Current LFP Update

LFP Update 13.3

September, 2018

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) Lilly Network institutions, 2)  present and former Lilly Fellows and, 3) the LFP office at Valparaiso University.

In this Issue:

  • The 2018 LFP National Conference
  • The 2018 Workshop for Senior Administrators
  • New Lilly Postdoctoral Fellows Selected
  • Call for Applications for New Program: Lilly Faculty Fellows
  • Save the Date and Call for Papers: Regional Conference at Dordt College: The Prodigal Love of God
  • The 2017 Lilly Graduate Fellows Program Summer Conferences
  • Selection Information for the Eleventh Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows
  • Opportunities for Mentoring Programs, Small Grants, Regional Conferences, Network Exchange, and Summer Seminars
  • Upcoming Deadlines for Grants and Other Opportunities
  • From the Colloquium at Our Blog, Exiles from Eden
  • Facebook and Twitter


The 2018 LFP National Conference: Robust and Receptive Ecumenism

The 28th Annual LFP National ConferenceRobust and Receptive Ecumenism, will take place October 12 through 14, 2018, at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

The faculty, staff, and students at institutions in church-related higher education are increasingly more ecumenically diverse than the historical or present-day denominational affiliations of colleges and universities might suggest. The intent of robust and receptive ecumenism is to encourage people to speak willingly and openly from their particular Christian perspectives, ask for clarification when others’ ways of speaking need translation, and work at genuine understanding, which might include informed disagreement. Indeed, robust and receptive ecumenism does not assume that everyone must adopt a lowest common denominator stance with respect to differences. Rather, it proposes that, in order for authentic conversation to take place, people must honestly express deeply held views they hold as true.

Speakers include

  • Lisa DeBoer, Professor of Art, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California
  • Steven Harmon, Associate Professor of Historical Theology, Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs, North Carolina
  • Daniel Keating, Professor of Theology, Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit, Michigan

In addition, the Seventh Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows, which completed its three-year fellowship in 2017, will attend this year’s National Conference. The Graduate Fellows will attend a Reunion Conference the two days prior to the National Conference.

We look forward to seeing you in Holland!

For Information on the conference, click here.


The 2018 Workshop for Senior Administrators: Hiring Faculty for Mission

Immediately preceding the National Conference will be the Nineteenth Annual Workshop for Senior Administrators on the topic, Hiring Faculty for Mission. The Workshop will be held at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, October 11-12, 2018, and aims to help senior administrators at church-related colleges and universities consider ideas and best practices for hiring faculty who embrace and forward the church-related mission of their institutions. Addressing the workshop will be Dr. Margaret Freije, Provost and Dean of the College at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Dr. Mark Sargent, Provost at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. Panelists include Sister Susan Sanders, currently serving as president of the Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community and formerly holding several senior vice-presidential and academic leadership positions at Saint Xavier University and DePaul University in Chicago, and Darryl Tippens, University Distinguished Scholar at Abilene Christian University and Provost Emeritus of Pepperdine University.

Click here for schedule, travel information, etc. 


New Lilly Postdoctoral Fellows Selected 

This year, the Program received 118 completed applications from prospective candidates in humanities and arts disciplines vying for one of three Postdoctoral Fellowships the Program awarded. A selection committee of seven Valparaiso University faculty, with Program Director Joe Creech, winnowed the number of candidates to six finalists who visited the Valparaiso University campus. We are extremely pleased to announce that the committee’s three choices have each accepted the offer of the Lilly Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Jason M. Gehrke is an historical theologian, whose work explores the inter-relationships of Christology, political theology, and ethics, in both the ancient and modern world. His interests include the patristic reception of classical philosophy, the intellectual history of the Just War Tradition, and inter-religious dialogue. He earned a BA from Hillsdale College (’07), an MA in Religion from Concordia Theological Seminary (’10), and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Marquette University (’17). His dissertation, “Christus Exemplar: the Politics of Virtue in Lactantius,” conducts an extensive re-reading of Lactantius’s response to the Diocletianic Persecution.

Christine Hedlin earned her BA in English and Spanish from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, and her PhD in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in August 2018. Her research interests include nineteenth-century American literature, secular theory, American religious history, and historical approaches to the novel. Her essay “‘Was There Not Reason to Doubt?’: Wieland and Its Secular Age” has appeared in the Journal of American Studies. She is currently revising her dissertation, “Novel Faiths: Nonsecular Fiction in the Late Nineteenth-Century U.S.,” into a book manuscript that considers how American Protestants used popular religious novels to catalyze changes in their faiths. In this project, she argues that the narrative structure and formal flexibility of the novel made it a key testing ground for new beliefs that responded creatively, resiliently, to seismic events like the rise of Darwinian evolution, the death toll of the Civil War, and the failures of Reconstruction. Christine has previously held interdisciplinary fellowships with the University of Illinois’s Network for Neuro-Cultures and the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.

