Current LFP Update

LFP Update 17.2

May 2022

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

In this Issue:

The 2022 LFP Annual National Conference: Implicit Racial Bias and the Academy

The 32nd annual LFP National ConferenceImplicit Racial Bias and the Academy, will take place on the campus of Lipscomb University October 28-30, 2022. Registration will open soon.

In his 2020 book, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and its Urgent Lessons for our Own, Princeton professor Eddie Glaude writes extensively about what he calls “the lie” regarding race in the United States. “The lie,” he argues, “is a broad and powerful architecture of false assumptions . . . that support the everyday order of American life, which means we breathe them like air. We count them as truths. We absorb them into our character.”

In light of Glaude’s argument, this conference will ask about implicit racial bias in the academy—how we organize the academy, how we think about knowledge, how we structure a curriculum, how we frame our disciplines, how we recruit and admit our students, how we do our scholarship, and how we teach.

Further, the academy is devoted to critical thinking, but to what extent is our ability to think critically about race also hampered by implicit racial bias?

Finally, the Christian gospel rejects racial bias, both explicit and implicit. How might church-related colleges and universities employ the gospel narrative to expose and undermine implicit racial bias on our campuses?

These are the questions that will frame the 2022 Lilly Fellows Program National Conference.

In addition to Eddie Glaude, we are delighted to have Tabitha Jones Jolivet and Forrest E. Harris, Sr. as keynote speakers. Tabitha Jones Jolivet is an associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences at Azusa Pacific University and co-author of White Jesus: the Architecture of Racism in Religion and Education. Forrest E. Harris, Sr. is president of American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee, and professor/director of the Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies at Vanderbilt University.

Registration will open soon. Look for an email announcement! For more information, click here.

The 2022 Workshop for Senior Administrators: Fostering Belonging: Renewing the Conversation about Race and Mission

Immediately preceding the National Conference will be the Twenty-Second Annual Workshop for Senior Administrators on the topic: Fostering Belonging: Renewing the Conversation about Race and Mission.

The 2022 Workshop for Senior Administrators will offer the opportunity for senior administrators at church-related colleges and universities to engage Dr. Willie James Jennings concerning his critique of the aims and purposes of higher education elucidated in After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2020). We will sit with the critique, think about how it might impact the way we understand our campuses, and then begin to think about how we might respond in a way that invigorates and renews the conversation about race, justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campuses by understanding how they connect to our deepest aims in student formation and Christian mission.

The Workshop is offered at no cost to senior administrators at Lilly Network member institutions.  Each institution is eligible to register one senior administrator (president, vice president, academic dean, provost, or equivalent). One participant from each school will be reimbursed for travel costs up to $600. Meals and hotel accommodations will also be paid by the Lilly National Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities. Additional participants from member schools will be waitlisted until the registration deadline in early September and will be enrolled as slots become available.

Registration will open soon. Look for an email announcement! For more information, click here.

Introducing the 2022-2024 Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow

We are happy to announce that after interviewing three finalists, a selection committee of Valparaiso University faculty has selected Jacob W. Torbeck as the 2022-2024 Lilly Postdoctoral Fellow. The Lilly Fellows Program offers a residential two-year postdoctoral teaching fellowship at Valparaiso University for teacher-scholars who seek to renew and enrich their intellectual and spiritual lives while preparing for leadership roles in teaching and administration in church-related institutions of higher education.

Jacob W. Torbeck is a theologian specializing in the heritage of Neoplatonic and mystical thought in Christian theology sometimes called the divine ideas tradition. His current project, Turn Not Thine Eyes: Holy Faces, Saving Gazes, and the Theology of Attention, articulates how mystical traditions of contemplation can inform Christian spirituality and practice. Through engaging the long tradition of philosophical and theological contemplation from antiquity to now, Torbeck argues that the contemplative vocation informs, strengthens, and shapes Christian responses to the needs of individual and communal neighbors. Torbeck’s other research interests include the theology of pop cultural media (especially films and games), and the work of Edith Stein. He received his Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago in 2022, and his work appears in Ethics and Metaphysics in the Philosophy of Edith Stein (Springer, 2022), and is forthcoming in Fantasy, Theology, and the Imagination (Lexington / Fortress Press).

