Serving as AIC’s President as well as Acting Provost, Dr. Timothy J. Gianotti is a 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. His interfaith work was recognized by the Canadian Senate in 2017, when he was awarded the Senate’s 150th Anniversary Medal at a ceremony in the Senate Chambers in Ottawa.
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 Tantur Ecumenical Institute in the West Bank and 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 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.
Dr.Gianotti 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 2020 and became President in August of that same year.