November 19th, at the Harvard Faculty Club, 6 – 9 pm, The Cambridge Roundtable on Science and Religion will feature Brown University Professor of Biology Kenneth Miller on the topic of Neuroscience and the Soul. Co-presenter to be named. Invitations will be issued before the end of October.
October 6th at MIT and 7th at Harvard the Cambridge Roundtable will sponsor workshops and dinner-discussions entitled Excellent Professors dedicated to the mentoring of students.
In a new examination of the elite American university experience, William Deresiewicz’s Excellent Sheep is concerned in part with a much contested element of university life: is there a mentorship role for the professor in a student’s inner life? Are students sheep? Are professors shepherds? Clergy? Therapists? Cheerleaders? Instruction, research, publication, doctoral candidates, and university-wide programming consume so much of a professor’s energy – whither the grazing of little lambs? Is there an art or a science to any spiritual or non-spiritual navigation of proper faculty conduct in our “pluralism first, often and always” culture?
What are the benefits of a lively mentoring relationship between professor and student?
“…Gerald Chan, a Harvard-educated investor, is donating $350 million to the university’s School of Public Health, the largest gift in the 378-year history of the U.S.’s richest university…At Harvard, he pursued graduate work in radiological physics and radiobiology in the 1970s. He said he is giving the money to the School of Public Health because a teacher there brought the life sciences alive.” (Wall Street Journal, September 9)
There must have been something deeper going on between the professor and Gerald Chan, something beyond just a better understanding of chemistry and biology.
Thomas Friedman: according to the director of Gallup’s education division, graduates who had a professor who cared about them as a person were twice as likely to be engaged with their work and thriving in their overall well-being. BUT only 22% of grads had such a mentor. (NY Times, Sept.10)
Before conventional classroom formalities cede to the exchanges that come from one’s inner life, having a plan with boundaries and resources in mind will facilitate a more profitable conversation, preserve a good student-teacher relationship, and extend a professor’s reputation for professional excellence.
Four veteran professors from MIT, Harvard and Cal-Berkeley have made themselves available to begin a meaningful dialogue on mentoring: MIT’s Hazel Sive and Dick Yue, Harvard’s Harry Lewis, and Cal-Berkeley’s Jeff Reimer. These religious and non-religious professors are interested in and informally able to speak to the always hard to deal with “church and state” issues.
October 6th at MIT, Author of Excellence Without a Soul, Does Liberal Education Have a Future; Harvard’s Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science, and Former Dean on the College Harry R. Lewis, and MIT’s Philip J. Solondz Professor of Engineering and Former Associate Dean of Engineering Dick K.P. Yue are our featured presenters beginning at 5:00 pm at the CSAIL R&D Commons, 4th Floor, Stata Center, MIT.
October 7th at Harvard, MIT’s Professor of Biology; Member, Whitehead Institute, and Former Associate Dean, School of Science Hazel L. Sive, and Cal-Berkeley’s Warren and Katharine Schlinger Distinguished Professor and Chair in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and The C. Judson King Endowed Professor Jeffrey A. Reimer are our featured presenters beginning at 5:00 pm in the Theater Room of the Harvard Faculty Club, Cambridge.
The schedule for Excellent Professors:
I. The nuts and bolts of mentoring:
Harry Lewis and Dick Yue on the 6th;
Hazel Sive and Jeff Reimer on the 7th.
II. Break; hors d’oeuvres served.
III. The personal and spiritual side of mentoring:
Dick Yue, Hazel Sive, and Harry Lewis on the 6th;
Jeff Reimer, Hazel Sive, and Harry Lewis on the 7th.
IV. Dinner and table discussion.
V. Plenary discussion.
To become acquainted with Deresiewicz’s Excellent Sheep please see The Chronicle of Higher Education piece What Ails Elite Education? where Harry Lewis and William Deresiewicz exchange responses.
The Roundtable is by invitation only but for inquiring faculty, or if you have questions or comments, please reach Roundtable Coordinator Dave Thom at his MIT office at 617-258-7333 in W11-004 and at firstname.lastname@example.org
~~~~~The Cambridge Roundtable on Science, Art & Religion is co-chaired by: Owen Gingerich, Astronomy and History of Science (Emeritus), Harvard University Robert Randolph, Chaplain to the Institute and Dean, MIT Roundtable Coordinator: David Thom, Associate Chaplain, MIT To date, hundreds of MIT and Harvard professors have engaged in Roundtable faculty-seminar dinner-discussions, experiencing the potential to bring added depth to their lives as scholars and educators. Roundtable seminars are dedicated to fostering dialogue that explores the intersection of contemporary academic thought and Christian thought on issues related to science and religion. Roundtable invitations are not pre-sorted in alignment with any particular religious or non-religious perspective. Scholars from a variety of departments and specially-selected community religious leaders are invited: the result has been that a diversity of academic and religious and non-religious views is represented.
Among the recent thirty-three Cambridge Roundtables on Science, Art & Religion:April 2014 Science & Scientism, part three: Arête and The Normative Explosion (And Why We Only Needed One) Rebecca Goldstein author of Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away November 2013 Science & Scientism, part two: The Affairs of Louis Agassiz: Race, Religion, and Charles Darwin Christoph Irmscher author of Louis Agassiz, Inventor of American Science Matthew Pearl author of The Technologists and The Dante Club April 2013 Science & Scientism, part one: The Monopolizing of Knowledge? Ian Hutchinson MIT, Nuclear Science & Engineering Ned Hall Harvard University, Philosophy October 2012 American Politics & Religion: Untangling the Web We Weave Robert Putnam Harvard University, Public Policy February 2012 God, Stephen Hawking, and the Cosmos: Is there a Grand Design? John Lennox Oxford, Mathematics Alan Guth MIT, Physics November 2011 Saints, Sex, and Society Sarah Ruden Wesleyan University, Classics April 2011 What do Scientists Really Think about Religion? Elaine Ecklund Rice University, Sociology October 2010 Political Power and Persuasive Presence James Davison Hunter University of Virginia, Sociology Robert M. Randolph MIT, Chaplain to the Institute March 2010 Can We Be Good Without God? Rae Langton MIT, Philosophy William Lane Craig Talbot School of Theology, Philosophy November 2009 Answering the New Atheists Stanley E. Fish Florida International University, Law and Humanities J. Mark Ramseyer Harvard University, Law For a complete list of all 30 previous roundtables, click here.