Welcome to the Upper House Fellows Program!
The Upper House Fellows Program offers graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison a unique community for intellectual and spiritual formation. The program helps students grow in theological understanding, connect their faith to their academic studies and sense of vocation, and prepare for lives of leadership and service.
Over the academic year, fellows from different Christian traditions and fields of study meet every other week for a meal and interactive learning. As we build community, we draw on scripture and diverse Christian voices to explore how the gospel sheds light on our identity as humans and gives shape to our callings in the world.
The Fellows Program is rooted in a historic and ecumenical understanding of Christianity. Fellows, program leaders, and readings bridge denominational, cultural, ethnic, and social lines. We welcome applications from students of all backgrounds.
Watch our brief video!
Community Gatherings and Tracks
We meet from 5:45 to 8:00 PM every other Monday through the academic year. Our gatherings typically begin with socializing over a generous meal provided by Upper House. After a brief time of reflection and communal prayer, we break into separate tracks for instructor-led learning and discussion, followed by dessert for those who want to continue conversation. (See the 2023-24 schedule.)
We are pleased to offer three tracks in 2023-24, led by experienced instructors with a passion for mentoring graduate and undergraduate students at UW-Madison. Meet the leaders.
The Drama of Scripture led by Kevin Chau and Eric Carlsson
From Genesis to Revelation, the Christian Bible offers a grand drama—a story about God, humans, and the world. The scriptures were composed over many centuries by a host of authors who wrote in a range of genres to address a variety of ancient communities. Yet within these gloriously diverse writings that make up the biblical canon there lies an overarching narrative. It’s an epic tale about God’s mission to restore the world from brokenness, chaos, and death, and to bring wholeness, justice, and peace to humans and all of creation. Reading the Bible as a narrative changes the way we understand both its individual parts and its overall message. In this track we’ll learn how to read the Bible so that we can see this fascinating story, and we’ll ask what it has to say to us today.
Living the Good Life led by Rebecca Cooks and Cam Anderson
Calling. Meaning. Purpose. These words appear in everyday conversation, confirming our need to sort out what it means to be truly human. What are we made for? And what is “the Good Life”? These are the big questions we will pursue in this track.
To aid us in this important work, we will draw on biblical wisdom, carefully selected readings, and guest speakers to discuss a handful of audacious claims: Each of us is made for the Good Life. Our pursuit of the Good Life will be challenged. The Good Life is still worth pursuing.
That’s our starting point. And after adding a few questions like . . . How do I discern my purpose? What if I’m not in a spot to choose? Does life have a purpose beyond meeting my own needs? . . . the conversation really gets started. So, let’s dive in. We can’t promise that you will find the Good Life by the end of our track. But we feel confident that you will be ready to pursue it.
Serving the Common Good led by Jean Geran and Dan Hummel
As Christians, we are called to participate in God’s creative and redemptive mission in the world. We are each called to do this in our own lives, families, relationships, and churches. But we are also called to service and leadership in organizations, including schools, companies, non-profits, governments, and elsewhere. These organizations can be religious or secular, big or small, morally clear but often morally ambiguous. In other words, God calls us to look beyond our individual vocations and seek to understand our role and God’s purpose for our organizational lives. Are organizations made in the image of God? What is God’s redemptive purpose for organizations and how can we participate in his redemptive work? These are the questions we’ll return to time and again in this track.
Graduate students, undergraduate students, and even recent graduates—all representing a range of fields and interests—share about their experience in the Upper House Fellows Program.
Read Fellows’ testimonials here.
Apply or Inquire
The Upper House Fellows Program is open to current graduate and undergraduate students at UW-Madison. We also consider applications from those who have graduated within the past three years.
Priority application deadline: May 15
Regular application deadline: August 15
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. If you apply by the priority deadline and are accepted to the program, we will guarantee a spot in your first-choice track. For later applications, while we will make an effort to honor your track choices, applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis as spots remain available.
Questions? Please email us at email@example.com