Current LFP Update

__LFP Update__11.1

February 2016

Welcome to the LFP Update, an e-publication from the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts to keep LFP representatives and others informed about the   activities of 1) LFP National Network institutions, 2)  present and former Lilly Fellows and, 3) the LFP office at Valparaiso University.

In this Issue:


Nominations and Applications:  The LFP Postdoctoral Fellowships and for the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program

We are happy to announce that the LFP received 121 completed applications for three LFP Postdoctoral Fellowships at Valparaiso University. Look for the announcement of the new Fellows, including profiles, in the May issue of the _LFP Update_.

We are also happy to announce that the LFP received 64 nominations from 36 network schools for ten 2016 Lilly Graduate Fellowships. Thank you for all your work in making the nomination process of this eighth year of the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program a success. In April, we will invite sixteen finalists to the Interview Conference at the Omni Severin Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana (April 10-11, 2015). During this weekend, the selection committee will select ten Graduate Fellows. 


Meyer Prize Deadline Approaching

The Arlin G. Meyer Prize is awarded biennially to a fulltime faculty member from a college or university in the Lilly Fellows Program National Network. Work that exemplifies the practice of the Christian artistic or scholarly vocation in relation to any pertinent subject matter or literary and artistic style will be considered. The prize will be awarded in different years for works of creative imagination and for works of scholarship. The 2016 Arlin G. Meyer Prize will reward the author of a work of academic nonfiction that emerges from his or her practice of the vocation of the Christian scholar, in accord with the principles and ideals of the Lilly Fellows Program.

The Prize honors Arlin G. Meyer, Professor Emeritus of English at Valparaiso University, who served as program director of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts from its inception in 1991 until his retirement in 2002.

The Prize of $3000 will be awarded at the Lilly Fellows Program National Conference at Augsburg College, October 14-16, 2016.

For nomination information, please click here.

The deadline for nominations is March 1, 2016.

Report on Mentoring Programs

Mentoring Programs have been among the most popular and successful of all LFP initiatives.  Two programs concluded in spring 2016 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA, and Saint Louis University.

Calvin College: "Mentoring New Faculty through Classroom Observation and Collaboration"
During the 2014-15 academic year Calvin College used its LFP-funded mentoring program to try to achieve its primary goal--better teaching for mission—through commitments to (1) classroom practice, (2) evidence-based decisions about teaching (relying mostly on current pedagogical research), (3) pairing new and recently hired faculty with mentors outside of their department (to focus on confidential, formative mentoring), and (4) mutual and frequent classroom observations. Best practices developed by individual mentoring pairs were shared in group meetings. Mentoring pairs read books on teaching and learning and on faith and learning, using these texts to plan classroom practice and discuss results. Probably the two features that the new faculty liked best were doing classroom observations grounded in published research and working with a “safe” mentor outside of their department. Without any prompting to do so, twelve of the sixteen mentoring pairs reported that they will continue working together this year.

Dordt College: "Perspectives in Practice"
The Perspectives in Practice mentoring program at Dordt College was developed in response to a desire among faculty to learn more about how to unfold and apply a Reformational perspective in practices for teaching and scholarship. Additionally, faculty identified the need for sustained time to work closely with small groups of colleagues on developing perspectival approaches to broader topics (such as pedagogical frameworks, scholarly methods, or issues/questions essential to their work within and across disciplines). Dordt therefore planned an ongoing series of Pedagogy Perspectives workshops for interested faculty. They also developed an internal mini-grant program, which gave professors opportunity to design their own small-group seminars—with priority given to groups that connected newer and veteran faculty. Dordt invited proposals from within and across departments. Small groups developed proposals matched to their unique needs and interests; each group planned for sustained time of in-depth collaborative study. These small-group proposals took a variety of different formats: weekly breakfast meetings, 2-3 days together in retreat, a week of sequential half days together on campus, or time for a group to attend a conference together and debrief afterward—with a follow-up of regular shorter meetings to continue their communal inquiry. Together, the workshops and seminars fostered Reformationally grounded, in-depth inquiry into teaching and scholarship. They helped faculty deepen and broaden their engagement with Reformed perspectives, encouraged them to explore and respond to disciplinary resources, and promoted practices that will have significant influence on teaching and scholarship. Recipients shared presentations or publications based on their project, and Dordt concluded the year with a celebration breakfast for faculty that focused on new mentoring opportunities in the year ahead.

