Teaching the Christian Intellectual Tradition

Samford University’s Teaching the Christian Intellectual Tradition Project seeks to promote a national conversation about the place of the Christian intellectual tradition in higher education. In particular, we are interested in helping faculty from across the disciplines to develop effective strategies for teaching this tradition, cultivating younger scholars who are still mastering their craft while providing opportunities for more experienced faculty to explore and experiment with new pedagogies. Under the leadership of the University Fellows Program and in partnership with local and national organizations, the TCIT Project hosts conferences, seminars, speakers and roundtables throughout the year, including a biennial national conference and a biennial residential summer institute.

National Programs

Teaching the Christian Intellectual Tradition Conference

This biennial conference provides an opportunity for scholars from across the disciplines to share ideas about teaching Christianity’s rich intellectual heritage to today’s undergraduates. Samford University is committed to teaching this heritage through its core curriculum and University Fellows Great Books honors program, and we seek to create a network of universities and scholars devoted to similar ends. Each conference focuses on a different figure or theme and equips undergraduate faculty with effective strategies for teaching the tradition in a variety of courses across the curriculum.

Teaching the Christian Intellectual Tradition Summer Institute

Designed for faculty who often teach outside their disciplines in great books, core curriculum, and general education courses, this week-long biennial seminar provides liberal arts faculty from across the country with a rare opportunity to share and to develop teaching and learning strategies focused on the seminal texts of the Christian Intellectual Tradition. Limited to 12-15 faculty and openly seeking non-specialists who are crossing disciplines, these seminars are grounded in close readings of the texts and have as their goal the collegial exchange of ideas focused on how to become better teachers of the tradition.

During the week of July 9-14, 2017, University Fellows will offer its second Teaching Christian Intellectual Tradition Summer Institute, Virgil and the Modern Christian Imagination. Following 2015’s Teaching Dante’s Commedia, this institute will provide faculty from across disciplines the opportunity to explore the influence of Virgil on twentieth-century Christian poets and intellectuals as well as to discuss strategies for teaching that influence on today’s undergraduate.

2017 TCIT Summer Institute

Virgil and the Modern Christian Imagination

July 9-14, 2017

Led Dr. Bryan Johnson (Director & Professor, University Fellows), Dr. Christopher Metress (University Professor), and Dr. Shannon Flynt (Assistant Professor of Classics)

In “What is a Classic?” (1944), T.S. Eliot boldly claimed that Virgil stands “at the centre of European civilization, in a position which no other poet can share or usurp.” For Eliot, the “great ghost who guided Dante’s pilgrimage” and “led Europe towards the Christian culture which he could never know” should always guide the West because he produced not just a “universal classic,” but the “classic of all Europe.”

“Virgil and the Modern Christian Imagination” will provide faculty from across the disciplines the opportunity to explore the influence of Virgil on twentieth-century Christian poets and intellectuals, and to discuss strategies for teaching that influence to today’s undergraduates. Designed primarily for non-specialists, the seminar will open with a discussion of the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the Aeneid, and then turn to twentieth-century writers indebted to Virgil, including, but not limited to, Eliot, Haecker, Tate, Auden, Radnóti, Heaney, and Boland.

Hosted by the University Fellows Program at Samford University, these summer seminars place great value on collegiality and collaboration, combining intellectual rigor with southern hospitality. The seminar welcomes a mix of early-, mid-, and late-career faculty, and seeks to build lasting relationships that will promote teaching excellence and enrich our students’ understanding of the Christian Intellectual Tradition.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Hull Fund for Christian Scholarship, registration for the seminar is $50. Participants are responsible for the cost of their travel to and from campus, with housing, meals, course materials, and off-campus excursions covered by the University Fellows Program.

To apply, please send a short c.v. (2-3 pages) and a 250-word statement of interest to Dr. Bryan Johnson at bmjohnso@samford.edu. Both documents should be sent as attachments, and the statement of interest should discuss how this seminar is important to your professional development.

Space is limited, and the deadline is May 1, 2017. All applicants will be notified by May 15.

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