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Baylor University Institute for Faith & Learning

September 2007
Volume 3, Number 2

In this newsletter:

From the Associate Director
Faith, Learning, and Young Scholars at Baylor
Recent Events
Retreat for New Faculty and Student Life Staff Held in May
Baylor University Medical Ethics Conference Held during Summer
Crane Scholars News
Lilly Fellows Program Regional Undergraduate Conference Convenes at Baylor
Roberts and Woods Publish Intellectual Virtues with Oxford University Press
Take Note
Inaugural Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture to Focus on Friendship
Recent Books on Faith and Learning
Calendar of Events
Upcoming at Baylor
Upcoming beyond Baylor

From the Associate Director

Faith, Learning, and Young Scholars at Baylor

Darin H. Davis
Darin H. Davis

Though this section of our newsletter is always devoted to a column from the director, my colleague Douglas Henry has asked me to offer a few reflections on the work of the Institute from my perspective as its associate director. I am honored to do so.

I want to share with you a few words about a remarkable event that happened recently here at Baylor, one that no news outlet wrote about or even knew of. Perhaps it is remarkable to only a few of us, but of course, some of the most significant things often are least noticed.

At the end of a hot, hectic day last week, more than 150 academically gifted Baylor sophomores packed the Reading Room in Alexander Hall to think about the integration of faith, learning, and vocation. After feasting on pizza, cookies, and soft drinks and mingling with one another, the crowd of students took their seats and listened intently while Dr. Peter Candler, assistant professor of theology in the Honors College, offered a compelling paper titled “‘God is Dead’ and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself.” Drawing on Friedrich Nietzsche’s well-known line from The Gay Science, Candler asked his audience to think of how an authentic Christian community might respond to Nietzsche’s challenge and how that community might be powerfully expressed in the life of a university like Baylor.

The students gathered at the invitation of the William Carey Crane Scholars Program, an initiative that IFL began eight years ago. The Crane Scholars Program is named after Baylor’s fourth president, who served the University at Independence from 1863-85. Crane was a remarkable man, perhaps the most widely read Baylor educator before the twentieth century. Classically trained, he was a student’s student, someone who sought to relate the best of human learning to Christian faith. It is particularly fitting, then, that the Crane Scholars Program takes some of Baylor’s best undergraduates and encourages them to explore in a substantive and rigorous manner the connections between the life of the mind and the life of faith, just as Crane did many years ago.

The program does this in a variety of ways, especially by convening dinner and discussion gatherings at the homes of Baylor faculty members where students engage in spirited conversations about a reading that focuses on the relationship between faith and reason, but also by hosting special scholarly presentations throughout the year and an extraordinary retreat each spring. The program also sponsors a group of “Cranes” on a trip each year to a major academic conference to introduce them firsthand to examples of Christian scholarship at its best; last year students traveled to the University of Notre Dame. Those gathered in the Alexander Reading Room last week came to hear about the program. Given the size of the crowd and their evident interest, this year’s selection process will be difficult. Only twenty new sophomores enter the program each year.

"...the Crane Scholars Program takes some of Baylor’s best undergraduates and encourages them to explore in a substantive and rigorous manner the connections between the life of the mind and the life of faith, just as Crane did many years ago."

The Crane Scholars Program was founded with another aim in mind: to help enable and equip the next generation of Christian teachers and scholars. Christian historian Nathan Hatch has written, “College faculty and administrators have no greater responsibility than to nurture a new generation of Christian thinkers. This means going the second mile to shepherd the young people who have the potential to be the next generation of Christian scholars.” The Crane Scholars Program ventures to go this extra mile and thereby hopes to lead some of the best and brightest students at Baylor to begin thinking of an academic career as a form of Christian service.

As good as the pizza was, I am convinced that the crowd we attracted sought more than a free supper. The students gathered represent a broad range of majors and academic interests; while most of them are from Texas, many come from other states. What they share—and what says much about Baylor’s present—is a dedication to their faith and a desire to understand more deeply how it informs (or perhaps should inform) their whole lives—intellectually, morally, and spiritually. In a word, these students are seeking to live authentically, from where they stand. They are rightly suspicious of attempts, sometimes present in the culture around us, to belittle, sequester, or altogether dispense with matters of faith. And Baylor is uniquely gifted to offer both challenge and encouragement to such students.

Imagine the contribution that some of these young people might make to church-related higher education in the next ten, twenty, or thirty years. Think of their service to their disciplines—physics, literature, economics, chemistry, music, philosophy—but consider also their effect on generations of students to come.