Saint Louis University: "Beyond Branding: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition and Corporate Models of Higher Education"
The “Beyond Branding” mentoring program at Saint Louis University involved three stages in fall, 2014 and spring, 2015, and is ongoing in the academic year 2015/2016.  The first stage in August, 2015 brought together 14 faculty from 5 different Colleges in Saint Louis University for a week-long seminar on the Catholic, Jesuit character of the institution.  Readings and discussions followed on the tension between the three traditions that have informed the university: the Catholic/Jesuit tradition; the enlightenment model of the university privileging specialized research; and the American corporate and consumer model of education that has more recently shaped our university culture.  Dr. Thomas Hibbs, Dean of the Honors College at Baylor University, was a featured speaker. Participants continued to meet over the course of the yea and put together a list of 10 new mission-driven initiatives in their colleges.  The second stage in spring, 2015, involved a series of the university’s “Teach to the Mission Syllabus Project,” in which four veteran faculty and staff collaborated to put on a series of gathering for six junior faculty members from a variety of disciplines.  In March, 2015, the third stage saw the College of Arts and Sciences’ Interdisciplinary Forum (which has run for several years) hold a special forum on mission-driven administration. Speakers included former Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. John McGreevy, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame. The space created by this grant for conversation, confronting the challenges and imagining the future is already bearing great fruit and has generated a sense of confidence and creativity among a wide variety of faculty leaders in the institution.

Mentoring Programs provide funds to nurture new and junior faculty at Network institutions and strengthen the commitment of all faculty to institutional mission. Well-constructed mentoring programs encourage new faculty as well as veteran faculty to understand and share the ethos of the school, to grow to love the questions that the institution holds dear, and to consider the importance of fundamental matters concerning the relationship between higher learning and the Christian faith. Such programs also seek to renew and deepen the commitment of the whole institution and its leaders to those central intellectual and spiritual matters. To learn more about mentoring programs, see the LFP website.

Report on Small Grant Programs  

The Lilly Fellows Program National Network invites Network institutions to apply for small grants of $1500 and $3000 to stimulate conversation about church-related higher education and church-related mission on their campuses or among church-related institutions in close proximity to each another.  The LFP hopes these grants will extend and strengthen the LFP’s national conversation about church-related higher learning and mission within and among our network campuses.  The Small Grant program is designed to fund new programs on network campuses rather than supplement ongoing ones.  The current deadline for the submission of applications is September 15, 2016.

At its Fall 2013 meeting, LFP National Network Board awarded Small Grants to Belmont University in Nashville, TN, Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, Gordon College in Wenham, MA, Hope College in Holland, MI, and Mount Saint Mary's University in Emmitsburg, MD. The Programs ran during the 2014-2015 academic year.


Belmont University “Courage and Renewal: Circle of Trust® Approach Program”
Director, Judy Skeen
During the 2014-15 academic year at Belmont University, those faculty who chose to engage in retreats and reading groups were focused upon the central question: How can educators create classroom experiences where integrity is chosen from inside out?  Building upon the work of Parker J. Palmer who commends the deep inner work of integrity building in educators, faculty were invited to consider how all education and academic disciplines coalesce to enable the formation of citizens who are engaged, informed, courageous and generous.

Duquesne University, “Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability: Explorations at a Spiritan Catholic University”
Directors, Darlene Fozard Weaver and Maureen O’Brien
Duquesne University is the only university in the United States sponsored by the Catholic Congregation of the Holy Spirit. Through this grant, the coordinators aimed to enhance interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration on ecological and sustainability initiatives by faculty across the university; integrate Spiritan Catholic mission for justice, peace and the integrity of creation more fully into faculty’s research and teaching; and provide faculty with a collegial setting in which to develop a specific area of their research or teaching related to environmental stewardship or sustainability. The project coordinators recruited six faculty from three DU schools--Liberal Arts, Business Administration, and Natural and Environmental Sciences. These faculty members met with the coordinators for six sessions during the 2014-15 academic year. During the sessions, participants learned from several guest presenters on topics related to Catholic and Spiritan priorities for environmental stewardship and sustainability, as well as some current university researchers’ work on relevant projects. Each participant also developed an individual project consistent with his/her specific research and teaching interests as well as the small grant goals, and presented progress reports at various points for peer feedback. Individual projects included development of undergraduate courses on ecology and psychology; initiatives to make the campus more bike-friendly and encourage commuting by bicycle; an article describing an undergraduate honors course on sustainability team-taught by nine faculty from a variety of disciplines; a mathematics research design to predict patterns of feral cat population growth in conjunction with a local neutering and release program; outreach to small businesses in the Pittsburgh region, to analyze their recovery and management issues as an aftermath of recent flooding and develop tools to support them in future natural disasters; and a journal article, short book and new teaching initiatives in an MBA program.

