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Becoming Beholders

Cultivating Sacramental Imagination and Actions in College Classrooms
Edited by Karen E. Eifler and Thomas M. Landy

ISBN: 9780814682715, 8271
Details: 332 pgs , 6 x 9
Publication Date: 04/28/2014


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Catholic colleges and universities have long engaged in conversation about how to fulfill their mission in creative ways across the curriculum. The "sacramental vision" of Catholic higher education posits that God is made manifest in the study of all disciplines.

Becoming Beholders is the first book to share pedagogical strategies about how to do that. Twenty faculty—from many religious backgrounds and teaching in fields as varied as chemistry, economics, English, history, mathematics, sociology, and theology—discuss ways that their teaching nourishes students' ability to find the transcendent in their studies.

Karen E. Eifler is professor of education and co-director of the Garaventa Center for Catholic Intellectual Life and American Culture at the University of Portland in Oregon. She is the author of A Month of Mondays: Spiritual Lessons from Catholic Classrooms (ACTA Publications, 2011) and has been published in many journals, including Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice, Transformational Education, Journal of Teacher Education, and The Teaching Professor.

Thomas M. Landy is director of the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, SJ, Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture at the College of the Holy Cross and is currently engaged in an initiative at the McFarland Center to study Catholic life and practice around the globe. He is the editor of and a contributor to the book, As Leaven for the World: Catholic Reflections on Faith, Vocation, and the Intellectual Life (Sheed and Ward, 2001). Landy is the 2009 recipient of the John Henry Newman Medal, which honors exemplars of Jesuit Catholic education, from Loyola College in Maryland.

The editors write of the need for spaces where learning has meaning and purpose. Teachers don't create those kinds of spaces with their knowledge of the content or a sophisticated repertoire of pedagogical techniques. They do so with an imagination that sees what and how they teach in a life-enveloping context. That's what these essays showcase. You see how teaching looks when it's infused with a bit of divine perspective.
Maryellen Weimer, Professor Emeritus of Teaching and Learning, Penn State University

Becoming Beholders gives the reader amazingly practical advice on how to entice busy and normally reactive college students to change modes and instead learn to be deliberatively reflective. With examples from disciplines as diverse as abstract mathematics and chemistry to communication studies and literature and writing, I walked away with several ideas to transform my teaching and how to answer a question I've always struggled with: how can my ordinarily secular physics courses become so much more in light of the Catholic intellectual tradition? Becoming Beholders helped me conceive of new ways to help my physics students look at nature and the world and see, as Michael Himes puts it so eloquently, the omnipresence of grace—"the love that undergirds all that exists.
Gintaras Duda, Associate Professor of Physics, Creighton University, 2013 Carnegie/CASE US Professor of the Year

This thought-provoking, insightful collection of twenty articles is directed toward teachers at Catholic colleges, but it is applicable to anyone who teaches in higher education and who comes to that task from a faith perspective. . . . The authors . . . discuss in detail activities in courses that they have taught that relate to the topic of the book. They often quote from students' journals or essays as a means of demonstrating student learning. They also describe activities that go on outside the classroom, such as trips to museums, personal reflection during the week, and service with nonprofit agencies as additional ways by which the sacramental imagination is cultivated.
Michael Willett Newheart, Reflective Teaching