Thanks in large part to research conducted at UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, a growing number of stakeholders in higher education are pondering how greater attention to spirituality might foster a more meaningful and holistic education for college students. This past May, the John Wesley Honors College hosted a national research symposium on “spirituality and holistic learning in collegiate honors education.” The symposium was part of an ongoing book project for the National Collegiate
Honors Council that is exploring how research and the developing national dialogue on spirituality in higher education might relate to the efforts of honors programs to educate academic high achievers. The participants in the symposium hailed from a diverse range of academic communities, from public and private non-sectarian campuses to universities sponsored by the Jesuit, Franciscan, Baptist, Pentecostal, Reformed and Wesleyan Methodist traditions.
As I listened to the various presenters reflect on how their schools integrate spirituality into the learning experiences of their honors students, I was struck by two things. Firstly, I was reminded of how blessed we are in the JWHC to have the freedom and resources necessary to cultivate a community of academic excellence that embraces the fullness of human development: intellectual, moral, spiritual, interpersonal and vocational. Secondly, I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the increasing opportunities the Lord is giving us to share with the broader academy how a rigorous, holistic, liberal education forged in the historic Christian tradition can prepare students for meaningful lives of virtue and accomplishment. I hope and pray both that educators’ dissatisfaction with the reductionist nature of American higher learning will continue to grow in the years ahead and that we will have many more opportunities to embody and share the essence of the JWHC’s motto: “the glory of God is a human fully alive.”
In this second issue of the Aldersgate Review, we are delighted to share with you some of the ways that the “glory of God” has been manifested in and through our learning community (of faculty, students and alumni) during the 2011-2012 academic year. It is particularly rewarding — and a sign of the vitality of the JWHC’s educational ministry — to see more than thirty JWHC student and faculty authors contributing to the richness of this issue. We are once again indebted to Katie Karnehm (JWHC alumna and assistant professor of English at IWU) and Sara Scheunemann (JWHC program coordinator) for the tireless editorial work they devoted to integrating the work of so many contributors into the final publication. May the Lord bless you with glimpses of his glory as you read the articles,reviews and essays that follow.
Dr. David L. Riggs
John Wesley Honors College