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Michael Palmer, Ph.D.
Professor, General Education757.352.4406

Michael Palmer, Ph.D.


I am a native of western Montana. My hometown is Missoula, which is situated at the hub of five valleys one hundred miles west of the continental divide. I attended the schools in Missoula, and later took degrees (B.A. and M.A.) in philosophy at the University of Montana. In 1980 I was awarded a grant to conduct research for my dissertation at Cornell University. I defended my dissertation at Marquette University (Ph.D., philosophy) in 1984.

My best friend and life-partner is my wife Connie, to whom I have been married for 47 years. We raised two sons, one of whom lives in Missouri and the other of whom died in an automobile accident in 1997. We have reared two grandchildren from infancy to young adulthood. Both still live with us.

I enjoy reading novels, playing chess, visiting historical sites, and travelling to foreign countries.

My wife and I are active in our local church. A professional pianist, Connie plays for three services at two churches every Sunday morning. I teach adult learners in a Sunday morning adult education class.


B.A. in Philosophy, University of Montana, 1976; M.A. in Philosophy, University of Montana, 1977; Visiting Research Fellow, Cornell University, 1980; Ph.D. in Philosophy, Marquette University, 1984


The Holy Spirit and Social Justice: Interdisciplinary Global Perspectives Vol I (Scripture and Theology). Edited by Antipas Harris and Michael D. Palmer. Seymour Press, 2019.
The Holy Spirit and Social Justice: Interdisciplinary Global Perspectives Vol II (History, Race, and Culture). Edited by Antipas Harris and Michael D. Palmer. Seymour Press, 2019.
Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Religion and Social Justice. Edited by Michael D. Palmer and Stanley M. Burgess. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.
Elements of a Christian Worldview. Editor and contributing author. Logion Press, 1998.

“Conversation Partners: Gabriel Marcel and Henry Bugbee,” Marcel Studies Vol, 3, Issue No. 1, 2018, 54-55.
“Ethical Formation: The Theological Virtues” in The Holy Spirit and Christian Formation: The State of Scholarship, edited by Diane Chandler. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2017.
“Shaping Lives, Shaping Culture: The Story of Liberal Arts Education in the Middle Ages,” in What’s So Liberal about the Liberal Arts?, edited by Martin Mittelstadt and Paul Lewis. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2017


Gabriel Marcel Society


Moral Philosophy
Ancient Philosophy
Worldview Formation and Analysis


As a Christian educator, my chief task is to help my students flourish as human beings made in the image of God. Both as a matter of spiritual calling and professional responsibility, I seek to help my students fulfill their potential—what I have elsewhere called “moral and spiritual maturation”—nurturing in them not simply the skills and knowledge base they will need as they pursue their careers, but also certain intellectual, moral, and spiritual habits that come from exploring and embracing a spectrum of practices which nurture faith, hope, and charity.

I place high priority on certain types of thinking and responding. These include (1) helping students learn to choose (deliberately and circumspectly), (2) helping them to think imaginatively and with appreciation for fundamental questions, (3) nurturing in them an historical sensibility, and (4) encouraging them to adopt a reflective posture toward themselves and important life-questions.

These four types of thinking are necessary ingredients in the type of education that can deepen students’ capacity to assume responsibility for their lives. But important as they are, they remain partial. In the final analysis, the educator must also ask, “Toward what ought these types of thinking ultimately aim?” For the Christian, this question will be answered in terms of the larger aims of human life. The Westminster Shorter Catechism poses the ultimate question this way: “What is the chief end of man?” The answer: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” At its finest, Christian education concerns the manifold ways of helping students to understand this question and to live out the meaning of the answer. It is to this task that I have been called and to which I have been professionally dedicated for the past four decades.


E.M. and Estella Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching, Scholarship, and Service
Arthur J. Schmitt Fellowship
Smith Family Traveling Scholarship