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From the Colloquium, Graduate Fellows Edition

Since 2006, the Lilly Fellows Program Director has published a “From the Colloquium” column about four times per year.  The idea behind this column is to share some of the common readings from the colloquia of the Lilly Postdoctoral Fellows Program and the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program. These works can be of great value for mentoring programs or faculty development projects at different campuses (or to add to your own reading lists).

Common readings and group discussion have been integral to the Lilly Fellows Program’s (LFP) fellowship programs from their start over twenty years ago.  First with the Lilly Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship program at Valparaiso University starting in 1992 and then with the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program in 2008, Fellows have encountered readings intended to engage Christian thought and practice as they intersect the tasks of teaching and scholarship that make up the work we do in the academy. The readings address these issues on both the personal and institutional level, examining our individual practices as scholars as well as those of our academic institutions (with, of course, a special emphasis on those institutions of higher learning that connect to a church-related mission).

Once a year, we focus on the readings that the three active cohorts of Lilly Graduate Fellows discuss.  These Fellows are in their first three years of Graduate school.  Each semester, the Lilly Graduate Fellow cohorts select readings that cluster around a particular theme.

So, without further ado, here are some of those readings.

The members of the fourth cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows, who began graduate school and the program in fall 2011 and who just completed their three year program, read and discussed materials focused on the theme “Striving to Become a Worthy Soul.”  The goal of the fall 2013 semester readings was to open conversation about the way our desires—especially in graduate school—can require reordering.  The primary or “trunk” text of the semester was Dante’s Purgatorio which was accompanied by the theoretical text, Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies, by Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoungPurgatorio has been a standard reading among the Lilly Graduate Fellows, and several cohorts have read Glittering Vices, a contemporary reflection on the Seven Deadly Sins.  The group also read sections of Christian Wiman’s My Bright Abyss, which the Postdoctoral Fellows also read.  The cohort supplemented these primary texts with excerpts from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Dorothy Sayers’ “The Great Images,” and what is now a classic on the tensions between teaching content and moral formation in the classroom, Mark W. Roche’s “Should Faculty Members Teach Virtues and Values?”  In the spring, 2014, the members of the cohort rather than the mentors selected the texts under the theme, “Texts That Shape Our Vocations.”  The Fellows selected the following texts:  Augustine, selections from On Christian Doctrine, Mark Edmundson, selections from Why Read?; Margret Edson, “Wit”; Bernard Knox, selection from Introduction to the Iliad; C.S. Lewis, “The Inner Ring”; Albert J. Raboteau, “African Americans, Exodus, and the American Israel”; Stanley Cavell, “Knowing and Acknowledging”; selections from bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress; Victoria Lawson, “Geographies of Care and Responsibility; selections from Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling; Paul Rorem, “Empathy and Evaluation in Medieval Church History and Pastoral ministry: A Lutheran Reading of Pseudo-Dionysius”; Robert Wood, “The Catholic Philosopher: Dancing at Arms’ Length with One’s Theological Mistress”; A. G. Sertillanges, selections from On the Intellectual Life, and Hans Urs von Balthasar, selection from Theo-Drama, Vol. 1.  The semester ended with readings from Mark Schwehn’s Exiles from Eden.

The members of the Fifth Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows, who completed the second year of their fellowship and who began their graduate studies in the fall of 2012, spent the year reflecting on the topic, “Virtuous Learning and Virtuous Teaching.”  The “spine” texts for the colloquium were Dante’s Purgatorio and Paradiso and George Eliot’s Middlemarch.  The Cohort mentors supplemented these texts with readings from the Bible, Peter Hawkin’s terrific Dante: A Brief History; selections from Practicing Theology by Dorothy Bass and Miroslav Volf; Brian E. Daley, “To Be More Like Christ: the Background and Implications of Three Kinds of Humility”; selections from Dorothy Bass, Practicing Our Faith; Schwehn, Exiles from Eden; Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue, Chapter 14; Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, “Contemplation in the Midst of Chaos,” The Scope of our Art: The Vocation of the Theological Teacher, edited by L. Gregory Jones and Stephanie Paulsell; James Smith, excerpts from Desiring the Kingdom, and Imagining the Kingdom; Phyllis Tickle’s Divine Hours for Autumn and Wintertime; Philip Jackson, “Real Teaching” from Schwehn, Everyone a Teacher; Augustine, “On the Teacher,” from Everyone a Teacher; Mark Roche, “Should Faculty Members Teach Virtues and Values?”; Jean Leclercq, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God  (Chapter 7); Flannery O’Connor, “Parker’s Back”; John Calvin, from Institutes 2.2.12-16; Tobias Wolff, “In the Garden of the North American Martyrs”; Robert Inchausti, “Maxims, Aphorism, Insights” from Everyone a Teacher, and Rowen Williams’ Ponder These Things, which most of the cohorts have read.

The members of Cohort 6 entered their first year of the fellowship colloquium in fall, 2013, and in the fall they examined readings that focused on the theme of “Hospitality”—a theme a number of the cohorts have examined.  Their readings included Christine D. Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition; Julia Kasdorf, poems from Sleeping Preacher; Raymond Carver’s, “Cathedral” and “A Small Good Thing”; Augustine’s Confessions; selections from Simone Weil’s Waiting for God, selections from Jones and Paulsell, The Scope of Our Art: The Formation of the Theological Teacher; selections from Benedicta Ward, The Desert Fathers: Saying of the Early Christian Monks; selections from Mary Forman, Praying with the Desert Mothers, and Phyllis Tickle, The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime. In the spring, the cohort members focused on the theme, “Habits of the Heart: Recognizing the Vices, Cultivating the Virtues.” Like Cohort 4, they read Dante’s, Purgatorio and Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung’s, Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies.  They also read Abraham Joshua Heschel’s, The Sabbath (which many cohorts have read); Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Rowan Williams, Ponder These Things.

Posted by Joe Creech

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