Leadership and Faculty Development Programs Address Essential Issues

​CIC’s selective leadership and faculty development programs provide rich learning environments and meaningful engagement for participants, whether held in virtual, in-person, or hybrid modes. The Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission seminar and the Executive and Senior Leadership Academies, the Humanities Research for the Public Good project, and faculty seminars including Deliberation & Debate, New Currents in Teaching Philosophy, Seminars on Science Pedagogy, Teaching Interfaith Understanding, American History, and Art History have all recently addressed essential aspects of professional development and academic excellence.

Group photo of participants
Fully vaccinated participants in the Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission seminar gathered safely at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington, July 17–21, 2021.

Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission Program

Seventeen prospective presidents met in Stevenson, Washington, July 17–21, to begin a yearlong program to discern whether serving as a college president might be part of their vocational journey. Now in its 11th offering, this distinctive leadership development program seeks to increase the number of effective presidencies of independent colleges and universities by helping prospective presidents clarify their sense of vocation, or the purpose of their life and work, and connect it to the missions of institutions they might consider serving. The program is generously funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.

“The summer seminar helped me move from thinking about a presidency to discerning whether a presidency makes sense for me,” remarked Patricia Parrish, vice president for academic affairs at Lindsey Wilson College (KY). “The focus on culture, mission, and meaningfulness allowed me to consider the real impact of a presidency on my life and my ability to give of myself to the right institution. This is a very different perspective and one that will help my husband and me make the right decision about pursuing a presidency.”

Most of the prospective presidents were joined by their spouses or partners, a signature element of the program’s distinctive approach to helping participants determine whether a presidency is in their future. Sessions addressed how community, friendship, and partnership can help prospective presidents discern, sustain, and fulfill vocational callings. Excerpts from Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me, the “Summoned Self” by David Brooks, and letters between Abigail and John Adams were some of the readings that stimulated thoughtful discussions.

Program director Fred Ohles, president emeritus of Nebraska Wesleyan University, and other experts contributed to the program. Steven and Jane Bahls, president and presidential spouse, respectively, of Augustana College (IL); Donna Carroll, president emerita of Dominican University (IL); and Rosemary Ohles, former presidential spouse of Nebraska Wesleyan University, served as facilitators. Debbie and Alan Cottrell, president and presidential spouse, respectively, of Texas Lutheran University, and Harry and Maggie Dumay, president and presidential spouse, respectively, of Elms College (MA), all former program participants, joined the facilitator team. Facilitators shared their own vocational discernment process and experiences.

Aimee Zellers, spouse of Todd Pfannestiel, chief academic officer of Utica College (NY), stated, “I thought the private consultations with the seminar leaders were beneficial. The diversity of facilitators—in professional background and personal experience—was a reflection of the experiences of the participants. This was helpful because there was always someone to approach who understood your specific need.”

Participants will continue to engage in individual consultations with program facilitators and in informal dialogues with each other throughout the year. Participants will gather again for a winter seminar, February 21–22, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia.

2021–2022 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission Participants

Andrews University (MI)
Christon G. Arthur, Provost


Berry College (GA)

Mary K. Boyd, Provost

College of Saint Mary (NE)
Sarah Kottich, Provost

Daemen College (NY)
Mimi Harris Steadman, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Strategic Management

Dominican University (IL)
Claire M. Noonan, Vice President for Mission and Planning

Franklin & Marshall College (PA)
Margaret Hazlett, Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs

Guilford College (NC)
Ara Serjoie, Vice President for Advancement

Indiana Wesleyan University
Abson Predestin Joseph, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Wesley Seminary

Lindsey Wilson College (KY)
Patricia Parrish, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Marian University (IN)
Kenith C. Britt, Senior Vice President of Strategic Growth and Innovation

Messiah University (PA)
Jon Stuckey, Executive Director of Development


Saint Michael’s College (VT)

Dawn Marie Ellinwood, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Talladega College (AL)
Charles Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Director of Sponsored Programs and Title III

Thiel College (PA)
Elizabeth Frombgen, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College

University of Scranton (PA)
Jeffrey Gingerich, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Utica College (NY)
Todd Joseph Pfannestiel, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Wartburg College (IA)
Daniel R. Kittle, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Announcing the 2022–2023 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission Program

CIC will open nominations for the 2022–2023 Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program in October. Senior administrators currently serving CIC member institutions and contemplating a college presidency are encouraged to consider this intensive professional development opportunity. Participants will be selected from nominations by current CIC presidents who believe the candidate has the potential to become an effective president.

Executive and Senior Leadership Academies

The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) is another yearlong program that prepares senior college and university administrators to succeed as college presidents. ELA participants, typically experienced provosts and vice presidents, acquire knowledge, skills, and experiences central to the work of the president. Signature program elements are two seminars during successive summers, a highly individualized Professional Experience Plan, and structured mentorship. The Academy program also includes readings, webinars, and other gatherings. The ELA is offered in partnership with the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and CIC, and it is generously supported by Academic Search. The program is led by Linda Bleicken, president of AALI and president emerita of Armstrong State University.