Cassandra Painter is a religious and cultural historian of modern Germany. She earned her BA in History, summa cum laude, from the College of Idaho in 2010, her MA from the University of Rochester in 2012, and her PhD from Vanderbilt University in August 2018. In 2016-2017, she was a Fellow at the University of Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study. Her research, which has been supported by a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship as well as Fulbright Scholarship, focuses on lived religion in the modern world, in the uses of culture to express identity, and the ways in which faith traditions evolve and adapt over time and space. Her dissertation examines the life and subsequent cult of veneration of stigmatic and visionary Anna Katharina Emmerick (1774-1824), using her as a recurring touchstone in an examination of how German Catholics created meaning and built community in modern Germany; who was able to participate in this process; and how Catholics’ understanding of themselves, their faith and their place in Germany evolved over time.

They join current fellows Ashleigh Elser in religious studies and Daniel Silliman in American studies.


New Lilly Network Program: Lilly Faculty Fellows Program

The Lilly Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities is happy to announce a new program—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: (1) refresh and enliven a sense of calling for participants as people of faith, as teachers, and scholars; (2) provide a space for creative exploration of how Christian thought and practice intersect the academic vocation; and (3) 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.

This program is a pilot for a new, ongoing Faculty Fellows initiative in the LFP, so we especially seek faculty interested in a creative exploration of how to engage these topics and emphases, and we seek a rich disciplinary and ecumenical mix of participants. The funded campus projects likewise will be sites for creativity and experimentation in ways to examine, cultivate, and enliven faculty engagement with Christian thought and practice as experienced on church-related campuses.

The Program

We will select eight teams of two Fellows each, from eight different Network Schools. Each team will participate in a two-year program that includes four conferences in Indianapolis and Chicago. We will also provide start up funds of $10,000 to each participating team to inaugurate a Lilly Faculty Fellows Program on its own campus. Individual Fellows also will be awarded a $5000 honorarium for participation.  The program will commence in June, 2019 and conclude in June 2021.

Click here for Dates and Schedule, Eligibility, and Application Information

Application Deadline is November 15.

Applicants will be notified of their status by February 1.


Save the Date and Call for Papers: Regional Conference at Dordt College on “The Prodigal Love of God,” April 4-6, 2019

On April 4-6, 2019, Dordt College and the Andreas Center for Reformed Scholarship and Service, in partnership with the Lilly Fellows Program, will host a conference titled “The Prodigal Love of God: Reencountering Dordt at 400 and Beyond.” Confirmed speakers include Marilynne Robinson, Richard Mouw, James K.A. Smith, Jemar Tisby, Paul Lim, Tish Harrison Warren, and Suzanne McDonald.

This year and next marks the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dort, the namesake of Dordt College. Many churches and communities have celebrated the quincentenary of the Reformation, but the Synod of Dort does not loom so large in the popular imagination. For some, even members of the Protestant tradition, Dort seems to leave us with a complicated historical legacy of arid doctrinalism.

However, the story of the Synod of Dort—its legacy and its place in the Christian tradition—is much broader and more generous than this. Dort should be remembered for its rigorous doctrinal disputes, but within those debates there are also profound theological truths that continue to inspire many ecumenical conversations across Christian traditions. In the Canons of Dordt, we encounter the prodigal love of God, who offers the blessing of the gospel “to all persons promiscuously and without distinction.” This theological message is something that has shaped and reformed Protestant communities for four hundred years. Through invited plenaries and panel discussions, our conference will feature conversations about the historical legacy and the future of Protestantism as well as the opportunities facing the global church in the decades ahead.

The Call for papers is now open; Proposals are due October 31, 2018.;  For Information, Click Here.


The 2018 Lilly Graduate Fellows Program Summer Conferences

A key component of the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is its summer conferences. Following an inaugural conference at the start of the three-year program, the Fellows meet with their mentors and other scholars on three occasions; the mentors host the first two conferences typically at their home institutions. These conferences continue the conversations and friendships that develop over the course of the online colloquium and provide a setting for a more focused conversation about a particular issue or text. These are also times of intellectual and spiritual renewal and refreshment.

