Interdisciplinary Course Covers Religious Diversity ::

Troy University Department of Art and Design continues to pioneer collaborative and cross-disciplinary learning experiences. One such course that bridges various academic disciplines is a course entitled humanity+divinity=art.

This page is devoted to the general content of the course and a sampling of visual solutions rendered from students engaging in vibrant academic discourse about "otherness." The discourse was about various human quests for spiritual understanding that seemed to always manifest themselves into artifacts.

Below is an overview of the instructors, the course, and the Department of Art and Design. Follow the links to the right side of this page to sample some of the religions studied and the student artifacts.




Robert Pullen, sociologist (L)
Jerry Johnson, designer (R)


Dr. Robert Pullen, Ph.D.
Former Dean of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Sociology

Dr. Pullen was born just before Christmas 1952 in Southwest Georgia, the first son of a peanut farmer. It was such a cold night that his Daddy had to replace the water that he had drained from the radiator of the two ton truck before he could drive his Mama the ten bumpy miles to the hospital. He came up hard but happy on that farm and didn’t know he was poor until he was transferred to the consolidated county school in the ninth grade. By that time he had discovered that hard work was deeply satisfying and that being well educated was more important that having fancy clothes and a flashy car, so he did well in high school and went to Valdosta State College on a Ty Cobb scholarship.

The young Robert Pullen struggled to choose a career from a range of interest including vocational agriculture, nuclear physics, astronomy, history, and preaching. God spoke and the decision to become a Baptist Preacher displaced other plans. Rev. Pullen was ordained at the age of 18 and for the next 20 years he was Pastor of a series of small country churches while he was a student, then a professor. He is not currently pastor of a church but preaches occasionally and considers himself the Pastor of the College of Arts and Sciences at TROY.

His academic accomplishments include B.S. and M.S. degrees in Sociology from Valdosta State College and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Living from Florida State University. He has spent 25 years at Troy University where he has served as Professor of Sociology, Chair of the Department of Social Sciences, and most recently, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Pullen's wife, Harriett, is an Instructor of Mathematics at TROY and is the financial brains of the family. They have two sons, Nathan and Joseph, who are both graduates of TROY. Nathan and Joseph both majored in graphic design and are the computer brains of the family.

The little leisure time that he has is divided between vegetable gardening, woodworking, reading, restoring and building musical instruments, and repairing "Lazrus" his 1963 Ford F100 pickup truck.

Mr. Jerry Johnson, M.F.A.
Chair of Department of Art and Design; Professor of Design

Mr. Johnson grew up in rural Oklahoma where wind and dust were as ordinary as breakfast. He was one of three children, an older brother and a twin sister. Dad was a Chief Master Sergeant in the Air Force and expressly believed in "God and Country." Mom was the merciful balance when kids stepped out of line.

From a very young age, Jerry Johnson was recognized as having a gift for drawing. Although he didn't grow up in a school system that even offered art as a subject, he was granted a competitive art scholarship to a regional college in his home state. During those college years, the artist discovered yet another love of his that would take him through the next decade of his life- that was music. At the age of 19, the idealistic Johnson was out to change the world through his Christian song-writing and musical performance via a contemporary rock band. Although the money wasn't there, the passion was and so for the next decade of consistently practicing, writing and touring, Solid Rock's third album (Real 2 Reel- 1985) finally hit the national charts and appeared in the top ten.

Throughout Jerry Johnson's musical career, he continued to create paintings and do design work. Mostly, his graphic design work was for his band. Eventually, this led him to his first position as a graphic design instructor at Oklahoma State University. Years later, Johnson's journey has guided him to become the chairman of the Department of Art and Design at TROY. Outside of managing an academic department, Johnson continues to work as a freelance designer and consultant. He has specialized in print and packaging media but is now developing a portfolio in multimedia and web design. His work is noted in the international publication American Corporate Identity in which he received an Award of Excellence for corporate identity design. Mr. Johnson is also the recipient of multiple ADDY Awards for his design work in print and for the web.


TROY University | College of Communication and Fine Arts | Department of Art and Design | Malone 132 | Troy, AL 36082 | 334.670.3391 [p] or 334.670.3395 [f]





humanity+divinity=art is an interdisciplinary course that was incubated from conversations between professors from sociology and from design. The result of these conversations was the offering of a hybrid course where students would learn about various world religions (some not so prevalent) and their correlations with human art and art-making.

As a result, students begin to draw parallels between not only religions but the iconographic and inherent nature of the human race and its notions about making the unvisible visible.

If you click on the religious sects that are listed below, you will see some of the outcomes from students as they began to realize the spiritual nature of art-making and make manifest that which is unseen through symbolism, form and experience.