August 20, 2015 Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Story by Nicole Bullock

King’s Professor in Religious Studies Dr. Carolyn Chau recently attended Collegium, a conference on faith and intellectual life, with faculty members and administrators from Catholic liberal arts colleges from across North America to discuss how Catholicism’s traditions and goals may be lived out in today’s educational context. 

American sociologist Tom Landy began these annual meetings over 20 years ago to gather academics from all disciplines to discuss identity, mission, and Catholic intellectual traditions in Catholic higher education, in response to the declining number of religious members which historically founded and ran the schools. The meeting took place this year at the College of St. John’s in Collegeville, Minnesota. 

Dr. Chau described the conference as creative, inspiring, and diverse. The week consisted of interdisciplinary and disciplinary-specific small group discussions, major presentations, times of prayer, retreat, and discussions about film and art.  Physicists, chemists, historians, economists, psychologists, literature professors, art historians, philosophers, and theologians had the opportunity to meet one another and talk openly about the challenges, questions, and experiences they had teaching and serving as administrators in Catholic colleges. “It was fabulous in terms of interdisciplinarity: often the only thing we had in common was that we all teach and work in Catholic higher education,” says Dr. Chau.

During the course of the week, the 50 participants discussed how Catholic mission is communicated in their institutions and how Catholic traditions resonate within us today.  According to Chau “These questions are becoming more important for Catholic institutions in the North American context as we experience shifting culture, demographics, and religious pluralism among our faculties.”

Dr. Chau was the first faculty member to represent King’s at Collegium. Dr. Chau shared, “Collegium was a great opportunity to hear and to learn directly the questions of people who are working in Catholic institutions today, many of whom are not Catholic, and how various institutions find a way to communicate Catholic traditions in the midst of such plurality.” 

As part of King’s committee on Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Dr. Chau was invited by Dr. Sauro Camiletti, King’s’ Academic Dean, to attend Collegium. The two are part of a committee at King’s that looks at Catholic traditions at institutions of higher education.

Dr. Chau will be sharing with colleagues her experience of attending Collegium, as well as some initiatives discussed at the forum that may be valuable and fruitful to the question of Catholic identity in the King’s community.

Dr. Carolyn Chau teaches in the Catholic Studies programs at King’s. She is looking forward to a new year of teaching classes on contemporary moral problems from both Catholic and philosophical perspectives. 

For more information, contact:

Dr. Carolyn Chau
Email: cchau33@uwo.ca
Telephone: 519-433-3491 Ex: 4362