From August 11-15, 2018, the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program continued its tradition of holding each cohort’s final summer conference at Saint John’s University, in Collegeville, Minnesota. Cohort Eight, with mentors Patrick Byrne (Boston College) and Susan VanZanten (Valparaiso University), spent several lovely days on the Minnesota Benedictines’ campus, taking in the renowned architecture, the religious and cultural treasures housed there, and the serenity of the setting. The group stayed in the Abbey Guesthouse, attended mass and prayers at the Abbey Church, and visited the many individual chapels in the Abbey’s undercroft. They received an introduction to the Saint John’s Bible and were able to view the gallery of pages that are part of this monumental work. Treasured manuscripts from the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library were displayed, too, with commentary on their meaning, acquisition and storage. A trip to the Saint John’s Pottery studio reminded everyone of the deep and spiritual connections between nature, the artist, and the admirer and/or consumer of the art. The group enjoyed a traditional Japanese tea and discussion with Master Potter Richard Bresnahan.  Down the road from Saint John’s is their partner institution, the College of Saint Benedict. The group drove to St. Ben’s and took a tour of the monastery, followed by a walk to the gallery of artistic needlepoint by nuns from the monastery, housed in the campus’s Haehn Museum. The group also spent time with two guest speakers, Joel Davis (Samford University) and Mary Henold (Roanoke College), who graciously offered their wisdom on adapting to different kinds of classrooms and institutions, as well as their good humor in conversation, and even song! In study, Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead served as a focal point of the conference, as the group spent two sessions engaged in rich discussion of this contemplative text. Saint John’s, Saint Benedict’s, and everyone the group met at both places, extended their usual, characteristic hospitality, and everyone left the conference with gratitude for the time spent there.

Cohort Nine, with its mentors Doug Henry (Baylor University) and Gretchen Van Dyke (The University of Scranton), met for its second campus conference at The University of Scranton on July 28-31, 2018. The conference theme was “Marked By the Sign of the Cross: Living Blessed Lives in the Midst of Faith and Doubt.” The group’s consideration of the faith/doubt continuum began with biblical texts: the story of Abraham and Sarah, the complex person of Peter, and some important Psalms illustrating the wide range of biblical accounts of hardship and uncertainty. They spent a beautiful day at The University of Scranton’s Chapman Lake Conference and Retreat Center, the perfect setting to reconnect with each other, share a meal, and start an invigorating discussion, which lasted for the rest of the conference. C. S. Lewis’s classic book A Grief Observed, paired with Immaculée Ilibagiza’s Left to Tell, hermemoir of surviving the Rwandan genocide, provided a challenging entry point into discussing personal, national, and human tragedy, and how to go on, and maintain faithfulness, in the midst of great loss. The group also screened the film Of Gods and Men, which brought into focus the fears, trials, courage, and faith of a group of Trappist monks besieged by vocational uncertainty amid unrest in Algeria. Ron Hansen’s novel Exiles, Flannery O’Connor’s prayer journal, and the poems of Denise Levertov also contributed their riches to the discussion. The group toured the city, sampled its food and culture, and met with several of The University of Scranton’s senior administrators, including the president and provost. Cohort Nine will convene for its final conference next summer (2019), at St. John’s University, in Collegeville, Minnesota.

The newest group of Graduate Fellows, Cohort Ten, met for its first campus conference in the summer of 2018. From August 4-7, they met at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. The group’s mentors, Prof. Lisa DeBoer, from Westmont College, and Prof. John Ware, from Xavier University in Louisiana, structured the conference around the theme of “Learning In and Learning from Middlemarch,” focusing study and discussion around George Eliot’s classic novel. Westmont’s Prof. Cheri Larsen Hoeckley led the group in considering the various kinds of learning portrayed by Eliot. The risks of scholarship in isolation, the community’s role in education, and the contested meaningfulness of academic work were a few of the important threads of discussion. At leisure, the group explored the beautiful Westmont College campus and the picturesque surrounds in Montecito and Santa Barbara. The conference also incorporated worship at Old Mission Santa Barbara, a look at the Mission’s archives, and even a picnic on the beach! On the final day of the conference, the mentors convened a panel of scholars from Westmont to share experiences and advice about the classroom—lessons learned from their first years of college teaching. Some of this group’s young scholars will begin teaching during the current academic year, which made this panel discussion especially timely. At the conclusion of this academic year, Cohort Ten will find its way to New Orleans, to meet again at Xavier University of Louisiana.


Selection Information for the Eleventh Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows


It is time to continue the process of selecting the Eleventh Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows who will be entering graduate school in the fall, 2019. Each network school can nominate up to three students for the Lilly Graduate Fellowships. Students are eligible for the Lilly Graduate Fellowship who plan to enter PhD or comparable programs in fall, 2019, and received a bachelor’s degree from your institution after April, 2014.  For additional eligibility requirements, click hereThe deadline for nominations is November 14, 2018.

