Professor of religion and director of both the international studies minor and the humanities minor at Winthrop University, Dr. Kristin Kiblinger is a Charlotte native with a passion for academic study.
Kiblinger attended Sweanee: The University of the South, where she double majored in English and religion. While at Sweanee, she also received her teacher certification.
“In college, I took a few classes in religion and loved it, but I knew it was a difficult field to get a teaching job in so in college I also got a high school teaching certification in English,” said Kiblinger. “My back up plan was to be a high school English teacher if teaching religion didn’t work out.”
Kiblinger would earn her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Chicago. Her background is in the philosophy of religion, but she specializes in Indian Buddhist thought.
Most of her research has focused on more contemporary theology on how religions respond to other conflicting religions.
Kiblinger lived in Thailand for a few years where she taught English as a second language. While in Thailand, she learned a lot about the language and the beliefs of those living in the country.
“I was the only foreigner in a small town on the border of Myanmar, and while I wasn’t studying Buddhism academically, just living there I feel like I picked up a lot about their culture,” said Kiblinger.
“It’s interesting how being in a foreign culture you learn about that culture, but you see your own in a different light.”
While she enjoys teaching all of her classes, she spoke mostly about her World Religions class and the introductory religion course. She wants students to open their eyes and see the issues in religions different from their own.
In her classes, Kiblinger really wants students to experience and observe religious ceremonies and services.
“Some students say it brings to life the course material, or describe the field visits as a mini-study abroad program.”
When she isn’t busy, Dr. Kiblinger enjoys spending time taking her daughter to her horseback riding lessons and spending time around the barn. She also enjoys staying fit and traveling.
Kiblinger sees that more students are working full-time jobs and older students who are coming back to school have other priorities outside of attending Winthrop, and knows how difficult that can be.
“It’s better to go to school under those conditions than not at all, but I think it’s really hard for them to dive into their studies as much as I would like them to be able to.”
Kiblinger really want students to take religion courses and open their minds up to new and different ideas. She also wants students to look into the international studies program.
“It’s a very flexible program with many different class options. There are almost 150 classes in over 20 departments across the university that are eligible,” said Kiblinger.