The Higher Pursuits Project extends beyond the UW-Madison campus to include other vibrant Christian study centers at elite American universities. Pilot grants to the following Christian study centers aim to raise academic and institutional consciousness of religious discourse and purpose.
Anselm House — University of Minnesota
Anselm House is a community of Christians, students, and faculty, that connects faith and knowledge with all of life. Founded more than 30 years ago, Anslem House creates space for dialogue through hospitality and discussions at their campus study center. The community also convenes large public events featuring diverse scholars, public figures, and theologians. Through the Colin MacLaurin Fellows Program, Anselm House gathers students in small cohorts to share meals, pray, discuss carefully selected readings, connect with Christian faculty, and live together at the intersection of faith and university life.
Anselm House is convening a renewable one-year faculty peer-learning community dedicated to exploring through interdisciplinary discussion the integration of Christian faith with academic life.
Bradley Study Center — Virginia Tech University
The Bradley Study Center exists to cultivate thoughtful exploration of the Christian faith at Virginia Tech. Focusing on students, faculty, staff, and alumni, the Center explores how faith, learning, and calling relate to one another in advancing the common good for all. Believing that the Christian intellectual tradition can contribute a vibrant voice to academic life at a public university, the Bradley Study Center offers opportunities to engage students and faculty in the rich intellectual traditions of the Christian faith, encourage and support Christian faculty and students in their academic pursuits, and promote the pursuit of knowledge and truth on critical life questions in an environment of open and civil dialogue.
The Bradley Study Center is (1) strengthening the network of Christian faculty in the university, (2) encouraging and equipping Christian faculty to be more open about their faith within the university, and (3) assisting Christian faculty in connecting with other faculty members outside the Christian faith.
Chesterton House — Cornell University
Chesterton House exists to facilitate the discovery of the intellectual riches of the historic Christian faith and to empower more faithful Christian living. Founded in 2000 to address the challenge of sustaining Christian presence at Cornell, Chesterton House has a three-fold focus. The center hosts events featuring speakers at the top of their fields, who discuss their work and the roles their faith plays in it. Secondly, Chesterton House administers living-learning communities in three residences and gives male and female students experience living in intentional Christian community. Thirdly, Chesterton House offers eight accredited courses in biblical, theological, cultural, and ethical studies for Cornell’s students to earn credit through Gordon College.
Chesterton House is developing an interview format podcast series featuring leading academics who can speak wisely and winsomely on topics in science and religion.
Christian Study Center of Gainesville — University of Florida
The Christian Study Center of Gainesville facilitates thoughtful consideration of a Christian understanding of life and culture in the university community. The center brings together students, faculty, and community members to explore the intellectual and cultural resources of the Christian tradition, and pursues the highest levels of scholarship to address and respond to enduring human questions and challenges in contemporary culture. The center seeks to enlarge and extend conversations with a broad range of viewpoints while remaining rooted in the historic Christian faith. Committed to higher education, critical thinking, working collaboratively with the University of Florida, and contributing to the intellectual life of the university community, the center promotes human flourishing and serving the common good
The Christian Study Center of Gainesville is bringing explicitly spiritual and religious considerations to bear on the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in human society, particularly among university leaders active in integrating AI in the life and mission of the university.
North Carolina Study Center — UNC-Chapel Hill
Launching in 2016, the North Carolina Study Center cultivates Christian life and thought at UNC-Chapel Hill with the vision to offer Christian education for the pursuit of truth, the formation of the person, and the common good. Through its Fellows Program, seminars, reading groups, and public events, the center seeks to elevate the truth and integrity of the Christian faith and the renewal of the mind. Through staff mentoring, leadership training, and regular conversations about hard questions, the center supports the spiritual formation of students. Through hospitality and cross-organizational gatherings, the center advances unity among campus ministries and churches.
The North Carolina Study Center is focusing on hyper-specialization in today’s university and developing curricula around ‘theological interdisciplinarity’—identifying salient ‘big questions’ in three disciplinary groups—the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities.
Octet Collaborative — MIT
The Octet Collaborative is a community of students, faculty, and staff at MIT dedicated to human flourishing informed by the historic Christian faith. Illuminating the resonance between faith, reason, and imagination, the collaborative has a passion to see MIT community members be integrated persons—mind and hand, heart and spirit. The collaborative envisions order and beauty infusing research, teaching, and mentoring of the next generation, bringing into alignment what might appear disparate. They seek to practice flourishing in and through community. While the community has a long history, the Octet Collaborative was only officially formed in 2020.
The Octet Collaborative is creating a storytelling podcast, featuring MIT alumni, staff, and faculty, who have compelling stories and insights regarding the relationship of their faith to their professional work in science, engineering, and technology.
Theological Horizons/Bonhoeffer House — Charlottesville, Virginia
Theological Horizons provides a welcoming community for students, scholars, and community members to explore the intersection of faith, thought, and life through rich conversations about integrating the practices of Christian theology into everyday experience. Launched in 1990, the Center develops research and hosts Bible studies, lectures, and seminars for students and scholars. Specific programs include lunchtime gatherings for discussion, podcasts featuring vintage saints and sinners, discipleship opportunities, and one-on-one mentoring for students and community members seeking guidance.
Theological Horizons is convening a series of dialogues, leveraging a research-based approach, to help students, faculty, and administrators—stymied by difference or hijacked by fear and uncertainty—to develop a reflective response to Covid and find healthy ways forward.
Upper House — University of Wisconsin-Madison
An initiative of the Stephen & Laurel Brown Foundation, Upper House welcomes all who long to explore the life of the mind and the questions of the soul. Upper House is a site for intellectual inquiry, spiritual growth, and civic engagement, where we gather artists, educators, entrepreneurs, innovators, leaders, scholars, students, and theologians to advance personal and communal formation via six Pathways—Arts & Humanities, Justice & Society, Leadership & Vocation, Science & Technology, Spiritual Formation, and Theology. We draw on the rich wisdom of the historic Christian faith to seek a deeper understanding of God’s character and his Trinitarian being so that we may be conformed to the image of Christ in heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Upper House is conducting three projects as well as administering the JTF grant for the Higher Pursuits Project: (1) a student fellows cohort that is exploring fresh ways to understand science as a vital area of Christian engagement; (2) a spiritual history project of UW-Madison, highlighting original research and recorded oral histories to tell a story of ongoing spiritual expression at the UW-Madison; and (3) a faculty learning cohort that is engaging in a year-long conversation focused on the mission and purpose of the UW-Madison in the twenty-first century.