The mission of the L.C. Sears Collegiate Seminar Series is to host stimulating public presentations on topical issues relevant to the university community. The goal of each seminar is to encourage public dialogue on important topics, thus bringing together the entire Harding intellectual community.
Under the supervision of the Honors College dean, the Honors College Council proposes topics and speakers of interest to our campus community. Lecturers are contacted and extended an invitation to visit the Harding campus to present their topic of interest to university students and faculty. A question and answer segment always follows the presentation, allowing the audience to participate in thought-provoking discussions with our guest speakers.
|The first L.C. Sears Collegiate Seminar Series event was presented in the Fall 2005 semester. Past seminars have focused on issues as diverse as the response of churches to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the Arab/Israeli conflict in the Middle East. The students of the Honors Council look forward to many more seminars on timely issues featuring speakers from diverse backgrounds.|
The series is named for L.C. Sears, the first academic dean for Harding. He was an accomplished professor, author, administrator, and Shakespearian academic scholar. The series is intended to pay homage to his quest for academic excellence and the continued pursuit by members of the Harding community.
The Honors College Presents Richard Beck
On January 29, 2013, professor and author Dr. Richard Beck gave a talk entitled "Winter Christians and Sick Souls: Spirituality in an Age of Doubt." He addressed the ways in which we view doubt and spiritual questioning from a psychological perspective, commenting on current directions of study as well as on historical trends. He offered a rebuttal to the Freudian idea that religion is always simply a comforting illusion.
Dr. Beck is the Chair of the Psychology Department at Abilene Christian University. He has published two books, Unclean and The Authenticity of Faith, both of which deal with a field that Dr. Beck terms "Experimental Theology." He writes primarily about the psychology of religion.
Dr. Beck's lecture is part of an ongoing effort to bring speakers to campus through the L.C. Sears Series who will promote critical thinking in such a way that students will be empowered to constructively engage their faith in an increasingly secular world.
The Honors College Presents Elizabeth Bettina
On Thursday, August 30, Elizabeth Bettina gave a presentation based on her book, "It Happened in Italy: Untold Stories of How the People of Italy Defied the Horrors of the Holocaust."
Ms. Bettina graduated from Smith College with a degree in Economics and Italian Literature. Her varied career has taken her from advertising and marketing to retail and on-air television broadcasting. Her focus since 2006 has been the research and writing of the book "It Happened in Italy" which was published in 2009. Ms. Bettina has spoken around the country about this little-known story of how approximately 80% of the Jews in Italy survived the Holocaust while approximately 80% of the Jews in the rest of occupied Europe perished. She is presently the Co-Executive Producer of a documentary on Jews surviving in Italy during the Holocaust.
Fall 2010 Seminar: Andrew M. Mwenda
The L.C. Sears Collegiate Seminar Series will host a presentation by Andrew M. Mwenda, Ugandan journalist and founder of Uganda's The Independent, on September 30th at 7:00 p.m. in the Heritage Auditorium.
Mwenda, a long-time advocate of economic empowerment and free speech throughout Africa, has been honored with the International Press Freedom Award and named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of 2009's top global thinkers. Mwenda is a Yale fellow in African Studies and has emerged as a leading voice for empowerment in Africa, appearing on CNN, BBC, and the global stage at the TED conference in Arusha, Tanzania in June 2007.
Mwenda will address African development, economic empowerment and the dangers of foreign aid.
Andrew M. Mwenda
Sunday, September 27, 2009 - 7:30 p.m. American Studies 200
Born in Falmouth, Massachusetts, Sasha Dmochowski studied dance with Klara Koenig and at the Boston Ballet School. She danced with Boston Ballet from 1994-2001 where her repertory included Cunningham’s Breakers, Taylor’s Company B, Balanchine’s Serenade, and world premieres of Christopher Wheeldon’s Firebird and Twyla Tharp’s Waterbaby Bagatelles. Dmochowski joined American Ballet Theatre in August 2001 where her repertoire with the Company included Graham’s Diversion of Angels, Tudor’s Dark Elegies, De Mille’s Rodeo, Morris’s Gong, and featured roles in Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, and Mozartiana, Kylian’s Sechs Tanze, and Tharp’s In the Upper Room.
Dmochowski has taught ballet and pointe to adults and children of all ages at the Boston Conservatory and Boston Ballet School and currently teaches pilates at Equinox Fitness clubs in Manhattan. In addition to guest engagements with American Ballet Theatre and other ballet companies, she is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology at Columbia University.Dmochowski will speak on: Exploring how the human body expresses narrative and emotion through dance, in particular within the rich tradition of classical ballet. Drawing upon her almost twenty years as a professional dancer, she will shed some light inside the world of ballet, and help to demystify and dispel some preconceived notions about what it means to be a physical artist.
Dr. Paz holds a Ph.D. in Archaeology-Anthropology from the Sapienza University of Rome. He is an Israeli citizen and is well known and admired by our HUG students and faculty for his many times serving as Harding's tour guide in Israel. Many will remember him, among other positive things, as the Israeli tour guide with the flute! He presents a balanced view of the Palestine/Israeli situation.
