Serving as AIC’s new President as well as a member of the academic faculty, Dr. Timothy J. Gianotti is an accomplished scholar of classical Islamic theology, philosophy, and spirituality with strong interests in Islamic Psychology, Moral Theology, Ethics, Political Thought, comparative religion and spirituality, and interfaith relations; more specifically, he is a scholar of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (d.1111), one of the most important religious thinkers of the classical period. Dr. Gianotti is also recognized as a Muslim theologian, pastoral leader, and committed interfaith advocate with extensive experience promoting interfaith engagement around the globe.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, with a BA from the University of Notre Dame (Great Books, Classics), Dr. Gianotti received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto (Islamic Philosophy & Theology), with periods of study in the Middle East, including at the University of Jordan’s College of Islamic Studies in Amman. His more than twenty years of university-level teaching experience in the US and Canada include serving as an associate professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, the York-Noor Chair of Islamic Studies at York University (also in Canada), and assistant professor of Arabic & Islamic Thought at the University of Virginia, the University of Oregon, and Penn State University. Beyond the academy, he is also the founder and principal teacher of the Islamic Institute for Spiritual Formation in Toronto and served as one of two religious advisors for Muhammad Ali as the Champ carefully planned his final statement to the world in the form of his funeral.
AIC’s new president is the author of Al-Ghazali’s Unspeakable Doctrine of the Soul (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2001) and In the Light of a Blessed Tree: Illuminations of Islamic Belief, Practice, and History (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2011), in addition to a range of scholarly articles, book chapters, and theological essays considering contemporary issues as well as traditional topics, such as the inner (psycho-spiritual) processes of moral beautification (iḥsān) and character formation within an Islamic framework.
Dr. Gianotti has been closely connected with AIC since 2013, when he served as the inaugural Director of Islamic Studies and as an Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies. During that time, he helped redesign and revitalize AIC’s undergraduate and graduate curricula in addition to teaching a range of graduate and undergraduate courses for the College’s degree programs. During this period (2013-2015), he also designed AIC’s Master of Divinity in Islamic Studies and was active in AIC’s institutional and interfaith outreach. Most recently, Dr. Gianotti rejoined the College as the Vice President for Academic Affairs in January of this year.
“I am deeply grateful to my predecessor, Daoud Casewit, for his faithful stewardship, and to AIC’s Board of Trustees for entrusting me with this responsibility as the College begins to spread its wings, diversify its curriculum, and realize the dream of becoming a full-fledged, fully accredited University that will serve as a cornerstone for the American Muslim community for generations,” Gianotti said. “Beyond that, our vision embraces people of all backgrounds, faiths, and walks of life, and so I envision AIC to be an intellectual hub for all those seeking transformative education, intellectual rigor, critical yet respectful engagement, and a more global perspective.”