Monmouth College has been awarded a competitive grant from the Teagle Foundation that will allow the college to host a workshop titled “Reconceiving the Secular Liberal Arts” later this year.
“It’s a really great opportunity for us to be involved in a national conversation,” associate professor of philosophy and religious studies Hannah Schell said of the workshop, which will bring contributors to campus from such colleges and universities as Williams, Vassar, Macalester and Bucknell.
“Your application was chosen from a pool of excellent submissions,” the Rev. Samuel Speers, the workshop project’s coordinator, wrote in a letter to Schell. “We were impressed by the thoughtful ways you have already been engaging questions about the secular borders of campus life.”
The grant will cover the cost of a facilitator, workshop curriculum materials, stipends for student participants and a hospitality subsidy.
Schell explained that Monmouth College plans to use the workshop to explore three primary topics: its junior-level “Reflections” courses, the redefinition of its chaplain position and the campus community’s ongoing conversations about faith, politics, tolerance and pluralism.
Schell also noted that the Monmouth College mission statement includes the line: “We honor our Presbyterian heritage and value religious diversity as we explore the spiritual dimension of human existence and the relationship between faith and knowledge.”
“The faculty reaffirmed that mission at the time of the curricular revision (in 2005), but also began an ongoing discussion about just what this assertion means,” said Schell. “This workshop will help us carry that discussion forward.”
The New York City-based Teagle Foundation was established in 1944 by Walter C. Teagle, longtime president of Standard Oil. Its major interest is strengthening liberal education by providing the intellectual and financial resources necessary to ensure that today’s students have access to challenging, wide-ranging and enriching college educations.