Dr. Matthew Wilson

Director of the Center for Faith and Learning and Associate Professor of Political Science

Matthew Wilson is a senior fellow of the John Tower Center for Public Policy and International Affairs and of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies.  He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Louisiana State University in political science and history, and holds a Ph.D. in political science from Duke University.  His research focuses on public opinion, elections, representation, and the role of race and religion in politics, both in the United States and abroad.  He is the author, co-author, or editor of three books, including Understanding American Politics and Politics and Religion in the United States, and dozens of articles and essays.  His teaching has been honored with awards from the SMU Department of Residence Life and the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, and in 2017 he received SMU’s President’s Associates Outstanding Faculty Award.  He routinely serves as a commentator on political affairs for local, national, and international media outlets.

Dr. Wilson’s wife, Carole, works as a researcher and statistician for the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University and his son, Michael, is a student at SMU.  Dr. Wilson is an active parishioner at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Richardson, where he is a Knight of Columbus.


Board Members


Dr. Jill Allor is a University Distinguished Professor and former chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at SMU. A former special education teacher, her research is school-based and focuses on literacy acquisition for students with and without disabilities. She is an active member at the First Baptist Church of Plano.

Maria Dixon-Hall is SMU’s Chief Diversity Officer, as well as associate professor of Corporate Communication and Public Affairs in the Meadows School of the Arts.  Her teaching and research focus on the intersection of power, identity, and culture in corporate, non-profit, and religious organizations.  She is also a Deacon in the United Methodist Church.

Richard Heyduck is an Elder in the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, currently appointed as pastor at FUMC in Fairfield, Texas. He has a PhD in theology and is the author of The Recovery of Doctrine in the Contemporary Church.

Barbara Kincaid has recently retired after thirty years as a SMU-COX Senior Lecturer in Business Law.  Although she continues to teach Cox students at SMU-in-Taos during interterms, her new focus is on church, family, travel, yoga, and countless first-time experiences.

Dr. James K. Lee is associate professor of the history of early Christianity in the Perkins School of Theology at SMU.  His research and teachings interests include the early church fathers, Biblical interpretation, and Christian mysticism.  Professor Lee's wife, Anna, is a registered nurse, and they have two daughters.

Jack Levison, who for two years led Faith and Learning cohorts, holds the W. J. A. Power Chair of Old Testament Interpretation and Biblical Hebrew at Perkins School of Theology, SMU. He lives in SMU’s Boaz Commons, where he is faculty-in-residence with his wife, Priscilla Pope-Levison, a United Methodist minister and Research Professor of Practical Theology at Perkins.

Peter Moore is the Associate Provost for Curricular Innovation and Policy at SMU and a Professor of Mathematics.  He attends New St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church in Dallas.

John Rain spent almost 40 years working as a business lawyer at a large Dallas law firm.  He is now happily employed part-time as an assistant baby sitter for his grandkids.  John also serves on the governing boards of Highland Park Presbyterian Church, the Langham Partnership USA, and Abraham’s Bridge.

Annette Vaughn is an alumnus of Dallas Theological Seminary, an elder at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, and a past board member of SMU Perkins School of Theology. She is a founding board member of the Center for Faith and Learning.