Jenny Whitcher

Jenny Whitcher

Director of the Office of Professional Formation
Term Assistant Professor of Religion & Public Life

Contact Information

Phone: (303) 765-3116

Fax: (303) 765-1141



B.A., New York University
M.A. University of Denver
Ph.D., University of Denver & Iliff School of Theology


Dr. Jenny Whitcher is the faculty Director of the Office of Professional Formation and Term Assistant Professor of Religion & Public Life. As an interdisciplinary public scholar committed to social justice and human rights, Whitcher bridges fields of religious, theological, and civic studies within local, national, and international contexts. Her community-engaged teaching and research focus areas include: professional, public, personal, and spiritual formation; religion and public life; democratic culture, leadership, and pedagogy; community organizing; and social change theory and practice.

Whitcher joined the Iliff faculty in 2015 as faculty Director of the Office of Professional Formation and Term Assistant Professor of Religion & Public Life, after serving as Iliff’s Director of the Master of Arts in Social Change (now M.A. in Social Justice & Ethics) and Director of Service Learning in the Office of Professional Formation since 2012.

Previously, Whitcher served as Associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL), where she taught Community Organizing and Denver Urban Issues and Policy courses; created and led student civic development curricula; trained faculty in public scholarship and pedagogy; led local and international Immersion Programs; and was the creator, editor, and contributing writer of the Public Good Newsletter at the University of Denver for five years. Her career in higher education started in 2004 at the University of Denver’s Office of Internationalization Study Abroad Program. Whitcher transitioned into higher education from the nonprofit sector where she worked locally in Denver with populations experiencing homelessness and globally on affordable housing with Habitat for Humanity International where she was also the “Advocacy Alert” columnist for Frameworks Magazine.

Whitcher’s publications include book chapters, articles, and public resources on civic and spiritual development and formation, relational community organizing, experiences of organizers and public life, and democratic education. She is co-author and co-editor of the first and second editions of the Community Organizing Handbook (2009, 2010).

Whitcher’s public scholarship, teaching, and leadership have included work with with La Academia at Denver Inner City Parish, Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Diyar Consortium, Everyday Democracy, Colorado Progressive Coalition, the Kettering Foundation, El Centro Humanitario, Denver Public Schools, American Commonwealth Project, Urban Peak, and Habitat for Humanity International.

She is an active member of the Association for Theological Field Education (ATFE) and Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life Consortium. Whitcher serves as vice chair of the Puksta Foundation Advisory Council, supporting the Foundation’s mission to provide college-access scholarship programs that develop and inspire communities of brave change agents, civically-engaged for social justice.

Internationally, Whitcher has travelled and partnered with local leaders and communities in Palestine, Israel, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Hungary, Italy, and Spain.

In 2013, Whitcher was invited to facilitate the Northern Colorado/Wyoming Engaged Faculty Institute for Campus Compact of the Mountain West, to train faculty in publicly-engaged pedagogy and scholarship.

Whitcher is the recipient of the Peacemaker Award from the Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Church of Christ (2006) and the Young Philanthropist Award by Women in Development of Greater Boston (2004).

Representative Courses

  • Community Organizing
  • Social Justice & Ethics Praxis: Cultural Capacity
  • Social Change Praxis: Graffiti as Public Voice
  • Social Change Praxis: Ethical and Sustainable International Development
  • Social Change Seminar: U.S. Policy on Poverty
  • Foundations of Social Change