Gordon College, “Young Scholars and Vocation” Discussion Group
Director: Bruce G. Webb

Under the umbrella of the Center for Faith and Inquiry at Gordon College, this grant brought three groups of “already-not-yets” together into fellowship through periodic discussion sessions and dinners during 2014-15.  These groups were: 1) New and younger faculty, who already have their PhD but are still figuring out how to think well about the relationship between their discipline and Christian faith; 2) Capable seniors or recent graduates of Gordon College (still in the area), who possess (or almost possess) a B.A. but remain uncertain of what steps to take next, although they are open to a vocation within church-related higher education; and 3) Christian scholars who are enrolled in or completing graduate programs in the greater Boston area, who feel called/open to a church-related academic vocation but are short on role models and conversation partners in their various academic departments. Our broad goal was to help “resource” the aforementioned groups with a vocabulary, with bibliographies and with friendships/professional networks as they discern and take the next steps on their respective academic/faith journeys. Over the course of this project, we had a total of 15 participants take part in 6 gatherings. Participants completed short reading assignments before our discussion, and dinner followed at a nearby restaurant.

Hope College, “Robust Ecumenism at Hope College”
Director: Steven Bouma-Prediger
With this grant the main goal was to create a community of faculty who would explore the meaning of robust ecumenism at Hope College. Robust ecumenism, as we defined it, is the attempt to describe what is needed at an academic institution for people to be willing to speak from their particular Christian perspective, ask for clarification when others’ ways of speaking need translation, and work at genuine understanding, which may include informed disagreement.

The grant has three phases. Phase one was academic year 2013-14 during which a core group of four faculty met regularly (usually twice a month) to read and discuss together a variety of books and essays. Some of the questions we discussed were: What does robust ecumenism actually look like? Have we embodied it at Hope? If so, how and under what circumstances? On what issues do we find general agreement? On what do we disagree and how do and how should we model respectful disagreement? The academic year 2014-15 was phase two. During this year a group of 9 faculty met twice a month over lunch for about 90 minutes each time. In addition to reading books and essays, we also drafted working definitions of robust ecumenism and outlined both the challenges and the opportunities for robust ecumenism at Hope College. In addition to the bimonthly lunch meetings throughout the school year we organized and led a very successful one-day weekend retreat. Phase 3 is academic year 2015-16 and the summer of 2016. During this year a number of the core faculty intend to work on research papers on the topic of robust ecumenism and we hope to plan a conference as part of Hope’s sesquicentennial celebration next summer.

Mount St. Mary’s University, “Gaudium et Spes, Then and Now: A Faculty Dialogue,” Director, Joshua Peter Hochschild
During the 2014-2015 academic year, faculty at Mount St. Mary’s University engaged in a series of discussions centered on the themes and the legacy of Gaudium et Spes fifty years after its promulgation. One of the most important documents of the Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes reflects the vision of St. Pope John XXIII for the Church to engage the modern world.  Through four planned discussions, the faculty explored the influences of this and related Papal documents and their relevance to curriculum and teaching.  Faculty were especially eager to explore these themes since our core curriculum, The Veritas Program, gives central attention to the Catholic vision of the human person and is intended to help prepare students for a life of responsibility in the modern world.  Overall approximately a quarter of Mount faculty participated in the discussion series, supported by this LFP grant.

Report on Regional Conferences at Samford University and Gordon College

Regional Conferences or Workshops represent a flexible category of programs that encourage examination of topics of special significance to faculty, administrators, and students at a particular institution or group of institutions, or matters of special intellectual concern to faculty and others in Christian higher education. The focus, character, and constituency of the conference may vary to suit the needs of the applicant, within the general guidelines listed above. Previous successful conferences and workshops have focused on issues facing schools in a particular region, topics of current debate among faculty at a particular school, student life issues, graduate student matters, various theological or denominational traditions in higher education, an array of topics in liberal and professional education, and issues of civic and public concern to the Christian intellectual community.