The 17 CIC participants in the 2020–2021 ELA cohort met virtually for their closing seminar, June 14–15, 2021. Such topics as “Trends and Challenges in Higher Education,” co-led by Richard Ekman, president emeritus of CIC, and Mildred Garcia, president of AASCU; “Presidential Leadership: What the Past Year Has Taught Us,” facilitated by Nayef H. Samhat, president of Wofford College (SC); “Presidential Contracts” led by Tyrone P. Thomas, attorney and member at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.; and “Doing the Presidency, Not Just Being the President,” led by L. Jay Lemons, president of Academic Search and president emeritus of Susquehanna University (PA), provided crucial perspectives on the work of the presidency in the independent sector. In a presentation on “Leadership and Values in Times of Crisis,” Teresa Valerio Parrot, principal at TVP Communications, emphasized the importance of building a crisis management framework based on shared values to prepare for a variety of emergencies. Participants examined crisis- management scenarios and discussed such issues as leadership’s role in the situations, staffing needs, timing and audiences for messaging, and aligning solutions with the institution’s and the community’s values.

CIC and AALI also partner on the Senior Leadership Academy (SLA), another yearlong program for mid-level administrators who aspire to senior leadership positions in independent colleges or universities. Linda Bleicken also directs this program, which is generously supported by AALI and Academic Search. The closing seminar for the 2020–2021 cohort of SLA met virtually, June 17–18, 2021. Over the two days, participants discussed such topics as “Your SLA Vision and Your Values: How Can They Guide Your Professional Leadership Pathway?” led by 2019–2020 ELA alumni Robert Kelly, vice president and special assistant to the president at Loyola University Maryland; and “Mission-Driven Financial Strategies to Support Long-Term Growth,” facilitated by 2017–2018 ELA alumna Sarah Kottich, provost of College of Saint Mary (NE). A peer-led workshop titled “Toward Antiracist Policies and Procedures on Our Campuses,” was especially well received.

The SLA concluded with lessons learned on how to build a successful team from Colette Pierce Burnette, president of Huston-Tillotson University (TX). She encouraged participants to develop “foundational must-haves” such as a strong understanding of authentic equity leadership, support for diversity in all forms (race, creed, color, age, sex, religion, thought, experience), awareness of biases, gratitude and humility, and curiosity and empathy. She shared guidelines for building successful teams, emphasizing the importance of regular communication, creating a culture of trust, building a strong foundation before crises occur, and both giving and accepting feedback. “You are the group that the baton is being passed to now. Surround yourself with those on the same mission as you,” Burnette concluded.

2020–2021 Executive Leadership Academy Participants

Alma College (MI)
Matthew P. vandenBerg, Vice President for Advancement and External Relations*


Cedarville University (OH)

Rick Melson, Vice President for Advancement

Concordia University Chicago (IL)
Erik P. Ankerberg, Provost

D’Youville College (NY)
Deborah R. Garrison, Interim Dean of Nursing

Endicott College (MA)
David Vigneron, Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Hastings College (NE)
Susan Meeske, Executive Vice President of Enrollment and Student Experience*

Mary Baldwin University (VA)
Ty Buckman, Provost*

Midway University (KY)
William Kennedy, Vice President for Admissions and Student Affairs

St. Bonaventure University (NY)
Joseph Zimmer, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Stillman College (AL)
C. Mark McCormick, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


Trine University (IN)

John Shannon, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Trocaire College (NY)
Allyson M. Lowe, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Union College (NE)
Frankie Rose, Vice President for Academic Administration

University of Mount Union (OH)
Jeffrey Breese, Provost

University of Puget Sound (WA)
Lorna Hernandez Jarvis, Vice President for Institutional Equity and Inclusion

Voorhees College (SC)
Ronnie Hopkins, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs*

Wilberforce University (OH)
Edward Louis Hill, Vice President for Academic Affairs*

*Title when accepted into the program

2020–2021 Senior Leadership Academy Participants

Alverno College (WI)
Jodi Eastberg, Dean of the School of Professional and Graduate Studies


Augsburg University (MN)

Monica Devers, Dean of Professional Studies and Graduate Education

Augustana College (IL)
Kristin Renee Douglas, Associate Dean of the College

Capital University (OH)
Stephanie Gray Wilson, Assistant Provost for Experiential Learning

Carson-Newman University (TN)
Shawn O’Hare, Dean of the School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

Centenary College of Louisiana
Cory Wikan, Acting Dean, Hurley School of Music

Central College (IA)
Brian Joseph Peterson, Associate Dean of Curriculum and Faculty Development

Coe College (IA)
Mario Affatigato, Assistant to the President for Special Initiatives and Chair of the Department of Physics

College of Saint Benedict (MN)
Barbara J. May, Academic Dean

Colorado Christian University
Ryan Hartwig, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Columbia College Chicago (IL)
Ames Hawkins, Associate Provost for Faculty Research and Development

Culver-Stockton College (MO)
Julie Straus, Chair, Division of Business, Education, and Law; Associate Professor of Accounting

DePaul University (IL)
Phillip Funk, Associate Dean for Health Programs and Initiatives