Dr. Paz's main teaching assignment is a Lecturer at the Open University in Tel Aviv. One of his most current teaching experiences involves - The Bible as an Ethno-Anthropological Text: Absalon Institute (1998-2009). Dr. Paz is the chief guide of the Pilgrimage Studies program of Israeli Ministry of Tourism as well as an academic advisor of popular biblical programs on Israeli radio.
Following Dr. Paz's presentation, questions and answers were facilitated by Dr. Dale Manor, Harding's Professor of Archaeology and Bible.
Fall 2008:After learning to read at age one and a half, Harding graduate Holly Root was "kicked out" of preschool at age three for reading "Little House on the Prairie" aloud during quiet time. But her childhood days have long passed, and Root has brought her instinctive abilities to New York City where she now works as a literary agent for the Waxman Literary Agency.
Overcoming her life-long battle with math, Root started her literary-driven Harding career at age 15 and graduated in '02 with a degree in English.
On Dec. 2 in the Reynolds Recital Hall, Root returned to campus with her husband, Jonathan, a Harding graduate and Broadway actor. In an effort to illustrate the challenges and triumphs of a career in publishing, Root explained the process of bringing a book from a computer screen to publication as part of the L.C. Sears seminar series.
As a literary agent, Root provides the essential link between a writer and an editor in a personal and intricate process. A writer contacts Root through a query letter that contains who the author is, why they should write, what the book is about and why the book matters. This letter provides the basis for Root to decide whether or not to take on a writer's work.
But simply liking the concept of a book is not enough motivation for Root to take on a project.
"There are lots of books in the universe that I love, but I wouldn't say, ‘I would give my left arm to represent that,'" Root said. "The things that I take on usually hit me in a very visceral way."
In selecting literature, Root becomes the gatekeeper of what will make it into the hands of readers. Because of this role, she feels a sense of duty to make meaningful selections.
"With young adult fiction, I feel more of an obligation because the books that really changed who I am as a human being, I read before I was 16," Root said. "I have passed on young adult projects before because I felt like publishing them would be irresponsible. I like young adult novels to have some value beyond just being fun."
The reaction that Root has to a book becomes the foundation of the bond Root will share with the author.
"I jokingly compare an agent-client relationship to a marriage ... but it has to have that sort of ‘meant to be' about it," she said. "In order for me to go through all of the hoop-jumping of actually selling a book, I have to feel so passionately about it that I feel like if this book gets published, and I'm not a part of it, I just won't be able to live with it. You really have to connect with something on a very strong level."
Once a book passes the initial "yea or nay" read, Root goes to work by selecting which editors and publishing companies would be an appropriate fit for the work.
With hundreds of editors in each publishing house, it becomes her job to know who is best suited for a particular book, make contact with that individual and put the book into his or her hands.
"I am constantly making connections with editors, and figuring out people's likes and dislikes and what they're interested in," Root said. "If you hit at somebody with exactly what they're looking for no matter how crazy [the book] might be, you can really get a great reaction from people, which is why it's such a big part of my job to know who is looking for what."
Yet finding a place for the book to be printed is not Root's only task as an agent.
"From the author's point of view, I'm there as their protector, their guardian and hand-holder," Root said. "I'm part psychologist and part extremely critical reader so that I can help them get their work in the best shape it can be in before I send it to publishers, and [I'm] also there when they freak out because the editor sounded a little upset on the phone. I'm there to calm them down."
As the fuel that launches a book into the right hands, Root is privileged to have a feeling of accomplishment as her clients succeed.
"There's an incredible amount of responsibility and joy [in publishing]," Root said. "If you love books, what is cooler than being able to say, ‘I made that happen. I showed people that that book was worth buying.' The ability to share books with people and get paid for doing it, that's what it's all about for me."
|Fall 2006: Dr. David Rosand, the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History at Columbia University will present a seminar on the art of Leonardo da Vinci. Professor Rosand is a world-renowned expert on the Renaissance tradition and Venetian art, and is the author of Titian and the Venetian Woodcut (1976), Titian (1978), The Meaning of the Mark: Leonardo and Titian (1988), Painting in Sixteenth-Century Venice: Titian, Veronese, Tintoretto (1982, rev. ed. 1997), Robert Motherwell on Paper (1997), Myths of Venice: The Figuration of a State(2001) and Drawing Acts: Studies in Graphic Expression and Representation(2002). His website.|
Spring 2006: Peace in Palestine: The Arab-Israeli Conflict and U.S. Foreign Policy. On Thursday, March 2nd, 2006, three religious scholars came together to share their views on the continuing conflict in the Middle East. Rabbi Elliot Gertel of Chicago and Dr. Nabil Bayakly of Memphis presented differing views after an introduction Evertt Huffard, Dean of Harding University's Graduate School of Religion. Student questions followed. The event was attended by approximately 300 students, faculty, and members of the community, as well as representatives of local TV, radio, and print media outlets. A DVD of the Peace in Palestine seminar is available for $5 through the Honors College. Interested persons should call 501-279-4056 or e-mail email@example.com.
