and 1993. He joined the faculty of Creighton University in 1992. O’Keefe is married and has four grown children.

Hitchcock 304B

M. Ross Romero, S.J., Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy

Fr. Romero's research has focused on the question of sacrifice in both Continental Philosophy and in Ancient Philosophy. He is currently at work on a book about the death of Socrates. He is also interested in exploring the influence of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius on the philosophy of contemporary Jesuits.Fr. Romero spent six months in Ghana and Nigeria as part of his Jesuit training. He is interested in African Philosophy.

Humanities 119

Carol Zuegner, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, Media and Computing

Carol Zuegner is an associate professor in the Department of Journalism, Media and Computing. She has an extensive professional background as writer and editor for The Associated Press. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Creighton, master’s as a Kiplinger Fellow at The Ohio State University and doctorate in communications at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She is one of the team of three faculty leaders for the Backpack Journalism project, a collaboration between the departments of Theology and Department of Journalism, Media and Computing. In the project, a team of students and faculty produce a mini-documentary focused on people at the margins. Two of the projects, “Mato Oput” and “Wer Uganda,” took place in Africa. Other films were produced in rural Alaska and the Dominican Republic. All of the films have been accepted at film festivals and have won awards. Her most recent research focuses on how journalists use social media. She also studies freedom of the press and the impact of human rights around the world, particularly in Africa, and the role social media plays in building community.