Flagler College (FL)
Wayne Riggs, Dean of Flagler College in Tallahassee

Hastings College (NE)
Annette M. Vargas, Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities; Director of Advising

Houghton College (NY)
J. Michael Jordan, Dean of the Chapel

Juniata College (PA)
Philip Dunwoody, Director of General Education and Assessment, Professor of Psychology

Kenyon College (OH)
Sheryl Hemkin, Associate Provost and Professor of Chemistry

Lane College (TN)
Kimberly Lebby, Director of Institutional Research

Mary Baldwin University (VA)
Carey L. Usher, Associate Provost


Midway University (KY)

Carrie Christensen, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs

McMurry University (TX)
Matthew Draud, Vice President for Academic Affairs

New York Institute of Technology
Sheri Elizabeth Kelleher, Assistant Provost

Notre Dame de Namur University (CA)
Melissa Book McAlexander, Assistant Provost for Faculty Affairs and Interim Dean

Point Loma Nazarene University (CA)
Holly Irwin, Vice Provost, Academic Administration

Quincy University (IL)
Ken Oliver, Director of MS ED in Counseling; Chair of Education; Professor of School and Community Counseling

Randolph College (VA)
Elizabeth A. Perry-Sizemore, Professor of Economics

Robert Morris University (PA)
Maria Kalevitch, Associate Provost for Innovation and Outreach; Dean, School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science

Saint Leo University (FL)
Shadel Hamilton, Senior Associate Vice President, WorldWide Operations

St. Catherine University (MN)
Tarshia L. Stanley, Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences

Susquehanna University (PA)
Katherine H. Straub, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences

The College of St. Scholastica (MN)
Bret Amundson, Dean of the School of Arts and Letters

Trinity University (TX)
David Ribble, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

University of Lynchburg (VA)
Bill Lokar, Dean of Lynchburg College of Arts and Sciences

University of Redlands (CA)
Gabrielle Alejandra Singh, Associate Vice President of Advancement

Ursinus College (PA)
Kelly D. Sorensen, Associate Dean of the College and Professor of Philosophy

Warner Pacific University (OR)
Elizabeth DuPriest, Division Chair, Natural Sciences and Health

Wilson College (PA)
Joshua Legg, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Director, MFA

Two photos: 1. Speaker at podium; 2. participants seated at roundtables
Left: The Deliberation & Debate workshop included a presentation by Angela Minor, associate professor in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications and director of the Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Forensics Program at Howard University. Minor provided a case study about the history and challenges of Howard’s competitive inter-scholastic mock trial and debate programs. Right: Workshop participants listening to a session on discussing difficult questions.

Deliberation & Debate Workshops

The first workshop in a new series—Deliberation & Debate: Advancing Civil Discourse through Courses for First-Year Students—took place in Washington, DC, July 25–28, 2021. Nineteen teams of two faculty members participated in the workshop. CIC developed the Deliberation & Debate workshops in response to an increasing number of episodes on campuses that raise questions about students’ readiness to engage controversy with respect for a diversity of ideas and opinions. The workshops prepare faculty members to use techniques such as logical argument, the use of evidence, and empathic listening in courses taken by a large proportion of first-year students. Michael Gilligan, CIC senior advisor and president emeritus of the Henry Luce Foundation, leads the program. The series is generously supported by the Charles Koch Foundation.

On the first full day of the workshop, Robert Groven, associate professor and co-chair of the communications studies, film, and new media department at Augsburg University (MN), outlined the principles of argumentation and debate. Using his years of experience teaching debate and directing the Minnesota Urban Debate League, he advised participants on how to integrate skillful debate and argumentation into their classes. While outlining the Toulmin method of argument—in which every argument begins with three fundamental parts: the claim, the grounds, and the warrant—Groven shared topics for interpretive arguments that could be used in first-year classrooms and explained why he preferred arguments with right and wrong sides. “You can’t learn how to argue, you can’t have good arguments,” Groven said, “unless you can learn how to be wrong.”

On the second day, Sara Mehltretter Drury, associate professor and chair of the department of rhetoric and director of Democracy and Public Discourse at Wabash College (IN), focused on “Teaching for Democracy through Deliberative Pedagogy.” Complementing Groven’s discussion of argument- based learning experiences, Drury expanded on ways to have meaningful conversation, using a model of defining problems, identifying stakeholders, exploring options, and coming to consensus about actions. Drury noted that deliberative pedagogy “can map onto many first-year assignments,” and she provided small groups with exercises and questions to consider throughout the day.

Session discussions, small group projects, and round-robin collaborations explored a wide-range of topics and strategies. Jack Musselman, associate professor of philosophy at St. Edward’s University (TX) observed, “The speakers provided trenchant and helpful suggestions for how to incorporate debate and deliberation into the first-year curriculum, and I plan to revise my own classes accordingly. In our current hyper-partisan era where any political discussion seems practically impossible, the workshop presenters provided essential tools for training college students to engage in democratic discussions in ways that can advance our country’s collective self-governance. And meeting faculty colleagues in many other disciplines from other colleges provided opportunities to compare and contrast how we all pursue this goal.”
The workshop concluded with a conversational session between Marjorie Hass, president of CIC, and Mary Dana Hinton, president of Hollins University (VA), on “Creating an Environment for Discussing Difficult Questions.” Hinton noted, “The worst situation on campus is when we don’t engage in difficult conversations. When as people, we don’t try to learn—when we assume that the campus is unidirectional and that stakeholder groups are monolithic.”