To be sure, the Crane Scholars Program is but one way that Baylor is seeking to fulfill its own institutional vocation; indeed, it is but one of the things that IFL does. But it is particularly significant work because it represents what is for many of us at the heart of the matter—being devoted to students as whole persons and committed to helping them discern and then live out their divine calling. Christ called us to love the Lord completely, with all our hearts, souls, and minds. We can do no less for the students we have been called to teach.

Baylor’s present is bright: incredibly gifted students interested in matters of faith and reason are coming here in large numbers. And there are countless reasons to be hopeful about Baylor’s future: if we carefully nurture our students, they may contribute mightily to Christian higher education at Baylor and elsewhere in years to come. But as I watched the crowd of students a few nights ago, I also was thankful for Baylor’s past as I reflected about how Baylor changed my own life when I was a graduate student here thirteen years ago.

And as I slipped into the night and headed homeward in the company of two colleagues and friends—all three of us talking about the paper we had heard and that large group of bright students who gathered with us—I couldn’t help but think that William Carey Crane, whose name and inspiration had been invoked earlier that evening—would have been very pleased.

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Recent Events

Retreat for New Faculty and Student Life Staff Held in May

On May 14-18, the Institute collaborated with the Division of Student Life to sponsor a retreat at Laity Lodge in the Hill Country west of San Antonio for new Baylor faculty and staff in Student Life. Vocation: Integrating Faith, Learning, and Living gathered these two groups for an unprecedented opportunity to reflect upon their roles as professionals, scholars, and teachers and the Christian ideas and practices that animate their shared aims.

The retreat was led by four invited guests: Anton Armstrong, the Harry R. and Thora H. Tosdal Professor of Music at St. Olaf College, conductor of the St. Olaf Choir, and recipient of Baylor’s 2006 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching; Paul J. Contino, Professor of Literature and Associate Director of the Center for Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University; John O’Callaghan, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Jacques Maritain Center at the University of Notre Dame; and Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Waco, now serving as pastor of First Baptist Church, Decatur, Georgia.

The week-long program included formal presentations titled “Called to What?”, “Education as a Christian Vocation”, “Putting the Academic Vocation in Christian Perspective: Faith and Hope”, and a panel discussion with Armstrong, Contino, and O’Callaghan titled “The Theological Exploration of Vocation: Implications for the Curriculum and Co-Curriculum.” Pennington-Russell led morning and evening worship services each day of the retreat.

Retreat participants offered highly positive evaluations. One participant remarked, “The retreat provided a time to re-center on my own core convictions, and also the core convictions of Baylor University. The fellowship was life changing. I feel that I have been transformed by this experience.” Another participant said, “This experience exemplified what I’d hoped joining Baylor would mean.”

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Baylor University Medical Ethics Conference Held during Summer

The second Baylor University Medical Ethics Conference under the shared leadership of Baylor's Center for Christian Ethics and the Institute for Faith and Learning was held June 8-9.

Featured speakers included: Mary Louise Bringle, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Brevard College; Therese Lysaught, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology, Marquette University; Gilbert C. Meilaender, Ph.D., Richard and Phyllis Duesenberg Professor of Christian Ethics, Valparaiso University; David Solomon, Ph.D., W. P. and H. B. White Director, Center for Ethics and Culture and Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame; Allen Verhey, Ph.D., Professor of Christian Ethics, Duke University Divinity School; and Brian Volck, M.D., Pediatrician and Volunteer Instructor, Medicine and Pediatric Residency Program, University of Cincinnati. The conference series is funded in part through the Baylor Horizons program, an initiative for the exploration of vocation, funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc.

Attendees included medical doctors, hospital chaplains, nurses, and other medical professionals. Conference organizers also were pleased to have participation by students, including representatives of Baylor's Medical Humanities program, BU MEDS (Baylor University Medical Ethics Discussion Society), and even a pre-med student who accompanied her father, himself a practicing physician, to the conference.

Planning for the next conference already has begun. The dates have been set for June 13-14, 2008. Details about the next conference will be added to the Center for Christian Ethics' website, www.ChristianEthics.ws, as they become available. To be added to the mailing list for this event, contact the Center for Christian Ethics at (254) 710-3774.

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Crane Scholars News

The Crane Scholars Program, an initiative directed by IFL for academically excellent Baylor undergraduates interested in the connections between faith, learning, and vocation, enjoyed an eventful spring and now looks forward to a promising academic year.

