The Augustine Collective’s Writing Fellows Program is a selective writers’ development program that equips students to write and publish essays on their campus that engage moral, theological, and philosophical questions with Christian perspectives. Essays are also expected to draw on scientific sources and/or incorporate questions or themes relevant to scientific disciplines. The program aims to equip students to write in an accessible yet rigorous way for a broad campus audience, especially for the religiously uncommitted. During the 2018-2019 academic year, all essays will take up an important question in either the category of science and faith or the category of character and virtue. Essays will be submitted to member journals of the Augustine Collective for publication.
The Science and Faith Track:
Faith and Reason in an Age of Science
Is faith inherently nonrational? Does it answer to standards of evidence, and, if so, which ones? Is faith strictly a theological reality? Does some kind of faith play a role in other areas of human life, including science? If there is such a thing as scientific faith? If so, what is it and how is it different than faith as understood in the theological context? How do questions of meaning and purpose persist in an age of science? If you’re interested in exploring these questions, we invite you to apply to the science and faith track of the Writing Fellows Program.
The Character and Virtue Track:
Religion and the Science of Human Flourishing
What does human flourishing look like? Can it be measured by social science, and does it even matter whether it offers benefits that can be measured? What role does virtue play in human flourishing and what is the connection between virtue and public health? What role does participation in religious community play in human flourishing and public health? Does social science add anything to a theological vision of human flourishing? If you’re interested in exploring these questions, we invite you to apply to the character and virtue track of the Writing Fellows Program
Key Program Elements:
- Video calls (Monday, Jan. 7th – Thursday, April 4th). The fellows will have four video calls. With involvement from Bria Sandford (Penguin Random House) and/or Mene Ukueberuwa (the Wall Street Journal) and Peter Blair (The Veritas Forum), this program element will include both subject matter exploration and writing guidance. Students will be expected to prepare for the meetings ahead of time by meeting writing deadlines and reading pre-distributed texts. On average, 2-3 shorter texts will be distributed in advance of the call.
- Essay writing (Monday, Jan. 7th – Thursday, April 11th). This program is structured around a four-month process of writing, editing, and publishing a compelling 1,200-1,500 word essay that engages a broad campus audience on questions of science and faith or character and virtue. See below for the writing timeline.
- Writer’s Workshop (Saturday, January 26th). Hosted in Boston by Andy Crouch and Meghan Sullivan or Tyler VanderWeele, this in-person workshop will provide coaching on how to write a popular essay that is compelling and philosophically robust and that critically engages questions of science and faith or character and virtue. Students will be expected to prepare for the discussion ahead of time by submitting their “first response” and reading 2-3 shorter selected texts.
- Publication and distribution (Fall 2019). Essays will be submitted to an Augustine Collective member journal for publication. The best essay will be chosen as a winner and receive a prize of $150.
Key Program Dates:
- Thursday, Dec. 20th: Application deadline
- Monday, Jan. 7th: First video call
- Monday, January 21st: “First response” essay thoughts submitted (500-1000 words)
- Saturday, January 26th: Writer’s Workshop at AC2019
- Monday, Feb. 18th: Proposal and outline due
- Thursday, Feb. 21st: Second video call
- Monday, March 11th: First draft submitted
- Thursday, March 14th: Third video call
- Monday, April 1st: Second draft submitted
- Thursday, April 4th: Final video call
- Thursday, April 11th: Final essay submitted
- Essays must closely engage with at least two texts covered throughout the course of the program, one from a Christian thinker and one from a non-Christian thinker. The essay should also relate to the scientific disciplines, whether through incorporating scientific sources, addressing scientific questions, or through some other means.
- In the course of the essay, the author must address a topically relevant theme for the science and faith or character and virtue track. Suggested prompts include:
- Science and Faith: Does faith answer to standards of evidence, and, if so, which ones?
- Science and Faith: Is faith strictly a theological reality? Does some kind of faith play a role in other areas of human life, including science?
- Character and Virtue: What role does participation in religious community play in human flourishing?
- Character and Virtue: What role does virtue play in human flourishing and what is the connection between virtue and public health?
- Further guidance on writing a successful essay will be provided to track participants along with a reading list for the video calls and the AC2019 conference meeting.
Conference Workshop Coaches
Andy Crouch is partner for theology and culture at Praxis, an organization that works as a creative engine for redemptive entrepreneurship. His two most recent books—2017’s The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place and 2016’s Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing—build on the compelling vision of faith, culture, and the image of God laid out in his previous books Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling.
Andy serves on the governing boards of Fuller Theological Seminary and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. For more than ten years he was an editor and producer at Christianity Today, including serving as executive editor from 2012 to 2016. He served the John Templeton Foundation in 2017 as senior strategist for communication. His work and writing have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time, and several editions of Best Christian Writing and Best Spiritual Writing—and, most importantly, received a shout-out in Lecrae’s 2014 single “Non-Fiction.”
