Harlan Stelmach, PhD


Professor of Humanities
50 Acacia Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
[email protected]
Dominican Scholar Profile


Harlan Stelmach's graduate work in the field of ethics began at Harvard University where he received his masters degree. He completed his doctoral work at the Graduate Theological Union in 1977 in an interdisciplinary program in ethics and social science. A post-doctoral visiting scholar stay at the Haas School of Business in Berkeley contributed to one of his specialties in business ethics. He was the director of the Center for Ethics and Social Policy in Berkeley for five years. He teaches courses in moral philosophy, social science, religion and Big History.

Dr. Stelmach joined the faculty of Dominican in 1997. He is past president of the Board of the Marin Interfaith Council, co-founder and board member for The Center for the Common Good.

Dr. Stelmach is married to Madelyn, a retired physical therapist. They have two grown children, Amy and Megan, and five grandchildren.  In his limited spare time he enjoys photography, history of regional architecture, garden "sculptures" and sports memorabilia.



  • Visiting Scholar; University of California, Walter Haas School of Business; Berkeley, California (1982-83)
  • Post Doctoral study focused on business ethics and philosophy of systems management. Ph.D.; Graduate Theological Union;  Berkeley, California (1970-77
  • Cooperative program with the University of California, Berkeley in the interdisciplinary field of "Religion and Society" (theology, social theory and social ethics).
  • M.T.S.; Harvard University, The Divinity School; Cambridge, Massachusetts (1967-70, degree awarded in 1971)Focused on interdisciplinary field of "Church and Society" (theology, social theory and social ethics).
  • Certificate; Graduate School of Ecumenical Studies, Ecumenical Institute;
    Bossey, Switzerland (1969-70, concurrent with Harvard)  Joint program with the University of Geneva and the World Council of Churches on the "Future of the Ministry."
  • B.A.; Whittier College, Whittier, California (1963-67)
    Focused on International Affairs and Latin American Studies
    Sophomore year at the University of Copenhagen (special courses in literature, art history and music appreciation)


Research Interests

  • Evolutionary theories in the study of religion
  • Protestant mission history in Latin America
  • The future of the Humanities in professionally-oriented higher education
  • Religion and public life
  • Social ethics and religion


Courses Taught

  • Ethics in Health Care
  • Ethics
  • Philosophy of Human Nature
  • Classics in World Philosophy
  • Native American Philosophy
  • Religion and Social Theory
  • Latin American Religion
  • Humanities Seminar: Great Books
  • Biographical Theology: Christianity, Judaism and Islam (graduate)
  • Religion and Public Life  (graduate)
  • Evolutionary Theories in the Study of Religion (graduate)
  • Senior Project Workshops I and II
  • BA Senior Project Reader and MA Culminating Thesis Reader
  • Neuroscience and Ethics
  • Ethics in Leadership


Writings, Presentations, and Research Projects

  • “Niebuhr’s Immoral Society and Bellah’s Good Society: A Conversation about Moral Man,” presented to the Niebuhr Society, American Academy of Religion, San Diego California on November 17, 2007. Click here for a pdf of the presentation.
  • "God's People in Civil Society: Ecclesiological Implications," a consultation report summary of WCC and Loccum Academy consultation on "Theology and Civil Society," (Loccum,  Germany, 1996).
  • Stelmach, Harlan, et. al. (ed), Living in Spaces with Open Doors: A Consultation Report, (World Council of Churches, 1995).
  • Stelmach, Harlan and Leslie Salmon, "Visioning Through Graphic Recording  for City Governments," presentation at the annual meeting of the California Healthy Cities Project, February 1995.
  • "Creation and the Common Good, A North American Perspective on Civil Culture," a paper based on the presentation at the Mark Gibbs Lecture in England at the annual meeting of the British Association of Lay Centers and Academies, 1994.
  • "Implications for an Earth Charter," a paper for consultation on Sustainable Development in San Jose Costa Rica, Co-sponsored by the Arias Foundation, United Nations Peace University, German Protestant Academies and Vesper Society, September 1994.
  • "Hans May, ‘Mr. Academy’: A Celebration of a Friend and  Colleague and His Impact on an ‘Academy Movement’ in the United States of America," in Protestanische Zeitgenossenschaft: Festschrift zu Ehren Hans May (Loccumer Protolkolle, 35/94, Germany: August 1994).
  • "Laity and Ethics of the Common Good," in The Ecumenical Review, Vol. 45, Number 4, October 1993.
  • Stelmach, Harlan and Martin Paley, "The Ethics of Value-Based Organizational Consulting," presentation at the Graduate Theological Union, June 1993.
  • "The Post Laity Movement," in Laity Exchange,Winter/Spring 1992.
  • Stelmach, Harlan and Mark Holman, "Fundraising and Ethics," Chapter in Ethics and Higher Education (MacMillan: 1990) by Bill May, ed.
  • "Ethics and Competition in Sports," TV panel on channel 5 with U.C. Berkeley basketball coach, Lou Campanelli and Forty Niner football linebacker, Keena Turner (August, 1988).
  • The Cult of Liberation: The Berkeley Free Church and the Radical Church Movement 1967-1972 (Graduate Theological Union doctoral dissertation, 1977).
  • Stelmach, Harlan, et. al., "Why a New Journal," Radical Religion (Fall 1974) Vol. I, No. 1.
  • "The Church and Revolution, by Francois Houtart and Andre Rousseau," Book review in NACLA's Latin America and Empire Report (March 1972) Vol. VI, No. 3.