Grace Yia-Hei Kao

Professor of Ethics – On leave for 2022-2023
Interim/Inaugural Bishop Roy I. Sano & Kathleen A. Thomas-Sano
Professor in Pacific & Asian American Theology
Co-Director, Center for Sexuality, Gender, & Religion (CSGR)

Grace Yia-Hei 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 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 serves as the co-director of the Center for Sexuality, Gender and Religion (CSGR) and 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 and then promoted to (full) professor at her institution.

An active member of professional societies, Kao has served on the steering committees of the Animals and Religion Group (ARG) and the Women of Color Scholarship, Teaching, and Activism Group (WOCSTAG) of the American Academy of Religion and the Board of Advisors of the Pacific, Asian, and North American Asian Women in Theology and Ministry (PANAAWTM). In the Society of Christian ethics, she has co-convened the Asian and Asian American Working Group, been elected to the Board of Directors, and is currently completing her final year as the co-convener of the Animal Ethics Interest Group which she co-founded. 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.

Please consult her personal website  for more information about her publications, current work, and speaking schedule.


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