On September 21, 2015 Gordon College in Wenham, MA, welcomed over 65 attendees from 21 Colleges and Universities for an LFP Regional Conference, Islam in the Classroom: Challenges and Opportunities of Teaching about Islam in a Post 9/11. This one-day conference brought together several leading scholars to deliberate well and wisely about how accurate and insightful knowledge of Islam can be taught in the college classroom. Particular emphasis was placed on teaching Islam in church-affiliated colleges and universities, whether Protestant or Catholic, in the North American context. Four keynote speakers were: Gabriel Said Reynolds, Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, on “The Islamic Challenge to Christian Theology”; Judith Mendelsohn Rood, Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies at Biola University, on “The Consequences of Disobedience: The Qur’an and History of Islamic Thought”; Jennifer Hevelone-Harper, Professor of History at Gordon College, on “Mohammed Among Evangelicals: Teaching the Origins and Spread of Islam in an Evangelical College Context”; and Amir Hussain, Professor of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University, on “On Teaching Islam: A Muslim Scholar of Islam Reflects on Teaching for a Decade in a Catholic University.” Sandra Keating, Professor of Theology at Providence College, responded to the speakers and moderated a final panel discussion. These essays will appear in a forthcoming edited volume.
For more information on this conference, including speaker information, see Gordon College's conference website.

On October 2-4, 2014 Samford University hosted, as an LFP Regional Conference, its inaugural conference on “Teaching the Christian Intellectual Tradition” (TCIT). This is the first in a new biennial conference series that provides an opportunity for scholars from across the disciplines to share ideas about teaching Christianity’s rich intellectual heritage to today’s undergraduates. Each conference will focus on a different figure or theme and will equip undergraduate faculty with effective strategies for teaching the tradition in a variety of courses across the curriculum. 

The inaugural 2014 conference  focused on “Teaching Augustine Across the Curriculum.” Along with numerous concurrent sessions, the conferees heard from plenary speakers Peter Kaufman (University of Richmond) and Kristen Deede Johnson (Western Theological Seminary). Videos of the conference keynotes are available here for Kaufman ( and Johnson (  Proceedings of the conference are in the process of publication, which can be downloaded now here: .

Keep in Mind: Opportunities for Regional Conference on Your Campus. The deadline for applications is September 15, 2016. 


Deadlines for Grants and Other Opportunities

The next series of programs that will receive funding are: Mentoring ProgramsNetwork ExchangesSmall Grants, and Regional Conferences. Proposals for the programs are due September 15, 2016.

The deadline for submitting nominees for the 2016 Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Nonfiction is March 1, 2016.

For more information, visit the LFP website.

Staff Changes 

For those of you who have worked with the Lilly Fellows Program for many years, it comes as a shock to let you know that our Program Coordinator, Kathy Sutherland, is retiring on February 5, 2016.  Kathy’s contributions to all phases of the Lilly Fellows Program have been immeasurable, and all of us associated with the Lilly Fellows Program owe Kathy a great debt of thanks for her work with the LFP National Conferences, Network Board Meetings, Postdoctoral and Graduate Fellows Programs, and Workshops for Senior Administrators.  Her warmth, precision, and care have influenced every phase of the Lilly Fellows Program.  Thank you, Kathy, and very best wishes.

As we search for a new Program Coordinator, please direct all inquires regarding LFP programs to the main Lilly Fellows email address ( ) or to Program Director Joe Creech ( )


From the Colloquium at Our Blog, Exiles from Eden 

To learn about the readings of the Graduate Fellows and Postdoctoral Fellows, please see Joe Creech’s “From the Colloquium” post on the LFP-sponsored blog, Exiles from Eden.

Facebook and Twitter

As always, the LFP can be followed on Facebook and Twitter at @LFProgram and @Exilesfromeden.

Noteworthy News

2016 Annual LFP National Conference

Registration is now open for the 2016 annual LFP National Conference at Augsburg College, October 14-16, 2016.  For more information and to register, click here.

2016 Annual Workshop for Senior Administrators

Registration is now open for the 2016 annual LFP Workshop for Senior Administrators at Augsburg College, October 13-14, 2016. For more information and to register, click here.

2015 Lilly Fellows Program Book Award Winner and Finalists

Click here to see the winner of and finalists for the 2015 Lilly Fellows program Book Award!  Click here to read reviews in The Cresset of the winner and finalists.

February LFP Update

The Current LFP Update for Feburary 2016 is now available. Click here.

Follow the Exiles from Eden Blog!

The LFP is now sponsoring a new blog, Exiles from Eden.  Go check it out!

National Network of Church- Related Colleges and Universities

If you are interested in learning more about membership in the National Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities, please contact us here.