Registration is open: “Vatican II and Catholic Higher Education: Leading Forward”

Sacred Heart University celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the 60th anniversary of the University’s founding in the spirit of Vatican II. Both the first session of Vatican II and Bishop Walter W. Curtis’ founding of Sacred Heart University took place during October 1962.

To celebrate this landmark moment in the history of Catholic higher education and the Catholic intellectual tradition, Sacred Heart University, sponsored by a grant from the Lilly Fellows Program, and supported by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities is assembling a conference of thinkers, writers, and artists who will offer deep, creative, and interpretive reflection on the impact of Vatican II on Catholic higher education. We want to examine and imagine how Vatican II can lead and move Catholic higher education forward. We want to explore how our reading and understanding of Vatican II documents, as well as the formative thinkers of Vatican II and the Catholic intellectual tradition, can deepen and expand our vision of Catholic higher education, addressing new and old challenges.

Keynote Speakers

  • Massimo Faggioli, Villanova University
  • Grant Kaplan, St. Louis University
  • Susan Reynolds, Emory University
  • Patricia McGuire, Trinity Washington University

October 13-15. Registration and additional information can be found here.

Save the date: “Christianity and Core Texts at Global/Cultural Crossroads”

The Grove City English Department invites participants and presenters to an in-person Lilly Fellows Program Regional Conference: “Christianity and Core Texts at Global/Cultural Crossroads,” held on campus at Grove City College in Spring 2023. The conference will include plenary addresses by graphic novelist and artist Gene Luen Yang and scholar Dr. Susan VanZanten.

Describing the vexed position of the Christian in a postcolonial nation, Ghanaian theologian Mercy Amba Oduyoye writes, “What is specifically Christian is irresistible. But Christianity in Africa began by confusing Christianity with European culture” (Inheriting Our Mothers’ Gardens 39). Christianity has often been mistaken for and sometimes presented as a purely Western phenomenon, but this has never been the case—Christian communities like the Ethiopian Church and the Saint Thomas Christians of India trace their roots back to the time of the apostles. This fact is becoming ever more apparent today as the demographic center of even Western Christianity shifts eastward and southward. If, as St. Paul says, the Gospel is “a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles,” then Christianity presents a challenge to the conventional wisdom of any culture or nation. Christianity is not inherently more compatible with Western culture than it is with any of the cultures of the East or the Global South. How might American scholars and American students, especially those who also find Christianity “irresistible,” understand and learn from Christian thinkers and treatments of Christian communities in these global texts? 

Look for a call for papers in fall 2022.

Podcast series on Communication and Religion

In October 2020, Lilly Network sponsored a conference at Seton Hall University entitled Communication and Religion in the 2020 Election. As a follow-up to that conference, a series of 8 podcasts have been produced, and they can be found here.

Call to Apply for Lilly Network Grants

The Lilly Network received a five-year grant of $2.5 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. in 2018 to support activities on Network campuses that connect Christianity and church-related mission to the academic vocation. We invite Lilly Network member schools to submit grant proposals in order to take advantage of these funds by September 15, 2022. Proposals can be submitted for the following:

LFP National Network Board Actions in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022; Welcome to Providence College and University of Portland as Members of the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities

The National Network Board of the Lilly Fellows Program met for its fall meeting on October 7-8, 2021 and its spring meeting on April 1-3, 2022. After considering proposals for Small GrantsMentoring Programs, and Regional Collaboration and Conference Grants, the Board awarded grants to the following institutions: 

The Board approved Providence College and University of Portland for membership in the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and University. A big welcome to Providence College and University of Portland.

The National Network Board elected the following LFP Representatives to the National Network Board:

We welcome these colleagues to the Board and thank retiring Board members Paul Benson at University of Dayton, Mary Henold at Roanoke College, Barbara Roche Rico at Loyola Marymount University, and Arthur Sutherland at Loyola University Maryland for their service to the Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities.

