Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling
and Theological Faculty & Staff

MS in pastoral clinical mental health counseling  <> 

PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision with Spiritual and Pastoral  Integration <>


Photo of Sr. Suzanne Mayer, I.H.M.
Sr. Suzanne Mayer, IHM 
Professor & Director
Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling
BA, Immaculata University
MS, Villanova University
MS, Neumann University
PhD, Loyola University in Maryland


As a Sister of the Immaculate Heart, I am proud to say I have had a long-standing history with Neumann University and have found a home in its Franciscan spirit. Having received my master’s from Neumann’s pastoral counseling program, I went on for my doctorate from Loyola in MD. I started here as an adjunct in 1993, moved into full time and 15 years ago took on direction of the pastoral programs. In every role, in every year, I have discovered more creative, giving, caring people – in the faculty and staff and, even more, in the students. As I always say, “The students are the best part of this program.” Along with Neumann, I have also taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Immaculata University and St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. In my “free time” I work as a pastoral counselor, primarily with members of religious orders, and as a consultant, lecturer and retreat director with groups of religious across the United States, especially those in formative stages.

Currently, along with my teaching and advising I love spending time giving lectures, retreats and days of recollection and writing for publication in areas such as development and growth, women's roles and issues, the integration of spirituality and psychology and formation for religious growth. I have been published as a poet and hold a special interest in writing and teaching about forgiveness and the areas of trauma and crisis.



Photo of Janice Merrill-Rossi
Janice Merrill-Rossi
(610) 558-5572



Photo of Timothy S. Hanna
Timothy S. Hanna
Assistant Professor
Pastoral Counseling Program
BS, University of Florida
BA, University of South Florida
MTS, Weston Jesuit School of Theology
MS, Loyola University Maryland
PhD, Loyola University Maryland


Dr. Timothy S. Hanna earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology with a minor in Spanish from the University of Florida, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy from the University of South Florida. He then attended Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA, where he earned a Master of Theological Studies (MTS) degree. Seeking to integrate psychology and theology with a practical outlet of service, he attended Loyola University Maryland, where he first earned a Master of Science degree in Pastoral Counseling before subsequently earning his PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision.


During his time in Maryland, Dr. Hanna gained both teaching and clinical experience at local community colleges. He is now a clinically licensed (LCPC), nationally certified counselor (NCC.), with continued interest in promoting spiritually-integrated mental health care at community levels. His research interests include social justice and liberation, personality and ideology, and religious and spiritual integration in counseling and mental healthcare. He remains an engaged member of the ACA, with particular attention to the ACES and ASERVIC subdivisions, as well as the APA, AAPC, and NAMI.


Dr. Hanna is committed to promoting spiritually-integrated, personal and professional formation through his work with students in the MS and PhD programs of Pastoral Counseling. He views such integration as an essential pathway to fostering holistic well-being in ourselves and in others.



Photo of James A. Houck
James A. Houck
Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling
BA Messiah College
MDiv, Asbury Theological Seminary
MS, Loyola University in Maryland
PhD, Loyola University in Maryland


Jim Houck earned his PhD in pastoral counseling from Loyola College in Maryland. He currently serves as professor of pastoral studies. In addition to having provided pastoral leadership in various settings, Dr. Houck is also a licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania, and holds professional memberships in the National Board for Certified Counselors, the American Counseling Association, and the International Association for Near Death Studies. His research interests include grief and bereavement, trauma, spiritual and religious coping, after death communication and near death experiences.


"For me, the field of pastoral counseling is an ongoing professional and personal integration of clinical psychology with pastoral, theological and spiritual issues. Students come to understand that it is within this integration that we are being transformed by God's grace working in and through us as pastoral counselors."



Photo of John Kruse
John V. Kruse
Associate Professor, Theological Studies
Coordinator, Theology
BA, University of Dayton
MA, University of Dayton
PhD, Saint Louis University


Dr. John Kruse is a historical theologian with expertise in Franciscan spirituality and the office of the papacy. He came to Neumann in 2006 and has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses in theology and spirituality. Dr. Kruse has been a staff member of Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs since 2014. His publications include Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Pope John Paul II, Advent and Christmas Wisdom from St. Francis of Assisi, Lent and Easter Wisdom from Pope John Paul II, Lent and Easter Wisdom from St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, Discovering the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition: A Life-giving Vision, as well as a number of articles and chapters related to the Franciscan tradition. His scholarly interests are focused on modern applications of the Franciscan Moral Vision, insights into the modern papacy gained from Franciscan history, and the relevancy of pilgrimage to the contemporary spiritual journey.