At the end of the workshop, Gilligan noted, “In small group sessions and informal conversations, I learned about the creative strategies participants have already developed to engage their students at diverse institutions across the country. I look forward to hearing how this experience informs their work when they welcome new cohorts of first-year students in the weeks and years ahead.” CIC will offer a second workshop on Deliberation & Debate in summer 2022.

2021 Deliberation & Debate Participating Institutions

​Alma College (MI)
Augsburg University (MN)
Bethany College (WV)
Brevard College (NC)
Colby-Sawyer College (NH)
Converse University (SC)
Dillard University (LA)
Dominican University (IL)
Lindenwood University (MO)
Luther College (IA)
​Manchester University (IN)
Ohio Dominican University
Roanoke College (VA)
Shenandoah University (VA)
Springfield College (CT)
St. Edward’s University (TX)
Wesleyan College (GA)
Westminster College (PA)
Willamette University (OR)
Two photos: 1. Speaker on Zoom with screen share; 2. Word cloud
Created with GILeft: Modupe Labode, a curator at the National Museum of American History, discussed the role of “the public” during the first session of the Humanities Research for the Public Good workshop. Right: The virtual workshop relied on a variety of interactive tools—including live polls—to engage participants during the three sessions.MP

Humanities Research for the Public Good

After a hiatus due to the pandemic, CIC hosted an opening workshop for campus teams from 24 member institutions that received grants through the Humanities Research for the Public Good (HRPG) program. During virtual sessions on June 24, June 29, and July 1, participants learned from national experts on publicly engaged scholarship and project evaluation; gained practical advice from the veterans of a previous round of HRPG grants; and collaborated in small groups to fine-tune campus projects that will launch later this year.

The HRPG program helps CIC member institutions forge partnerships with community-based organizations to develop and promote student-led public programs that address issues of significant local concern. Each campus project begins with primary research by students based in library, archival, or museum collections held by the institution. Each project team is led by a faculty member, a collections expert (such as an archivist, curator, or librarian), and an academic administrator. Topics range widely, including the human ecology of Nebraska’s tallgrass prairie, popular reading habits in 19th-century Pennsylvania, and oral histories of Muslim immigrants in Minnesota and Hispanic immigrants in Connecticut.

The workshop began with a conversation between HRPG project director Annie Valk, executive director of the American Social History Project (CUNY Graduate Center), and Modupe Labode, a curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. The session addressed two key questions at the heart of the program: Who is the public in “public humanities,” and what is the “public good”? Drawing on her extensive experience as a public historian, college professor, and museum professional, Labode highlighted the range of potential audiences for public programs, the importance of teaching students to respect these audiences and the different types of expertise the public brings to programs, and the power of publicly engaged scholarship to promote the value of the humanities. In the end, she encouraged participants (and their students) to practice “intensive listening” to ensure that “the public comes first.”

The value of the public humanities was a major theme of the workshop. Two panels of team leaders from the first round of HRPG grant awards combined practical advice about time- and project-management with examples of how their projects engaged members of the community and transformed student researchers. The presenters showcased exemplary outcomes— including public recognition, student awards, and additional grants—and shared hard-earned lessons about working across disciplines and departments, supervising students, sharing accountability, and working with community partners.

The final day of the workshop focused on evaluation and impact. Sheri Levinsky-Raskin, founder of SJLR Solutions and former head of evaluation at New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum, led an interactive session on the principles and tools of program evaluation. Valk was then joined by CIC senior vice president Jo Ellen Parker (a former college and museum president) to discuss broader issues of impact on communities and institutions. In addition to the formal sessions, participants had opportunities to review and discuss their project plans, both with their campus teammates and with their colleagues from other institutions. The workshop included multiple breakout sessions to discuss the particular responsibilities and challenges associated with participants’ various campus roles.

The project teams will reconvene in Baltimore, Maryland, for a closing workshop in April 2022, joined by student researchers from each institution. Humanities Research for the Public Good is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Humanities Research for the Public Good Participating Institutions (2021–2022)

​Augsburg University (MN)
Bushnell University (OR)
Carlow University (PA)
College of St. Benedict (MN)
Columbia College Chicago (IL)
Defiance College (OH)
Doane University (NE)
Ferrum College (VA)
Fontbonne University (MO)
George Fox University (OR)
Goucher College (MD)
Muhlenberg College (PA)
​Saint Peter’s University (NJ)
Saint Vincent College (PA)
Springfield College (MA)
St. Lawrence University (NY)
Thiel College (PA)
Trinity College (CT)
Tusculum University (TN)
University of the Incarnate Word (TX)
Wagner College (NY)
Washington & Jefferson College (PA)
Wheaton College (MA)
Widener University (PA)
Two photos: 1. participants seated at roundtables; 2. speaker standing beside projector screen
Created with GLeft: Participants in CIC’s New Currents in Teaching Philosophy Institute explored the distinct but related challenges of doing philosophy and teaching philosophy. Right: Meghan Sullivan, Wilsey Family Collegiate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, introduced participants to the popular course she teaches on “God and the Good Life.”IMP