From 1998 to 2003, Andy was the editor-in-chief of re:generation quarterly, a magazine for an emerging generation of culturally creative Christians. For ten years he was a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Harvard University. He studied classics at Cornell University and received an M.Div. summa cum laude from Boston University School of Theology. A classically trained musician who draws on pop, folk, rock, jazz, and gospel, he has led musical worship for congregations of 5 to 20,000. He lives with his family in Pennsylvania. His website is http://andy-crouch.com/ and his Twitter handle is @ahc
Meghan Sullivan is a Professor of Philosophy, the Rev. John A O’Brien Collegiate Chair, and the Director of the University Philosophy Requirement at the University of Notre Dame. Sullivan’s research tends to focus on philosophical problems concerning time, modality, rational planning and religious belief (but rarely all four at once). She teaches courses at all levels, including large introductory courses like God and the Good Life, gateway seminars like Philosophy as a Way of Life, and specialized graduate seminars on metaphysics, philosophical logic, rationality and value. She runs the Engaged Philosophy Group at Notre Dame with a team of staff, post-docs, PhD students, undergrad fellows and faculty collaborators. The EPG leads initiatives to connect academic research in ethics, epistemology and metaphysics to broad questions of human flourishing.
Sullivan has degrees from the University of Virginia (BA: Philosophy and Politics, Highest Distinction), Oxford (B.Phil: Philosophy), and Rutgers (PhD: Philosophy). She studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar (Balliol College).
Sullivan has published work in many of the leading philosophy journals, including Nous, Ethics and Philosophical Studies. You can read many of those papers here. Her first book —Time Biases— came out with Oxford University Press in summer 2018. Time Biases develops a theory of diachronic rationality, personal identity and rational planning. She is now writing a book on intellectual commitment, ethical commitment, and rational faith.
Sullivan is deeply interested in the ways philosophy contributes to the good life and the best methods for promoting the study of philosophy. Since 2017, she has raised over $1.2M to support projects for research and teaching in publicly engaged philosophy. Sullivan is currently the Principal Investigator for the Mellon Foundation’s Philosophy as a Way of Life grant (2018-2021). Information about joining the Mellon Network can be found at philife.nd.edu. Sullivan is also the PI for the John Templeton Foundation’s Philosophy and Religion Engaged with the Public (PREP) pilot program. And in July 2018 she co-organized an NEH Institute on Philosophy as a Way of Life with Stephen Angle (Wesleyan) and Stephen Grimm (Fordham). The Engaged Philosophy Group collaborates with faculty at many departments in the US and abroad.
Sullivan regularly writes shorter public philosophy essays — including pieces in The Huffington Post, Commonweal and First Things — and gives public philosophy talks. She is a co-editor for the Philosophy of Religion portfolio of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. She serves on (too) many committees and frequently does research with postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students. You can get all of the gory details by reading her CV.
When not philosophizing, Sullivan enjoys cooking, biking, building elaborate Star Wars Lego sets, reading science fiction, and traveling the world. She cheers for the Fighting Irish and Virginia Cavaliers in all of their endeavors, and when they play each other she has a rational crisis.
Headshot: April 26, 2018; Coffee Chat with Meghan Sullivan for ND Magazine photo (Photo by Barbara Johnston/University of Notre Dame)
Tyler VanderWeele is the John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology in the Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Co-Director of the Initiative on Health, Religion and Spirituality, faculty affiliate of the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and Director of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University. He holds degrees from the University of Oxford, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University in mathematics, philosophy, theology, finance and applied economics, and biostatistics. His research concerns methodology for distinguishing between association and causation in observational studies, and the use of statistical and counterfactual ideas to formalize and advance epidemiologic theory and methods. His empirical research spans psychiatric, perinatal, and social epidemiology; the science of happiness and flourishing; and the study of religion and health, including both religion and population health and the role of religion and spirituality in end-of-life care. He is the recipient of the 2017 COPSS Presidents’ Award from the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies. He has published over two hundred and fifty papers in peer-reviewed journals, and is author of the book Explanation in Causal Inference, published by Oxford University Press.
Bria Sandford is the editorial director of Sentinel and executive editor of Portfolio, imprints of Penguin Random House. She edits a wide range of nonfiction, with a focus on history, sociology, economics, and good old-fashioned polemic. Her bestselling and critically acclaimed authors include General Stanley McChrystal, Ian Bremmer, Brian Kilmeade, Rod Dreher, Reihan Salam, Ken Starr, and Senator Mike Lee.
Mene Ukueberuwa is an assistant editorial features editor at The Wall Street Journal. He edits op-eds and columns for the Journal’s opinion section, and has contributed writing on topics from the Catholic Church to tax policy and urban development. His work also has been published in National Review, First Things and the New Republic.
Peter Blair serves as the Program Manager for the Augustine Collective at the Veritas Forum, helping to support student publications at universities across the country. While attending Dartmouth College, Peter was the third editor-in-chief of the The Dartmouth Apologia, one of the first publications in the Augustine Collective network, as well as an op-ed writer for The Dartmouth. After graduating, he served first as a writer and then as an editor at The American Interest, a magazine of politics and culture in Washington, DC. He then joined Thomistic Institute, an academic institute in DC, where he was the Campus Program Coordinator. Peter was also the co-founder and the founding editor-in-chief of Fare Forward.