Update on the Lilly Faculty Fellows Program and Call for Applications for Cohort 3

Cohort 2, consisting of seven teams from Belmont UniversityBenedictine UniversityDordt UniversityGeorgetown CollegeMessiah UniversitySeton Hall University, and University of Dayton and led by Stephany Schlachter at Lewis University and Susan Felch at Calvin University is well underway. This group has met for three conferences, two of which were virtual, and one was in-person in Indianapolis, Indiana. These interdisciplinary cohorts bring together mid-career faculty from across the university, including STEM, professional fields, social sciences, humanities, and the arts for four conferences and culminate in faculty fellows leading a one-year project of their design on their campuses.

The Lilly Faculty Fellows Program is currently accepting applications for the 2023-2025 cohort of The Lilly Faculty Fellows Program for mid-career faculty leaders across the disciplines to engage the intersections of Christian thought and practice with the academic vocation. This initiative will:

  • refresh and enliven a sense of calling for participants as people of faith, as teachers, and scholars;
  • provide a space for creative exploration of how Christian thought and practice intersect the academic vocation; and
  • provide funds for Fellows to develop and pilot Faculty Fellow programs on their own campuses.

Although the Lilly Network has in the past emphasized faculty programs in humanities and the arts, this project especially seeks applicants from STEM, social scientific, and professional fields.

Click here for Dates and Schedule, Eligibility, and Application Information. The application Deadline is November 15, 2022.

Update on the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program

Cohort 9 and Cohort 10 had their reunion conferences at Boston College in conjunction with the National Conference in October 2021.

Cohort 11, mentored by Jane Kelley Rodeheffer of Pepperdine University and Mark Ruff of Saint Louis University will complete its three-year program with a final summer conference at St. John’s University in Minnesota in August 2022.

Cohort 12, mentored by Martha (Marti) Greene Eads at Eastern Mennonite University and Charles Strauss at Mount St. Mary’s University, met for its first conference in Holland Michigan in August 2021. They have been participating in online colloquia throughout the year, and they will have their second conference at Eastern Mennonite University in June 2022.

Upcoming Deadlines for Grants and Other Opportunities

The next series of programs that will receive funding are: Mentoring ProgramsSmall GrantsNetwork Exchanges, and Collaboration and Conferences. Proposals for the programs are due September 15, 2022

For more information, visit the LFP website

Faculty Fellows Program:
Applications for the Lilly Faculty Fellows Program are due November 15, 2022.

Facebook and Twitter

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


Noteworthy News

May LFP Update

The Current LFP Update for May 2022 is now available. Click here.

Registration is open for the 2022 National Conference

The 2022 National Conference, Implicit Racial Bias and the Academy, will be held October 28-30 at Lipscomb University. Registration is now open. Click here for more information and to register.

Registration is open for the 2022 Workshop for Senior Administrators

The 2022 Workshop for Senior Administrators, Fostering Belonging: Renewing the Conversation about Race and Mission, will be held October 27-28 at Lipscomb University. Registration is now open. Click here for more information and to register.

Announcing the 2023-2025 Lilly Faculty Fellows Program

We are pleased to announce a call for applications for the 2023-2025 Lilly Faculty Fellows Program for mid-career faculty leaders across all disciplines to engage the intersections of Christian thought and practice with the academic vocation. Click here for more information and to apply.

Vatican II and Higher Education: Leading Forward

Sacred Heart University will host a regional conference on October 13-15, 2022 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Vatican II and the University's founding. For more information including a call for papers, click here.

Grove City College Regional Conference Postponed to 2023

Grove City College's regional conference entitled "Christianity and Core Texts at Global/Cultural Crossroads" will now take place in spring 2023. For more information, click here.

Announcing the winner of the 2021 LFP Book Award

We are pleased to announce that On Christian Teaching: Practicing Faith in the Classroom by David I. Smith has won the 2021 LFP Book Award. For more information and to see the five finalists, click here.

Lilly Network of Church- Related Colleges and Universities

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

New edition of Leading Lives that Matter released

In their second edition of Leading Lives That Matter, editors Mark Schwehn and Dorothy Bass compile a wide range of texts—from ancient and contemporary literature, social commentary, and philosophy—related to questions of vital interest for those who are trying to decide what to do with their lives and what kind of human beings they hope to become. Leading Lives that Matter has been an important text in many of our fellowship and grant programs, and it contains excellent resources. Click here for more information and an excerpt.