The Willis D. Weatherford, Jr. Campus Christian Center

Academic Support

All programs, activities, and services that the Campus Christian Center provides function variously as indirect support for the larger educational mission of Berea College. Through its work and personnel, however, the Center offers even more direct or obvious forms of support for the academic program of the College. In the following ways, as well as in other less obvious ways, the Campus Christian Center implements its vision of educating about the role of Christian faith in an academic context.

The endowment for the Center provides for a professorship, the Eli Lilly Professorship in Religion, with an appointment to both the Department of Philosophy and Religion and the Campus Christian Center. The faculty person who holds this tenure-track position teaches a reduced load of academic courses in both the Department of Philosophy and Religion and in the Department of General Studies, in order to offer additional educational programs on religious thought and ethics, through the Campus Christian Center, for students, faculty, and staff. The Lilly Professor’s additional lectures, workshops, and spiritual retreats through the Center address key religious, social, and moral issues in contemporary life and culture.

Since the inception of the Campus Christian Center in 1971, the professional chaplains or ministers of the Center have taught courses on various topics in religious thought and life through the Department of Philosophy and Religion. In 2003, with the resources produced by the endowment for the Campus Christian Center, the College developed two new tenure-track faculty positions, both of which include dual appointments to both the Department of Philosophy and Religion and the Campus Christian Center. As a result, at the same time that the College developed the Lilly Professorship of Religion into a full-time, permanent, tenure-track position in the College, the College also developed a second tenure-track position in the Campus Christian Center. For the first time in the history of the Center, the person who serves as Director of the Campus Christian Center also holds a tenure-track position on the faculty in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, teaching courses from both the Department of Philosophy and Religion and the Department of General Studies.

The remaining two College Chaplains in the Center teach adjunctively as needed (as many as two courses for each chaplain, per academic year) in areas of each chaplain’s area of academic expertise. Thus, the restricted endowment of the Campus Christian Center provides personnel and resources for the teaching of academic courses in several departments: Philosophy and Religion, General Studies, Women’s Studies, and African and African-American Studies, often with cross-listings of those courses in other departments and programs as well. As a result of these commitments from the Center to the course-offerings of the College, the Center contributes the equivalent of approximately two full-time faculty-members to the academic program of the College.

The Campus Christian Center supports the academic program of the College in other ways as well. For students in the College, the Center will support occasional student team-initiated studies or courses, short-term courses, and academic internships, when those projects or courses relate to central features of the Center’s work and programming. In addition, the Center provides some support for the faculty as well: for example, the Center covers the cost for the College’s membership in the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts, a program that “seeks to renew and enhance the connections between Christianity and academic vocation at church-related colleges and universities.”

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