Faculty and Instructors

Director:  Alan Epstein     epstein@oakland.edu


Sub-program Directors:

Christianity Studies:    Charles Mabee  cmabee@oakland.edu

Islamic Studies:           Malik Balla  balla@oakland.edu

Judaic Studies:            Michael Pytlik  pytlik@oakland.edu


Judaic Studies      Islamic Studies      Christianity Studies      Religious Studies

Ian Greenspan       Malik Balla               Randall Engle                  Joshua Fleer

Joseph Klein                                           Tristin Hassell

Jason Miller                                            John Kinkel

Mike Pytlik                                              Charles Mabee


Judaic Studies

Ian Greenspan is a special lecturer for the Department of History.  He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California-Berkeley.  His major fields were Early Modern and Modern Europe, Religious and Ethnic Conflict and Violence, Antisemitism, and Propaganda.  He teaches The Jewish Experience in American Life and The Holocust  Contact: greenspa@oakland.edu


Rabbi Klein

Joseph Klein is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Emanu-El (Oak Park MI). In addition to teaching at OU he is Adjunct Professor at Marygrove College and Rochester College, and teaches in the Jewish Federation's FedEd Adult Education program.


Jason Miller holds a master's degree in education from the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary where he also earned rabbinical ordination. He has taught in the Religious Studies department at Michigan State University. Miller also teaches a seminar in the OU/Beaumont School of Medicine.  Together with Rabbi Neil Gillman he edited "Torah From Terror: Rabbinic Sermons After 9/11."


Mike Pytlik, Director of Judaic Studies, teaches The Archaeology of Israel, God Through Jewish History, Written Tradition of Judaism, Intro. to Judaism, and Monotheistic Mysticism.  He is a frequent traveler to Israel, and has participated in several excavations in Israel.  Since 2009 he has organized and leads a group of OU students to Israel for a tour and excavation field school.  Students interested in this program should consider the Archaeology of Israel courses and contact Mike by early January if they wish to go on the trip.  He is interested in the formation of the Israelite state, the development of the synagogue, Jewish Theology, Hebrew and the archaeology of Israel.  He is very active in the Jewish community, is involved in Christian and Muslim Jewish dialogue groups.  Mike is also the current faculty adviser for the Jewish Student Organization on campus.  Contact:  pytlik@oakland.edu  Mike holds a Doctor of Science in Jewish Studies from Spertus College, as well as a masters in Jewish Studies and a bachelor's degree in History.


Islamic Studies

Malik Balla is director of Islamic Studies and Adjunct Associate Professor of Arabic with the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures.  He holds a Ph.D. in Education from Michigan State University.  His main research interests are language pedagogy, Sudanese higher education, subjects related to Sudan, African and political issues and human rights.  Contact: balla@oakland.edu.  Contact:  balla@oakland.edu


Christianity Studies


Randall Engle 

Randall D. Engle holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wales as well as a Master of Theology, Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and a Master of Divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He is currently Adjunct Professor At Detroit Ecumenical Theological Seminary and Senior Pastor at North Hills Christian Reformed Church in Troy, Michigan.  His Bachelor of Arts from Calvin College was in Music where he received the Anna Brunsma Award in Music and the Senior Research award.  He is past Trustee on the Calvin College Board of Trustees and past President of the Choristers Guild national Board of Directors.  Contact: engle@oakland.edu.



Tristin Hassell holds a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in Christian Ethics and Philosophical Theology.  His research interests include the politics of love, post-secular philosophy, social/political philosophy and theology, environmental philosophy and theology, bioethics and biotechnology, and queer theology.  He can be reached at hassell@oakland.edu.  Courses:  Introduction to Religion, World Religious Traditions, Introduction to Christianity, Christian Ethics, and History of Christian Thought.


John Kinkel holds an M.A. from Marquette University and Ph.D. from Ohio State University in sociology.  He has recently published Letters to Pope Benedict: College Students Speak Out which he edited in addition to two previously published books:  Chaos in the Catholic Church (2005), and Cinderella Church:  A Study of Early Christianity (2008).  He is active in the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit and is currently preparing an additional book manuscript: The Decoding of Jesus: Who Was Jesus?  He can be reached at kinkel@oakland.edu. Courses: Early Christianity, Jesus and the Biblical Tradition.


Charles MabeeCharles Mabee is director of Christianity studies program at Oakland University.  He holds a Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate School (Claremont, CA) and the Master of Divinity from Dubuque Theological Seminary. Previously, he held teaching and administrative positions at Radford University  and Marshall University. He has authored two books on biblical interpretation in the American context.  His current research interests include theology of peace/post-apocalyptic theology, and the development of a new interreligious grammar.  He can be reached at cmabee@oakland.edu or 248-370-2154.  Courses:  Introduction to Religion, World Religious Traditions, Religion in the Modern World, Religion in America, and Religion and Science.


Religious Studies

Joshua Fleer

Joshua Fleer is Special Lecturer of Religious Studies at OU. He is a PhD candidate in Religion at Florida State University. His research focuses on North American religious history and includes American communal societies, religion and masculinity, religious embodiment, and religion and sport. He is Associate Editor of Communal Societies: Journal of the Communal Studies Association, and he serves as chair for the Religions in America Section of the Southeast Commission for the Study of Religion. He can be reached at jfleer@oakland.edu. Courses: Intruduction to the Study of Religion, American Religious Experience, Sport and Religion, Islam in America, World Religious Traditions.