Our Team


Karl Shuve, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies

Karl Shuve teaches and does research on the history of Christianity in the pre-modern world and on the relationship between religion and gender. He is a Canadian by birth, and he earned degrees in Comparative Literature and Religious Studies at McMaster University in Canada and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In his writing, he attempts to unearth the roles that women occupied and fought for in patriarchal societies and religious institutions. He published his first book, The Song of Songs and the Fashioning of Identity in Early Latin Christianity, with Oxford University Press in 2016, and is finishing his second book, Brides of Christ: The Making of a Metaphor in Late Antiquity. He has a third project underway on the medieval visionary Hildegard of Bingen.

Since arriving at UVA in 2011, Professor Shuve has taught in undergraduate programs across the College. In addition to developing his large lecture course, “The Rise of Christianity,” which he teaches yearly for the Religious Studies department, he has taught a popular COLA class on the NBC sitcom The Good Place, a Pavilion Seminar on apocalypses, an Engaging Differences seminar called “Unnatural,” and an intensive summer session course on religious violence from the Crusades to the alt-right terrorism in Charlottesville. Across these classes, he fosters student engagement by incorporating diverse kinds of media, creative writing exercises, and small group work, and he encourages students to think critically about the underlying social forces that perpetuate inequality and violence in our communities. He also spent five years as undergraduate director for Religious Studies and ten years as a faculty fellow at Hereford Residential College.

His favorite part of being a professor at UVA is engaging with students outside of the classroom, which is what drew him to the Echols Scholars Program. As Director, he partners with the Echols Council and with the Assistant Director to shape an inclusive and intellectually vibrant community for all Echols Scholars. He is always available to talk with current and prospective Echols Scholars, and he loves to hear from alumni of the program. 

Association Dean and Assistant Director

Sarah Cole, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Sarah Cole joined the Echols Scholars Program in 2013, after teaching in the History and Literature program at Harvard University and serving in several advising roles at Harvard College. She received her B.A. summa cum laude from Bryn Mawr College and received her PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. At U.Va., she teaches in the English Department and the COLA (College Advising Seminar) program, while serving as Association Dean for the Echols Scholars and as Assistant Director of the Echols Scholars program.

Dr. Cole’s academic interests include nineteenth-century British fiction and poetry, gender studies, and concepts of national and ethnic identity in Modern Europe. Her research focuses on the literary genre of the Bildungsroman (or novel of education), exploring how stories of youthful development relate to historical changes in British gender and class relations. Her work has appeared in journals such as Victorian Poetry and Nineteenth Century Literature, and she has frequently presented at conferences including the Modern Language Association and the North American Victorian Studies Association. She teaches a variety of interdisciplinary seminar courses that aim to connect classic works of literature with questions that are relevant to today’s society. One recent course, “Migrant Europe,” explores the experiences of immigrants and ethnic minorities in modern Europe, using examples ranging from nineteenth-century fiction to contemporary films and newspaper articles. Her teaching has received several awards, including the Harvard University Certificate of Excellence in Teaching.

As an Association Dean at the College of Arts & Sciences, she provides academic advising and support for the Echols Scholars. She is available to discuss issues such as course choices and career goals, and she hopes to serve as a resource for any students experiencing challenges that affect their academic work. She also serves as Assistant Director of the Echols Scholars program, collaborating with the Director and members of the Echols student community to plan academic initiatives that enhance the Echols experience.