We made important changes last year regarding the nomination and applications process.  In order to make the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program financially sustainable, we will now inaugurate a new group of fellows every two years, rather than every year, while nevertheless continuing to select finalists every year. Thus, we will continue to ask for nominations each year, so that deserving students will not miss their chance to apply for this fellowship. Finalists chosen this academic year (2018-19) will be interviewed along with finalists from the previous year to be appointed to the Lilly Graduate Fellowship in fall, 2019.

LFP Representatives are responsible for nominating applicants, and we are in the process of mailing promotional materials to you. The time is now to begin preparation for nominating students from your school. For more information, please click here or contact us here.


Update on the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program

This year is the first year the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program will select biennial cohorts. Even thought the LFP will select a cohort every other year, it will select finalist each year. This year, the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program received 45 nominations from 21 Lilly Network schools. From these 45, 31 applied, and a selection committee of 8 is in the process of selecting finalists who will be interviewed in Indianapolis in April, 2019. They will be interviewed along with finalists selected next year. This upcoming cohort, the eleventh, will be mentored by Angela Christman of Loyola University Maryland and Mark Ruff of Saint Louis University.

A very special thanks to all of you who nominated your students for this highly competitive fellowship.  Your hard work keeps this program vital, as does the education and formation that our Fellows receive at your institutions. Again, thank you.

The three active cohorts will attend conferences throughout the summer. In August, 2018, the Eighth Cohort mentored by Susan VanZanten of Seattle Pacific University and Patrick Byrne of Boston College, will host their concluding campus conference at the Saint John’s Guesthouse at Saint John’s University.  Mentor Gretchen J. Van Dyke of The University of Scranton, along with Doug Henry of Baylor University, will host the Ninth Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows at The University of Scranton in July, 2018. Lisa DeBoer of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, along with mentor John Ware of Xavier University of Louisiana, will host the Tenth Cohort of Lilly Graduate Fellows for their first campus conference at Westmont College in August, 2018.

The Seventh Cohort of Graduate Fellows, mentored by Paul Contino of Pepperdine University and Susan Felch of Calvin College, which completed its three-year fellowship in summer 2017, will come together this fall for a Reunion Conference on October 11-12, 2018, two days prior to the Annual National Conference at Hope College (October 12-14, 2018). At the end of their reunion, members of the cohort will join the other participants of the National Conference.


Deadlines for Grants and Other Opportunities

The next series of programs that will receive funding are: Mentoring ProgramsSmall GrantsNetwork Exchanges, and Regional Collaboration and Conferences. Proposals for the programs are due September 15, 2019


Fellowship Programs:
The deadline for submitting up to three nominees for the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program is November 14, 2018.

The Deadline to apply for the Lilly Faculty Fellows Program is November 15, 2018.

The deadline for applications for the 2019-2021 Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowships in Humanities and the Arts is Wednesday, January 9, 2019.


Applications to participate in the LFP Network Exchange at Azusa Pacific College is October 22, 2018.

Paper Proposals for the Regional Conference at Dort College on “The Prodigal Love of God” are due October 31, 2018

For more information, visit the LFP website.


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

Lilly Fellows Program Office Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

The Lilly Fellows Program National Office will be closed for the Thanksgiving Holiday from November 19 to November 26, 2018.

September LFP Update

The Current LFP Update for September, 2018 is now available. Click here.

Applications for the Lilly Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship at Valparaiso University

To Apply for the Lilly Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship at Valparaiso University, Click Here. Applications are due January 9, 2019, submitted through Interfolio.

Lilly Faculty Fellows Program

We are happy to introduce a new initiative, the Lilly Faculty Fellows Program. For more information, click here.

Save the Date and Call for Papers: Regional Conference at Dordt College on “The Prodigal Love of God,” April 4-6, 2019

On April 4-6, 2019, Dordt College and the Andreas Center for Reformed Scholarship and Service, in partnership with the Lilly Fellows Program, will host a conference titled “The Prodigal Love of God: Reencountering Dordt at 400 and Beyond.” For More information and the Call for Papers, Click Here.

Announcing the Winner of the 2018 Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Performing Arts

The Winner of the 2018 Arlin G. Meyer Prize in Performing Arts is Blis Devault, Xavier University (Cincinnati), for A Slice of Pie: A Love Story. For more information and a list of 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.

Follow the Exiles from Eden Blog!

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