Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Heather Hartung Vacek

Assistant Professor of Church History
Year Started at PTS: 2012


Contact Info



Th.D., Duke University, Duke Divinity School, 2012 
M.Div., Duke University, Duke Divinity School, 2006
MBA, MEM Northwestern University, J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, 1996
BS (Industrial Engineering), BA (Economics) Northwestern University, 1991


The Rev. Dr. Heather Hartung Vacek joined the faculty at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2012 and is assistant professor of church history. Her research focuses on the historical relationship between Christian belief and practice in the American context. Her book, Madness: American Protestant Responses to Mental Illness (Baylor University Press, 2015), explores Protestant reactions to mental illnesses from the colonial era through the 21st century. Her research interests also include American religious history, Reformation church history, practical theology, and theologies of disability and suffering. After working for a decade in corporate positions, Vacek earned an M.Div. and Th.D. from Duke University, Duke Divinity School. Previously, she earned her bachelor’s in industrial engineering and bachelor’s in economics from Northwestern University; masters in engineering and MBA from Northwestern University, J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Vacek is ordained in the Moravian Church in America. Her ministry experience includes service at Raleigh Moravian Church in Raleigh, N.C., and at John Umstead Hospital in Butner, N.C. Vacek serves as a trustee and vice chair of the Board at Moravian Theological Seminary. She is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Historical Association, the American Society of Church History, The Conference on Faith and History, the Association of Practical Theology, and the Moravian Historical Society.

Church Associations

Ordination: The Moravian Church in North America, 2012

Professional Competencies

Area of Expertise

  • American religious history
  • History of Christianity
  • History of mental illness in America
  • Practical theology
  • Theologies of disability and suffering

Professional Service

  • Board of Trustees, Moravian Theological Seminary, 2010-
  • Council Member, American Society of Church History, 2014-
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, George Thomas Kurian & Mark A. Lamport, eds. (Forthcoming, 2016)


  • Louisville Institute Dissertation Fellowship, 2011-2012
  • Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Workshop for Pre-Tenure Theological School Faculty, 2013-2014
  • Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, Summer Research Fellowship, 2014

Additional Resources

High res image 
Twitter Feed *


Chapel Audio 1

* This material expresses the research and opinion of Vacek and is not necessarily the opinion of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary faculty, staff, or Board of Directors.