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Conferences 2007 - Reimagining Educational Excellence

Reimagining Educational Excellence

October 11-13, 2007
Prince Conference Center at Calvin College
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Hosted and sponsored by
Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning

This conference will explore how the call of Micah 6:8, "to seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly before God," can reframe the visions of educational excellence that we pursue. What do teaching and learning practices informed by this call look like? How can the pursuit of justice, mercy, virtue, and faith inspire, inform, or challenge efforts at pedagogical excellence?

Higher education, like education more generally, is presently subject to regular and sometimes strident calls for greater excellence, proposed programs for achieving it, and standards for measuring it. This implies that the nature of educational excellence is plain and uncontested and that there is a vision of the good against which excellence can be measured. Such visions, however, are contestable, and so critics wonder if excellence is pursued at the expense of the educational soul. If the general push for higher standards is followed without critical reflection on the precise kinds of excellence that we are trying to achieve in Christian higher education, the result may be considerable effort invested in pursuing benchmarks that do not sufficiently contribute to our mission, or even stand in tension with it.

This conference follows the 2005 conference Spirituality, Justice, and Pedagogy also sponsored by the Kuyers Institute for Christian Teaching and Learning. The intention of the "Reimagining Educational Excellence" conference is both to enable the conversation from this first conference to continue and to broaden its range. It is hoped that this conference will continue to build a network of Christian scholars engaged with issues of the shape of Christian teaching and learning, whether or not education is their primary discipline.

David Purpel, author of works including Moral Outrage in Education and The Spiritual and Moral Crisis in Education, will deliver a plenary address titled 'Academic Excellence as Sin.' Two further keynote speakers, Herma Williams of Fresno Pacific University and Chris Smit of Calvin College will relate the conference themes to issues of race and disability in education. The remainder of the conference will consist of sectional papers from a broad range of disciplines.

For further information contact:
Seminars in Christian Scholarship
Calvin College
1855 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids MI 49546-4402
fax 616.526.6682