On March 23-25, the Crane Scholars Program held its annual retreat at Moon River Ranch outside Waco.  Its theme was What is a Christian University? The Reverend Dr. Simon Oliver, a clergyman in the Church of England and a professor of theology at the University of Wales at Lampeter, led a group of thirty-three Crane Scholars on a three-day exploration of the distinctive intellectual, moral, and spiritual dimensions of the Christian university. The annual retreat provides Crane Scholars the opportunity for sustained reflection on the intellectual life as a form of Christian vocation.

In early May, the Crane Scholars Program bid farewell to Michael Hanby, who served as the program’s director and co-leader of the sophomore class cohort for three years. At an end-of-year luncheon, Dr. Hanby characterized his experience with the Crane Scholars Program as the most rewarding part of his experience at Baylor. The Crane Scholars Program is enormously grateful to him for his devoted service. Dr. Hanby has joined the faculty of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Catholic University of America. Darin Davis, IFL associate director, has assumed leadership of the program.

On August 28, Dr. Davis and other program leaders hosted a recruitment event that drew an unprecedented crowd of over 150 students. For addition details, see Dr. Davis’s column above.

As the program begins to a new academic year, it also welcomes new cohort leadership. This year’s senior cohort will be led by: Michael Beaty, professor and chair of philosophy; Douglas Henry, associate professor of philosophy in the Honors College, faculty master of Brooks Residential College, and IFL director; and David Jeffrey, Distinguished Professor of Literature and Humanities.  Davis joins Todd Buras, assistant professor of philosophy, as a leader of the sophomore cohort.  The junior cohort will continue to be led by Peter Candler, assistant professor of theology in the Honors College, and Michael Foley, assistant professor of patristics in the Honors College.

Finally, the Crane Scholars Program expresses its deep gratitude to Virginia and Chris Kearney, adjunct instructor of English and associate professor of biology, respectively, who last spring completed long-time service as faculty leaders of the senior cohort.  The Kearneys were among the first faculty cohort leaders of the program and served generously and graciously for several years.

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Lilly Fellows Program Regional Undergraduate Conference Convenes at Baylor

Under the direction of IFL, twenty-five undergraduate students gathered at Baylor February 22-24 for a Lilly Fellows Program regional undergraduate conference titled “What Real Friends Are For: Goodness, Vocation, and the Quest for Goodness”.

Intended for outstanding undergraduates who have academic promise and are open to considering a vocation of service to church-related higher education, the conference was led by Charles Pinches (University of Scranton), Jeanne Heffernan Schindler (Villanova University), and Paul Wadell (St. Norbert College). Student participants represented Abilene Christian University, Baylor, Bethune-Cookman University, Concordia University of Austin, the University of Dallas, the University of the Incarnate Word, Mercer University, Samford University, and Xavier of Louisiana. Philosophy faculty Robert Kruschwitz and Margaret Watkins Tate joined Darin Davis, IFL associate director, as discussion leaders.

Financial support was provided by the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts at Valparaiso University.

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Roberts and Woods Publish Intellectual Virtues with Oxford University Press

The Institute for Faith and Learning offers warm congratulations to Robert C. Roberts, Distinguished Professor of Ethics at Baylor, and W. Jay Wood, Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton College, who recently have published Intellectual Virtues: An Essay on Regulative Epistemology with Oxford University Press. Professor Roberts and Wood’s research for the book was supported in part by a fellowship granted to Professor Wood as a visiting fellow of the Institute in 2002-03.

In addition to expressing gratitude to the IFL and its founding director, Michael Beaty, Roberts and Wood write in their acknowledgements that the fellowship that supported their work “would not have existed apart from a program of improvement in the university more generally, a program called ‘Baylor 2012’, whose chief architects were Robert Sloan and Don Schmeltekopf, with high-energy implementation a little later by David Jeffrey. These men also deserve our special thanks for the wonders they worked at Baylor during the first five years of the new millennium.”

Click here for more information about Roberts and Wood’s book.

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Take Note

Inaugural Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture to Focus on Friendship

The inaugural Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture will convene October 25-27. The IFL's newest conference series aims to encourage reflective engagement with the world of public ideas and issues, especially in a way that acknowledges the relevance of Christian questions, convictions, and contributions. The inaugural installment, Friendship: Quests for Character, Community, and Truth, seeks to gather a diverse group of scholars from across the disciplines and from a variety of institutions to engage the topic of friendship and its transformative possibilities—personal, civic, and spiritual.