New Currents in Teaching Philosophy Institute

“Philosophy as a discipline is facing headwinds,” declared Ned Hall at the start of the inaugural New Currents in Teaching Philosophy Institute, which met in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 25–29, 2021. Hall is Norman E. Vuilleumier Professor of Philosophy and chair of the philosophy department at Harvard University, and director of this CIC program. Philosophers at many institutions—but especially smaller private colleges and universities—are grappling with decreased enrollments, shrinking or merging departments, new general education requirements that diminish the role of philosophy in the curriculum, and the attitudes of students (and parents) who do not see philosophy as an essential part of career preparation.

The Institute was designed to help philosophy instructors at CIC member institutions tack against these headwinds. Over five days of collaboration and intense discussions, 29 CIC faculty members and nine presenters focused on three central questions: How can we highlight the relevance of philosophy for today’s world? How can we make philosophy accessible and rewarding for students of all backgrounds? And how can we build vibrant philosophy programs that support the needs of an institution and its community? Participants also explored specific models of effective pedagogy, drawn from the courses taught by presenters at their own institutions.

As the presenters demonstrated, there are many ways to make philosophy courses relevant and appealing to students. Meghan Sullivan, Wilsey Family Collegiate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, explained how the award-winning course she leads on “God and the Good Life” taps into concerns about mental health and burnout among college students and young professionals. She reminded participants that “philosophy is a research discipline but also a caring discipline, concerned with people’s souls and happiness,” and offered strategies that encourage students to bring their own lives into the classroom. For Eric Swanson, professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, a popular course on “minds and machines” not only applies the insights of philosophy to the moral challenges of artificial intelligence and Big Data but also draws career-minded students from popular majors such as cognitive science, computer science, and engineering.

Making philosophy current and relevant also requires a more diverse approach to the traditional curriculum. Ron Sundstrom, professor of philosophy at the University of San Francisco, demonstrated how he integrates texts from the African American intellectual tradition into his courses—including work by Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, and Harriet Jacobs—by pairing them with “canonical” philosophical texts that are engaged in the same conversations. “[Douglass’s autobiography is] a political treatise in the form of a narrative,” he argued, “but so are works by Locke, Rousseau, and others.”

Hall led a session on “opening access to philosophy” that considered the related challenges of “getting students in the door and convincing them they want to stay.” One approach came from presenter Mark Schroeder, professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, who described his popular introductory course on social and moral issues. “Students show up to ethics courses wanting to talk,” he observed, “but they come out as relativists, feeling that everything has two sides.” His solution: start with meaty moral issues that students really care about—and which seem to have some consensus understanding (like the right of self-defense against an attacker)—and then add different philosophical theories and more complicated issues. Mara Harrell, teaching professor of philosophy at the University of California San Diego, offered a more structured approach: “argument mapping,” a pedagogical technique that helps students understand and then construct philosophical arguments.

One panel featured representatives from two CIC member institutions that have built vibrant philosophy programs: Connecticut College and the College of Wooster (OH). Their advice began with student-centered approaches, such as creating opportunities for students to share their research or refocusing the curriculum on “doing philosophy” instead of just studying philosophy. But they also described tactical approaches (such as building alliances with other small, vulnerable programs on campus) and strategic approaches to strengthening a philosophy program. “Always be in the room where it happens,” advised Elizabeth Schiltz, Raju Chair of East-West Philosophy at Wooster: keep an eye on your institution’s priorities and make sure that philosophers are involved in all major initiatives and activities, from the restructuring of the general education curriculum to budget meetings to student advising.

“I have never experienced anything quite like this workshop,” wrote one participant following the Institute. “The experience was overwhelmingly positive, as well as being deeply useful professionally.” After the Institute, participants were eager to implement what they had learned on their own campuses (assisted by a $1,000 implementation grant awarded to each participant). They were also eager to continue working with each other; as another philosopher noted, philosophers are not always good at working with one another, but “the Institute created a welcoming and supportive community.”

New Currents in Teaching Philosophy is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

2021 New Currents in Teaching Philosophy Participants

Augustana University (SD)
Leigh C. Vicens, Associate Professor of Philosophy


Baldwin Wallace University (OH)

Kelly Coble, Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair

Concordia University Irvine (CA)
Daniel Deen, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Converse College (SC)
Kevin DeLapp, Dr. Harold E. Fleming Chair of Philosophy and Chair, Department of Religion and Philosophy

Cornell College (IA)
Genevieve Migely, Professor of Philosophy

Grinnell College (IA)
Jennifer Dobe, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Hood College (MD)
Karen Hoffman, Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair

Illinois Wesleyan University
Andrew Engen, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Lewis & Clark College (OR)
Joel Martinez, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Loyola University Maryland
Mavis Biss, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Messiah University (PA)
Timothy Schoettle, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy

Norwich University (VT)
Daniel A. Morris, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Ohio Dominican University
Michael Dougherty, Sr. Ruth Caspar Chair and Professor of Philosophy

Randolph College (VA)
Kaija Mortensen, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Regis College (MA)
Bernard Jackson, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Rollins College (FL)
Margaret Ann McLaren, George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair and Professor of Philosophy


St. Andrews University (NC)

Timothy A. Verhey, Dean of Students and Assistant Professor of Religion and Philosophy

St. Lawrence University (NY)
Jeffrey Maynes, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy

Stetson University (FL)
Melinda Hall, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Stonehill College (MA)
Megan K. Mitchell, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

University of Mary (ND)
Donald Bungum, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

University of Mount Union (OH)
G. Scott Gravlee, Associate Professor, Philosophy and Religious Studies

University of Providence (MT)
Brendan Palla, Associate Professor of Philosophy

University of the Pacific (CA)
Eleanor E. Wittrup, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Virginia Wesleyan University
Steven Emmanuel, Professor of Philosophy

Washington & Jefferson College (PA)
Gregg Osborne, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Western New England University (MA)
Valerie Racine, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Westminster College (UT)
Kara Barnette, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Wofford College (SC)
Stephen Michelman, Professor of Philosophy

Seminar on Science Pedagogy

CIC’s second Seminar on Science Pedagogy took place virtually, July 12–16, 2021. The program is designed to improve teaching effectiveness and student learning in introductory biology, chemistry, and physics courses on CIC member campuses. The seminars use methods based on research in cognitive neuroscience, with an approach advanced by Stanford University physicist and Nobel laureate Carl Wieman and his colleagues. Support from the W. M. Keck Foundation makes this seminar possible.

Eight institutional teams, each consisting of four faculty members from one or two departments, participated in the program. In preparation for the seminar, teams spent the last academic year collecting baseline data on student learning in existing classes, reflecting on current teaching and learning practices, and beginning to examine and discuss resources on active learning and student cognition.

The seminar was facilitated by Warren Code, associate director of the Science Centre for Learning and Teaching, and Georg Rieger, associate professor of teaching in physics and astronomy, both of the University of British Columbia; and Argenta Price, research associate in Carl Wieman’s science education research group in the Stanford physics department. All three have worked with Wieman extensively and were trained by him to help faculty construct courses that align learning goals and assessment, challenge students to think deeply about increasingly complex problems, and provide the prompt and extensive feedback that is most effective in student learning. The facilitators led active sessions on topics such as cognitive load and memory, handling students’ prior knowledge, knowledge organization, deliberate practice, and backward design of courses.

All three facilitators emphasized that helping students organize their knowledge in easily retrievable ways improves learning. In addition, Rieger advised having students think on their own first to solve problems, even if they do not have all of the knowledge they need. As students work on complex problems, he said, “They are assessing their prior knowledge, activating it, and making their own connections with new knowledge, as well as identifying areas of concern.”

Code suggested that concept inventories can be used to discover students’ prior knowledge and to measure learning progress. He also asked participants to “think of teaching as a learning enterprise” and to consider the questions “To what extent is instructor motivation visible to the students? Do the students know what you think is important in the lesson, and do they understand your thought processes and decision points as you solve problems?” Harsha Sharma, professor of biology at Nebraska Methodist College, observed, “I have noticed that the environment that is supportive fosters growth mindset. It goes both ways, impacting students as well as faculty.”

In a discussion about guiding students through feedback, Price said, “Effective feedback is timely, targeted to specific areas of improvement, and can be acted upon.” She explained, “Novices tend to sort information around surface features, but experts sort by underlying principles and concepts. Experts have interconnected knowledge. As teachers, we need to help students connect and organize their knowledge.” Aida Jimenez Esquilin, biology program director and biology professor at the University of Charleston (WV), added, “The most effective feedback helps students realize ‘I missed this skill,’ not ‘I missed this question.’”

Wieman met with the group to give an overview of his and his colleagues’ work on improving science education and to lead a discussion on the value of building expertise in students through deliberative, guided practice. “Extended low-level practice is not helpful. Practice must be focused on areas of difficulty and be intense and deliberate in order to make a difference,” said Wieman. “We now know that the brain is transformed by intense thinking, which actually changes neurons and chemicals in the brain and improves connections. Deliberate, intense practice enhances neuron connections.”

During the seminar, program evaluator Sandra Webster, professor of psychology at Westminster College (PA), briefed the participants on assessment procedures and held separate focus groups with faculty and administrators. Each institutional team will introduce the new teaching and learning methods they acquired into one or two introductory science courses over the next academic year, measure the impact of the new methods, and plan to revise additional courses in the following year. Reports on progress are due in 2022 and 2023.

