Grace Yia-Hei Kao

Professor of Ethics
Interim/Inaugural Bishop Roy I. Sano & Kathleen A. Thomas-Sano Professor in Pacific & Asian American Theology

Dr. Kao regularly teaches and researches in the following four areas: (1) rights, human and animal, (2) religion in the public sphere in the U.S., (3) ecofeminism, (4) Asian American Christianity. She is the author of (1) My Body, Their Baby: A Progressive Christian Vision for Surrogacy (Stanford UP, 2023), (2) Grounding Human Rights in a Pluralist World (Georgetown UP, 2011), the co-editor of Asian American Christian Ethics: Voices, Methods Issues (Baylor UP, 2015) and the co-editor of Encountering the Sacred: Feminist Reflections on Women’s Lives (T&T Clark, 2018). 

At CST, Dr. Kao was the co-founding director of the Center for Sexuality, Gender and Religion (CSGR) (2010-2022) and has previously served as the faculty advisor to the Asian Pacific Islander/American Association student group. She is a two-time recipient of CST’s Faculty Teaching Award (2010-2011, 2016-2017) and is the first Asian American woman to have been tenured at her institution.

An active member of professional societies, Kao currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry (PANAAWTM) and also the Managing Board of the Asian Pacific American Religions Research Initiative (APARRI). In the Society of Christian ethics, she has co-convened the Asian and Asian American Working Group, served on the Board of Directors, and co-founded the Animal Ethics Interest Group. She is also served on several steering committees in the American Academy of Religion. She is also an Associate Editor for the Journal of Religious Ethics (JRE) and previously served on the editorial board of the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics. Learn more about Dr. Kao’s publications, current work, and speaking schedule: visit



PhD, Harvard University
MA, Stanford University
BA, Stanford University

A great theological education dismantles everything you assumed to be “right” and helps you rebuild with true understanding. My CST experience was life-altering. I am changed and on fire to transform the world.
Abigail Clauhs '17