The conference will feature an opening address by Robert D. Putnam, the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and author of the widely acclaimed Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. In addition to Putnam, plenary presentations will be offered by C. Stephen Evans, Paul J. Griffiths, Thomas Hibbs, Alan Jacobs, Dominic Manganiello, Mary Nichols, Charles Pinches, Robert C. Roberts, Nancy Sherman, Paul Wadell, and Carolinne White. Over 100 contributed papers also will be presented.

Additional conference details, a complete schedule and registration information, are available at www.baylor.edu/ifl/friendship.

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Recent Books on Faith and Learning

Christianity and the Soul of the University: Faith as a Foundation for Intellectual Community. By Douglas V. Henry and Michael D. Beaty, eds. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006. Pp. 192. $24.99 paper.

The Decline of the Secular University. By C. John Somerville. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Pp. 158. $22.00 cloth.

Doing More With Life: Connecting Christian Higher Education to a Call to Service. By Michael R. Miller. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2007. Pp. 242. $29.95 paper.

Education, Religion, and Society: Essays in Honor of John M. Hull. By Dennis Bates, Gloria Durka, and Frierich Schweitzer. Oxford: Routledge, 2006. Pp. 276. $135.00 cloth.

The Future of Baptist Higher Education. By Donald D. Schmeltekopf and Dianna M. Vitanza. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2006. Pp. 274. $34.95 paper.

The Passionate Intellect: Incarnational Humanism and the Future of University Education. By Norman Klassen and Jens Zimmermann. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006. Pp. 208. $16.99 paper.

Renewing Minds: Serving Church and Society through Christian Higher Education. By David S. Dockery. Nashville, TN: Holman Academic, 2007. Pp. 288. $19.99 paper.

The State of the University: Academic Knowledges and the Knowledge of God. By Stanley Hauerwas. Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2007. Pp. 232. $34.95 paper.

The Vocation of the Christian Scholar: How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind. By Richard T. Hughes. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005. Pp. 145. $15.00 paper.

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Calendar of Events

Upcoming at Baylor

September 4, 2007

The Political Captivity of the Church?
John Wilson, Editor, Books & Culture
Brown Bag Luncheon, Morrison 100, 12:30-1:30 p.m
Institute for Faith and Learning
October 25-27, 2007

Friendship: Quests for Character, Community, and Truth
Inaugural Baylor Symposium on Faith and Culture
Institute for Faith and Learning

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Upcoming beyond Baylor

September 13-15, 2007

Pluralism, Politics, and God? Considering Rational Theism in the Public Sphere
Newman Centre
McGill University, Montréal, Canada
October 11-13, 2007

Reimagining Educational Excellence
Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning
Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan
October 12-13, 2007

The Philosophical Legacy of Dietrich von Hildebrand
The Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project and the M.A. Philosophy Program at Franciscan University
Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, Ohio
October 19-21, 2007

Three Mirrors: Reflections on Faithful Living; The Legacy of Robert Shaw, Flannery O'Connor, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The 2007 Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts
17th Annual National Conference
Mercer University, Macon, Georgia
November 9-11, 2007

The Christian Worldview and the Academy
The Witherspoon Institute
Princeton, New Jersey
November 29-December 1, 2007

The Dialogue of Cultures
Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana

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IFL Staff Members:

Douglas Henry

Darin Davis
Associate Director

Ronny Fritz
Assistant Director

Vickie Schulz
Administrative Assoc.

Institute for Faith & Learning
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97270
Waco, TX  76798-7270
(254) 710-4805 (phone)
(254) 710-4713 (fax)

E-mail: IFL@baylor.edu

Web site:

School children and students
who love God should never say: "For my part I like Mathematics"; "I like French"; "I like Greek." They should learn to like all these subjects, because all of them develop that faculty of attention which, directed toward God, is the very substance of prayer.

Simone Weil

It will not do to say that the determination of character by
the structure of the DNA molecule is a fact that any child must learn to understand, but that the determination of all proper human purposes to the glory of God is an opinion that anyone is free to accept or reject. The question of which is the real world simply cannot be permanently evaded.

Lesslie Newbigin

For not only is there genuine knowledge in faith, but for the same reason there is also a reflection on worldly being in the light of the knowledge of faith.

Hans Urs von Balthasar


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