Tal Stanley

Professor of Civic Innovation Civic Innovation

I grew up in Dublin, Virginia. As a student at Emory & Henry, in the questions my teachers raised for me I found the map for my life’s journey. Immediately after graduation, I attended seminary and then returned to Southwest Virginia to serve four rural United Methodist churches. Those early questions at Emory & Henry led me to graduate school and the study of Appalachia, family stories, and place. My journey and those questions then led me back to Emory & Henry.

I teach in the Interdisciplinary Program in Civic Innovation and I am a staff member in the Appalachian Center for Civic Life. Teaching and storytelling are my vocation and calling. In my teaching I create learning communities of co-learners and co-educators where we teach and learn from each other. I ground my teaching in my belief that every person has within them the gifts and talents to make a difference in the world and in their place.

I serve now as the College’s Resident Scholar for the Citizenship of Place. In this position, I coordinate the Watershed Project, where students are my best teachers as we work together to find new ways to tell new stories and raise new questions of Southwest Virginia.

My wife is Susan and we have two grown children. We live in Emory where I keep bees and an apple orchard.

Something that people are often afraid to know or say is that life is more splendid than career.

Mark Helprin, from “Il Colore Ritrovato”


…in the everyday…life is capable of small beauties.

Colum McCann, from Let the Great World Spin


Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver, from The Summer Day


Believe that a farther shore

Is reachable from here.

Seamus Heaney, from The Cure at Troy



Resident Scholar for the Citizenship of Place


Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Ph.D., American Studies


Emory University, Atlanta, GA

M.Div., Candler School of Theology


Emory & Henry College, Emory, VA

B.A., History

Contact Info

Collins House



Appalachian Center for Civic Life (Collins House)