Dr. Reiff is an ordained United Methodist minister with membership in the Mississippi Annual Conference and served as a pastor of churches in Mississippi and Georgia from 1977-1985. His Ph.D. dissertation was a congregational study of an unusual inner city United Methodist church in the Grant Park neighborhood of Atlanta.

Since 1990 he has taught here at Emory & Henry, serving since 1998 as Chair of the Religion Department. He also served for several years as Director of the First-Year Western Tradition program and then the First-Year Human Foundations course, part of the College’s new Core Curriculum. He has served in a number of other faculty leadership roles, including several years on the Faculty Advisory Committee and as Faculty Representative to the College’s Board of Trustees. In 2009-10 he served as Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of the Powell Resource Center. He currently serves as the College’s Faculty Marshal.

The courses that Dr. Reiff teaches include New Testament Survey, Introduction to the Christian Faith, Church and World, The Christian Faith in Literature, Church and Community Ministries, and Psychological Development and Religious Faith. In addition, he teaches two first-year courses: Human Foundations and a Transitions I course entitled “Baseball: More than a Game.” In the fall of 2015, he will teach a Great Works in Context course on the book of Genesis. He also occasionally preaches and teaches Bible studies in local churches, mostly United Methodist.

Honors and awards received by Dr. Reiff include a Louisville Institute Religious Institutions Grant in 2005-06, several Emory & Henry College research grants, and a Hope Award from Emory & Henry’s Appalachian Center for Community Service in 2003. He has received two awards from the Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church: a Dempster Graduate Fellowship in 1988-89, and the Exemplary Teaching Award for 2000-01. In 1989-90 he was the recipient of a Dissertation Fellowship in Congregational Studies from the Congregational History Project at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Advanced Studies.

Dr. Reiff’s research in recent years has been in the areas of Christian ethics and 20th Century American Church History, focusing on the response of the white Methodist Church in Mississippi to the Civil Rights Movement of the early 1960s. His book, Born of Conviction: White Methodists and Mississippi’s Closed Society, will be published by Oxford University Press in November 2015. He holds memberships in the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the Southern Historical Association. 



Educational Background

  • B.A., Millsaps College
  • M.Div. & Ph.D., Emory University