Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SMU professor awarded $60,000 grant from Lilly Fellows Program

WINONA, Minn. — Jane Kelley Rodeheffer, Ph.D., professor of philosophy at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, has been awarded a $60,000 grant from the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts. The program was established in 1991 to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of higher learning for the 21st century.

The Lilly Fellows Program is funded in part by the Lilly Endowment, Inc., an Indianapolis-based private foundation with longstanding interests in education, religion and community development. It offers graduate and post-doctoral fellowships for young scholars who wish to renew their sense of vocation within a Christian community of learning in order to prepare themselves for positions of educational leadership within church-related institutions.

Together with a faculty member from Baylor University, Rodeheffer was selected to serve as a mentor to the first cohort of 15 graduate Lilly Fellows. She and her colleague will facilitate the communication and collaboration of these fellows with one another in areas of research, teaching, and professional development, beginning in the summer of 2008 and ending in the fall of 2011. Lilly graduate fellows and mentors will participate in conferences, group readings, and online and video-based discussions over the course of the three-year program.

The grant award to Rodeheffer will fund travel and a quarter-time reassignment from teaching to mentor the cohort of graduate fellows, and fund a conference, to be held on the campus of Saint Mary’s University in the summer of 2009 or 2010. The Lilly Conference will allow graduate fellows to collaborate with each other and with senior scholars and luminaries who integrate research, vocation and an interest in Catholic and Protestant higher education.

After a rigorous interview process, the first cohort of graduate fellows was recently chosen from a pool of recent graduates of church-related schools in the Lilly Fellows Program National Network. Rodeheffer participated in a panel presentation on “The Integration of Christian Faith with Teaching, Scholarship, and Family Life” at the Initial Conference of the Lilly Graduate Fellows on April 12, 2008.

Rodeheffer has received three previous grants from the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts and has twice served on its National Network Board. She holds degrees from Boston College, Harvard University and Vanderbilt, where she received her Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1989. Rodeheffer joined the Saint Mary’s faculty in 1989 and is past director of both the Lasallian Core Traditions and Lasallian Honors programs. She held the Brother J. Robert Lane Chair in Humanities from 1999-2003 and was awarded the Brother Charles Severin Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2003. She is the author of a number of articles in philosophy, literature, and great books, and the co-editor of two volumes of essays: Core Texts in Conversation, and The Work of Andre Dubus.