Rabbi Elliot B. Gertel, a native of Springfield, MA, attended the Joint Program at Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, earning a B.A. in philosophy and a B.H.L. in Bible. He received a M.H.L. from the Seminary, where he was ordained in 1981. Rabbi Gertel has been spiritual leader of Congregation Rodfei Zedek in Chicago since 1988. In Chicago he has been chairman of the Joint Television Commission of the Jewish Federation and the Chicago Board of Rabbis, President of the Hyde Park and Kenwood Interfaith Council, and a board member of the Chicago Jewish Historical Society.
|On the congregational level, Rabbi Gertel has been an innovator whose programs have won Solomon Schechter awards for music and publications and "unique programming." He has pioneered in outreach to synagogue alumni and in joint ventures with other communal agencies, such as Jewish Family Services. |
Rabbi Gertel has been a contributing editor of Conservative Judaism and Jewish Spectator magazines. He has contributed many essays and reviews to popular and scholarly publications in the fields of Jewish thought, Jewish literature and American Jewish history, and, since 1979, has been the media critic for the Jewish Post and Opinion, American Jewry’s longest-running national English-language weekly. His recent books include What Jews Know About Salvation, which prodded the Library of Congress to list "salvation" as a Jewish concept, and Over the Top Judaism, which discusses the depiction of Judaism in film and on television.
Nabil A. Bayakly was born in Kumasi, Ghana in West Africa to Lebanese parents of Turkish descent. During his youth in Tripoli, Lebanon Bayakly graduated from Tripoli Evangelical School and attended the Tripoli Institute for High Islamic Studies for two years. After arriving in the United States in 1979, he earned a PhD from the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Memphis. Dr. Bayakly is currently Assistant Professor of Biology at LeMoyne- Owen College in Memphis as well as Adjunct Professor for Islamic Studies at Memphis Theological Seminary. Bayakly is a cofounder of the Memphis Multireligious Association, serves as Chairman of Muslims in Memphis, and is a member of the Peace and Justice Center for the Midsouth, Diversity Memphis, and the Mayor’s Committee (of Memphis) for Multireligious and Multicultural Affairs. He also holds a Certificate of Achievement from the FBI for Civil Rights Training.
Bayakly has published numerous scientific, religious and sociopolitical papers and has been a guest speaker on Islamic and Middle East issues at many prestigious institutions, including Sewanee, Rhodes, and Columbia. Bayakly was the American-Muslim representative for the Second Asia Pacific Business Conference on Cultural Diversity at the Workplace in Putrajaya, Malaysia in 2005. Dr. Bayakly and his Ethiopian wife have four children, all US citizens.
Evertt W. Huffard is Dean/Executive Director and Professor of Missiology at Harding University Graduate School of Religion, in Memphis, Tennessee. He has been teaching leadership and missiology for 20 years. In 1997 he received the Distinguished Teacher Award from Harding University. His cross-cultural experiences began as a teenager when his parents moved to Jerusalem, Jordan in 1963. He returned to the USA in 1967 and after graduating from Lubbock Christian University (A.A.), Harding University (B.A.), and Harding University Graduate School of Religion (M.A. and M.Th.) he served a church in Nazareth, Israel and taught Bible at the Galilee Christian High School for five years. He completed a Ph.D. in Inter-Cultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1985 with a focus on the Muslim-Christian encounter. In addition to his ten years of urban ministry experience in Los Angeles and Memphis, Dr. Huffard frequently lectures on the Muslim-Christian encounter.
In June, 2000 he served as a co-leader of a delegation of 12 theologians visiting the Israeli and Palestinian delegates in the peace process in Jerusalem. For the past 20 years he has hosted tours to the Holy Land. Since 9/11 he has spoken to over 120 churches and schools on understanding our Muslim neighbors. His most recent trip to the Middle East was in December, 2004. Evertt and his wife, Ileene, have three children, and five grandchildren.
Called to Care: AIDS and Christian Compassion
On November 15th, 2005, Dr. Bruce Smith and Dr. Anna Griffith shared their views on the current state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the approaches churches should be taking in order to combat it. The event was an encouraging success, with over two hundred concerned students and faculty present. After presenting for an hour and a half Dr. Smith and Dr. Griffith answered many more questions from those present. The promotional video for the seminar as well as an audio recording of the event are available below.
Bruce Smith is a Christian HIV physician with training and experience in Family Practice, International Health and Public Health. He is an elder of the Redlands, California, Church of Christ and works for the Public Health Department of San Bernardino County. He is a graduate of Harding and the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, and spent eight years in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala as a medical missionary. Most recently he has made two trips to Africa to learn from church leaders what should be done about the HIV crisis there and to lead church leaders in choosing courses of action.
Anna Griffith was born and raised in Levelland, TX. After high school she attended and received a professional certificate from the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Along with numerous other degrees, Dr. Griffith holds the Doctor of Ministry from Abilene Christian University. She is the author of Balance: A Modern Christian Challenge and From Paul to Philippi, With Love, along with numerous articles in "Wineskins," "Christian Chronicle," and other publications. She became involved with AIDS when she learned that a family member was HIV+, who then challenged her by stating (truthfully) that the church at the time was doing nothing about AIDS.