Photo of Sophia S. Park
Sophia S. Park
Associate Professor
Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling
BA, Westmont College
MDiv, Columbia Theological Seminary
ThD, Columbia Theological Seminary


I am passionate about teaching theology and counseling theories of Pastoral Counseling where diverse images of God are reflected through the multi-cultural communities in which we live. In the current milieu of diversity, where more families are embodying multi-cultural and multi-ethnic relations, locally and globally, the skills to engage in inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogues are essential to being competent leaders as pastors, chaplain, and mental health therapists.

Having lived in seven countries on five continents during my formative years, I have developed the ability to see and engage cultures and their people from both subjective and objective perspectives. By engaging theologies and theories of human living through multiple vantage points, I hope to impart not mere “sensitivity” to other cultures, but a reverence for the complex and exhaustive nature of God’s creations as a reflection of the diversity of God.

I joined Neumann faculty as Assistant Professor in fall, 2014 and am now the Clinical Coordinator for the Neumann Clinical Master’s Programs. Prior to joining Neumann, I worked in various clinical, pastoral, and academic positions including hospital chaplaincy in medical and mental health/addiction fields, director of youth and children’s ministry, pastor of congregational care, and adjunct teaching positions in graduate schools and seminaries. Additionally, I have extensive experience as a marriage and family therapist (LMFT) working with individuals, couples, and families from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Currently, I am serving on the board of Culture-In-Motion, Institute of Collective Trauma and Growth (ICTG), and Journal of Pastoral Care and Counseling.



Sr. Diane Tomkinson
Sr. Diane V. Tomkinson, OSF
Associate Professor, Theological Studies 
BA, Swarthmore College
MA, Washington Theological Union
PhD, Fordham University

I joined the faculty at Neumann University in August 2013, as an Associate Professor of Theology in the Department of Theological and Pastoral Studies. I teach undergraduate theology courses and foundational courses in Franciscan theology for the MA and PhD programs in Pastoral Counseling.


I am a Sister of St. Francis of Philadelphia, the sponsoring congregation of Neumann University. I am passionate about retrieving and passing on the Franciscan theological and spiritual tradition, with particular interests in how the practices and insights of St. Francis of Assisi and early Franciscan women (such as Clare of Assisi and the late thirteenth-century mystic, Angela of Foligno) and men contribute to contemporary conversations on topics such as spiritual growth, ecological and social justice, and interfaith dialogue. I have presented and published my work on Angela of Foligno nationally and internationally, including chapters in “Her Bright Merits”: Essays Honoring Ingrid Peterson, O.S.F (Franciscan Institute Publications, 2012) and The Medieval Franciscans: Franciscan Prayer (Brill, 2007).


My previous ministries included family caregiving; formation ministry with new members of my congregation; teaching theology and religious studies at Salve Regina University in Newport, RI, Middlebury College in VT, and summer sessions at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, NY; and over ten years of pastoral ministry in various parish and campus settings. I hold a PhD in Theology from Fordham University, an MA in Theology from Washington Theological Union and my BA from Swarthmore College.



Photo of Mary Beth Yount
Mary Beth Yount
Associate Professor, Theological Studies
Program Director of the PhD in Pastoral Counseling
President-Elect, Faculty Senate
BA, University of St. Thomas
MA, St. Mary’s University 
PhD, Duquesne University


Dr. Mary Beth Yount teaches theology and ethics courses at the doctoral and undergraduate levels and directs dissertations. Named one of “Philadelphia’s Most Interesting People” by NBC-10, her academic and non-profit work has been featured in over a hundred media outlets, both scholarly and popular, including TIME magazine and Rome Reports.


Her honors and awards include the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Francis, two Catholic Press Association awards, and our own annual scholar’s award. She has received over a half million dollars in community grants and hundreds of thousands in academic funding. Dr. Yount is a consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a delegate at relevant Vatican events. Her degrees are a PhD in Theology from Duquesne University, an MA in Theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, and a BA in Theology with a minor in Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX.


Dr. Yount’s publications over the past several years include chapters to five books, seven articles, and guest-editing a journal. Her specialty is the intersection of religious, philosophical, educational, and cultural dialogue, especially practical theology (such as lay ecclesial ministry and the theology of the family) and applied ethics. The current focus of her research is fundamentalism and diversity—such as how to bridge religious divides through interfaith volunteering, increasing diversity within church leadership, and the role of ritual in developing competencies for encountering religious extremism.


Dr. Yount taught at Duquesne University and was an academic publishing project coordinator at Duquesne University Press. She has been founder and executive director of both a non-profit organization and a federally-funded preschool for needy families, director of content and programming for the World Meeting of Families, director and assistant director of two schools, a publishing marketing and promotions assistant, and an early childhood educator. She is married and the mother of four young children.