Conference Description and Call for Proposals
From their inception in the high Middle Ages, universities saw their essential mission as the formation of their students’ character, involving the cultivation of moral and intellectual virtue animated by eternal truth. In contemporary times, many prominent critics of higher education lament that the modern academy has all but forgotten—even rejected—character formation.
But there are signs that character education is alive and well. Due in part to the contemporary revival of virtue ethics in philosophy and theology, a broad range of academic disciplines and research programs are now focusing on the nature of the virtues and how character might be shaped in the context of families, schools, and faith communities.
The Character of the University will explore the challenges and opportunities for character formation in the context of 21st-century higher education. How might educators better understand and practice their shared aims to help students grow in virtue as they prepare to pursue lives of meaning and purpose? How might this task require colleges and universities to re-examine their own intellectual, moral, and even spiritual commitments?
Character formation takes place within and affects all aspects of higher education; therefore, we invite proposals from scholars and practitioners working in all areas of university life. Proposals for individual papers, panel discussions, and responses to current books are welcome. Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted by June 15, 2019. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, and submit your proposal here.
Possible topics include:
- The nature of the virtues—intellectual, moral, and spiritual
- Opportunities and challenges for character formation in Christian colleges and universities
- The pedagogical practices of virtue formation
- Character formation and the aims of liberal learning
- Collegiate athletics as character formation
- The role of academic leaders in articulating and shaping institutional character
- Character formation and theological education
- Character formation in the professional schools (e.g., law, social work, business, medicine)
- Diversity and Christian character formation
- Character formation in different educational contexts (e.g., secular, faith-based, military academy, liberal arts, technical schools)
- Mentoring students and faculty for virtue
- Campus ministries and spiritual formation
- Character formation within living and learning communities
To see videos of plenary lectures and panel sessions from previous conferences, please visit THE IFL VIMEO PAGE