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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 central to the Lilly Fellows Program’s (LFP) fellowship programs from their start twenty-five 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 Fifth Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows, who began graduate school and the program in fall 2012 and who just completed their three year program, read and discussed materials focused on the theme “Christianity, Higher Learning, and American Democratic Culture.” This Cohort is mentored by Lisa DeBoer of Westmont College and Michael Patella of Saint John’s University. Having studied George Eliot’s Middlemarch over the summer, the cohort tackled this theme by reading sections of de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Willa Cather’s My Antonia, Mary Catherine Bateson’s essay, “Composing a Life Story,” Robert Benne’s Quality with Soul, selections from Hughes, Richard T. Hughes and William B. Adrian’s Models for Christian Higher Education: Strategies for Survival and Success in the Twenty-First Century, Josef Pieper’s classic Leisure: The Basis of Culture (a regular text with both the Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellowship colloquia), Alan Jacobs’ essay, “George Eliot: Good Without God,” Tracy Fessenden’s “Secularism, Feminism, Imperialism:  Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Progress Narrative of U.S. Feminism,” Jon Roberts and James Turner’s The Sacred and Secular University (also popular with the Graduate Fellows), “Facing Reality” from Marilynne Robinson’s The Death of Adam, selections from Charles Taylor’s The Secular Age, and Job and Sawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants.  In the spring term, 2015, as is becoming the custom, the cohort members brought work from their own programs to share with the group.

The members of the Sixth Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows, who completed the second year of their fellowship and who began their graduate studies in the fall of 2013, spent the year reflecting on two themes. In the fall, they tackled “Christian Vocation as Active Love in the World.” The Sixth Cohort’s mentors are Jane Kelley Rodeheffer of Pepperdine University and Arlin Migliazzo of Whitworth University. The “spine” text for the fall was Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. The group supplemented that text with Mary Catherine Bateson, “Composing a Life Story,” Allan Gurganus, White People, Sherman Alexie, “The Trial of Thomas Builds the Fire,” Leonid Ouspensky and Vladimir Lossky, The Meaning of Icons, Rowan Williams, Dostoevsky: Language, Faith, and Fiction, and the poetry of Louise Gluck (“The Wild Iris” and “Vespers”), George Herbert (“Love Bade Me Welcome”), Geoffrey Hill (“Lachrimae Amantis”), Gerard Manley Hopkins (“Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend’” and “My Own Heart Let Me Have More Pity On”), Mary Karr (“Descending Theology: The Resurrection”), Denise Levertov (“To Live in the Mercy of God” and “For Those Whom the Gods Love Less”), Steve Smith (“The Airy Christ”), Christian Wiman (“And I said to my Soul” and “Five Houses Down”), and Thomas Merton (“When in the Soul of the Serene Disciple”). They also discussed Anthony Domestico’s interview with Christian Wiman, “Prepared for Joy,” in Commonweal (May 2, 2014).

In the spring, the Sixth Cohort addressed the subject, “Living Our Christian Vocation as Teachers and Scholars.”  The primary texts were several classics of both the Graduate and Postdoctoral Fellowship colloquia, including Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do, Andrew Delbanco, College, Arlin C. Migliazzo, ed., Teaching as an Act of Faith, Parker J. Palmer, The Courage to Teach, Parker J. Palmer and Arthur Zajonc, The Heart of Higher Education, James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, and Barbara Gross Davis, Tools for Teaching. They also engaged Jane Kelley Rodeheffer, “Educating For Justice: Service Learning and Plato’s Republic,” and ‘Assailed By Greater Care’: Revivalist Imagery in Dante’s Portrayal of Cato and the Penitents in Purgatorio II,” Charles Baxter, “Gryphon,” Wayne C. Booth, “What Little I Think I Know About Teaching,” J. D. Chapman, “Send Your Kid to the Ivy League,” William Deresiewicz, “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League,” Thomas Merton, “Learning To Live,” Vivian Gussin Paley, Wally’s Stories:  Conversations in the Kindergarten, Kathryn Tanner, “Why Are We Here?,” Lionel Trilling, “Of this Time, of that Place,” and the poetry of Yehuda Amichaids (“The School Where I Studied”), Judy Brown (“Fire”), Elizabeth Carlson (“Imperfection”), Emily Dickinson (“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant”), John Fox (“When Someone Deeply Listens to You”), Denise Levertov (“Witness”), Mary Oliver (“The Journey”), Rainer Maria Rilke (“I Am too Alone in the World, and Not Alone Enough”), Jellaludin Rumi (“Two Kinds of Intelligence”), William Butler Yeats (“Earth, Fire and Water”), and Al Zolynas (“Love in the Classroom—for My Students”).

Members of the Seventh Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows, who began graduate work in fall, 2014, with mentors Paul Contino of Pepperdine University and Susan Felch of Calvin College, addressed the topic, “The Fellowship of Pilgrims” in fall, 2014, and the topic, “Midway in the Journey of Our Lives,” in spring, 2015. To grapple with “The Fellowship of Pilgrims,” the cohort used as its “spine” text Augustine’s Confessions, and, in addition, read Wayne Booth’s “Introduction” from The Company we Keep, Paul Griffith’s, The Vice of Curiosity, Robert Kiely’s, Blessed and Beautiful, the classic by Stephanie Paulsell, “Writing as a Spiritual Discipline,” from Paulsell and L. Gregory Jones, The Scope of Our Art, Christine D. Pohl, Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition, Susan Felch’s “Doubt and the Hermeneutics of Delight,” Rowan Williams’ The Dwelling of the light: Praying with Icons of Christ, and Simone Weil’s classic, “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies” in Waiting for God. In the spring, to address the theme “Midway in the Journey of our Lives,” the “spine” text was, not surprisingly, Dante’s Inferno, along with Rebecca Konyndyk DeYoung’s Glittering Vices (which as become especially popular with the Graduate Fellows), C.S. Lewis, “The Inner Ring,” and Josef Pieper, The Four Cardinal Virtues.

Posted by Joe Creech

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