2021 Seminar on Science Pedagogy Participating Institutions

Albright College (PA)
Concordia University, Saint Paul (MN)
Dominican College (NY)
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University (LA)
Jarvis Christian College (TX)
Nebraska Methodist College (NE)
University of Charleston (WV)
Wingate University (NC)

American History Seminar

Eighteen faculty members in history and related fields participated in “The American Civil War: Origins and Consequences,” which took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 1–5, 2021. Led by Gary W. Gallagher, John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War Emeritus at the University of Virginia, with the assistance of Gilder Lehrman Institute master teacher Lois MacMillan, the seminar examined the war’s beginnings, scope, and consequences that continue to resonate today. Gallagher opened the first full day of the seminar with a discussion of strategies and themes to consider when teaching the Civil War, and of key moments both before and during the conflict worthy of renewed consideration. As John Bell, assistant professor at Assumption University (MA) reflected after the seminar, “It’s easy to approach the teaching of the war with what Professor Gallagher dubbed ‘Appomattox Syndrome,’ everywhere looking for signs that the Union’s victory was inevitable. Or to look at the lead up to secession as though there was only one potential outcome. Last week’s seminar recalibrated my thinking on so many of the presumed ‘turning points’ on the road to disunion and to Confederate surrender, and I’m excited to do the same for my students.”

Over the course of the seminar, discussions explored the background of the conflict; stages of the war; and the costs, consequences, and ongoing memory of the war, among other topics. The quality and wide-ranging nature of the discussions were remarked on by participants as a hallmark of the week. David Dalton, professor of history at the College of the Ozarks (MO) noted, “Thoughtful questions were in abundance. Despite going down numerous rabbit holes, we always emerged, and we left the seminar room feeling as though the day couldn’t have gone any better.”

For many of the participants, another special feature of the seminar was simply being able to meet with colleagues face-to- face once again and to have the opportunity to recharge their intellectual batteries in preparation for a new academic year. For Tracy Revels, professor of history at Wofford College (SC), “… just being around fellow historians helped improve my attitude after a year of remote work, which was incredibly isolating. Having a group where most everyone was, to a large degree, a generalist rather than a specialist in the area was very useful. Along with ideas, we shared problems and challenges.”

This was the 19th and final seminar in a long and successful series of programs held in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History (GLI). The series began in 2002 with “The Slavery Debates: Problems in Slavery Studies Today,” led by the late David Brion Davis, Sterling Professor of History Emeritus and then director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. Eleven of the later seminars were led by David W. Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History and director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition. The weeklong summer seminars, first supported by GLI and later through generous grants to CIC by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, were held annually.

2021 American History Seminar Participants

Assumption College (MA)
John Bell, Assistant Professor of History


Carroll College (MT)

Dane Cash, Associate Professor of History

Centenary University (NJ)
Raymond Frey, Professor of History

College of Ozarks (MO)
David Dalton, Professor of History

Concordia University Texas
Matthew Bloom, Associate Professor of History

DePauw University (IN)
David Gellman, Professor of History

Dominican College (NY)
Scott White, Assistant Professor of History

Friends University (KS)
Kenneth Spurgeon, Assistant Professor of History

Gustavus Adolphus College (MN)

Gregory Kaster, Professor of History

Lipscomb University (TN)
William Steele, Professor of English


Palm Beach Atlantic University (FL)

Roger Chapman, Professor of History

Saint Leo University (FL)
Daniel DuBois, Assistant Professor of History

Simmons University (MA)
Stephen Berry, Associate Professor of History

University of Evansville (IN)
Daniel Byrne, Associate Professor of History

Viterbo University (WI)
Keith Knutson, Professor of History

Webster University (MO)
Kristen Anderson, Associate Professor of History

Wofford College (SC)
Tracy Revels, Professor of History

Young Harris College (GA)
Matthew Byron, Associate Professor of History

Teaching Interfaith Understanding Seminar

This June, faculty members from a range of disciplines participated in an online seminar on Teaching Interfaith Understanding. Led by Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), and Laurie Patton, president of Middlebury College (VT), the seminar was the first of three generously funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. The seminar continues a long-running series of programs designed to help faculty members strengthen the teaching of interfaith understanding, develop new courses and resources, and expand the network of like-minded educators. Originally scheduled for June 2020, the seminar took place June 14–18, 2021, with 22 participants drawn from the 41 nominations received.

In preparation for the seminar, participants read a number of scholarly texts, including chapters from the most recently published Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education book, Hearing Vocation Differently: Meaning, Purpose, and Identity in the Multi-Faith Academy (2018), and prepared personal case studies. As Eboo Patel explained on the first day of the seminar, case studies provide “a great way to gain knowledge about how to navigate religious diversity positively” and allow participants to explore methodologies and pedagogies for interfaith topics.

Throughout the seminar, participants examined the substantial theoretical questions inherent in teaching interfaith understanding and discussed the practical work of translating these ideas into courses. The week included plenary discussions led by Patel and Patton, small group workshops led by IFYC staff on interfaith studies syllabi, and consideration of the narrative case studies.

Following the seminar, Frances Sweeney, professor of Spanish and vice president for mission at Saint Mary’s College of California, stated, “The seminar was incredibly informative and useful not only in terms of the specific interfaith content and approaches shared, but also for the inclusion of topics associated with institutional culture, change, and leadership. Having Eboo and Laurie collaborate on this seminar is critical, as they are both experts in the disciplines of religious diversity and interfaith cooperation—with one living in the external community of nonprofit and societal spheres, and the other grounded in the heart of university life and its own realities. The use of case studies is brilliant, in that they afford the opportunity to look at various levels of a topic, from the core issue to the multiple perspectives about it, and the institutional or societal layers that are also in play.”

2021 Teaching Interfaith Understanding Participants

Alverno College (WI)
Patricia Lewis, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Augustana College (IL)
Khalil Andani, Assistant Professor of Religion
Baldwin Wallace University (OH)
Ellen Posman, Professor of Religion
Bellarmine University (KY)
Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty, Professor of Theology
Bethany College (KS)
Arminta Fix, Assistant Professor of Religion
Bethel College (KS)
Jennifer Chappell Deckert, Associate Professor of Social Work
Bethune-Cookman University (FL)
William Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Religion
Campbell University (NC)
Kathryn Lopez, Associate Professor of Old Testament
Carroll University (WI)
Pascale Engelmajer, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Clark Atlanta University (GA)
Phillip Dunston, Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy
Madonna University (MI)
Joy Oslund, Associate Professor of Education
Merrimack College (MA)
Mary Kantor, Associate and Adjunct Professor of Religious and Theological Studies
Messiah University (PA)
Bernardo Michael, Professor of History
Roberts Wesleyan College (NY)
Lori Sousa-Meixell, Associate Professor of Social Work
Saint Francis University (PA)
Aniruddha Bose, Associate Professor of History and Political Science
Saint Mary’s College of California
Frances Sweeney, Professor of Spanish
Siena College (NY)
Lisa Nevarez, Professor of English
St. Catherine University (MN)
Paul Greene, Associate Professor of Theology
St. Norbert College (WI)
Andrew O’Connor, Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
University of Denver (CO)
Dheepa Sundaram, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
University of Lynchburg (VA)
Amy Merrill-Willis, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Washington & Jefferson College (PA)
Cynthia Hogan, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Teaching European Art in Context Seminar

“Materiality, Knowledge, and Art in the Early Modern Globe, c. 1350–1650” was led by Oberlin College’s (OH) Christina Neilson, associate professor of Renaissance and Baroque art history and chair of the art history department, and Erik Inglis, professor of medieval art history. Ten CIC faculty members from a variety of fields participated in the seminar that took place on June 22, 24, and 26, 2021. Generous support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation made this seminar possible.

The seminar drew upon the rich collections of Oberlin’s Allen Memorial Art Museum, with the first session focused on a portable altarpiece by Jacopo Ligozzi (1547–1626), who headed a workshop in Florence for the Medici court. The second day’s discussion centered around an ivory Afro-Portuguese salt cellar and two Hispano-Philippine ivory reliefs. These sessions allowed participants to explore the means of production and the materials used through the consideration of works produced both in Europe and in other parts of the world for European audiences.

Margaret Oakes, professor of English at Furman University (SC), remarked, “The chance to have scholarly discussions with colleagues after a year of being alone in my office and Zooming with students, the exposure to new ideas, and the obviously beautiful museum at Oberlin was great. The takeaway of the global trading routes and cultural exchange (in centuries where students never imagine that happening) was immensely eye-opening and will be a wonderful teaching tool.”

The final day of the seminar focused on pedagogical issues. Inglis suggested ways to acquire works of art that are relatively affordable, especially for campuses that are far from museums. He also described how he incorporates acquiring works of art into courses by having students suggest works in auction catalogues to bid on, and requesting them from Allen Memorial Art Museum staff.

Neilson showcased a stucco relief attributed to Andrea del Verrocchio (c.1435–1488) in the Allen’s collection, discussing how it was made, including the differences between plaster and stucco. Participants were able to consider ways to teach with works that are in poor condition, made from low-cost materials, or by unknown artists. The seminar closed with a discussion on ways to reconstruct historical “recipes,” including ambitious ones that may involve collaborating with a chemistry professor as well as recipes that students could do at home with little equipment. She emphasized the importance of teaching the creation process and reflection on the process, rather than just on the end product. “Reconstruction can be used to reflect on how an object may have been made even if we don’t know for sure,” Neilson said. For instance, faculty members and students can reconstruct stucco recipes to better understand how the Verrocchio relief may have been made.

stone carving
One of the many art objects discussed during the June art history seminar: The Conversion of St. Eustace (Hispano-Philippine, 17th century).

2021 Art History Seminar Participants

Benedict College (SC)
Jasmin Cyrail, Professor of Communication and Arts
Butler University (IN)
Peter Wang, Instructor of Art and Design
Campbell University (NC)
Maggie Horvath, Assistant Professor of Art and Design
Furman University (SC)
Margaret Oakes, Professor of English
Indiana Wesleyan University
Anne Greeley, Associate Professor of Art and Design
Kenyon College (OH)
Katherine Calvin, Assistant Professor of Art History
Marywood University (PA)
Christa Irwin, Associate Professor of Art
McDaniel College (MD)
Gretchen McKay, Professor of History
Thiel College (PA)
Ellen Lippert, Professor of Art
Wofford College (SC)
Karen Goodchild, Professor of Art and Art History