Week in Review

This is our weekly post of links, resources, and articles that would be helpful to ESN members. If you’d like to contribute something, please suggest it in the comments, or send it directly to either Tom or Mike.

Update on the ESN Book Club: We’ve moved the dates back for our discussions to give you more time to order and start reading John Stott’s Your Mind Matters. The discussions will now start June 9. Read all the details here.

From Tom

Psychology Grad Students Get Counseled on How to Teach:  Below are a few suggestions, do they apply to all fields?  Are there key truths missing?

  1. Know the course material, but don’t be afraid to admit when you can’t answer a question.
  2. If you’re younger than some of your students, don’t be intimidated.
  3. Be available during office hours—but jealously guard your time outside those hours.
  4. Find a teaching mentor—who probably won’t be your graduate adviser.

From Mike

Off-Track Profs – Inside Higher Ed previews a new book from MIT Press, which finds that adjuncts and graduate students teach a far greater number of classes at elite universities than previously assumed, and (by one measure, student evaluations) might be significantly better teachers than tenure-track faculty. (Perhaps predictably, the IHE comments get derailed by arguments over the reliability of student evaluation data, rather than discussing the more important implications of the book.)

Credit Where Credit is Due – From Symmetry: in scientific articles where there might be dozens or even hundreds of contributors (all listed alphabetically), how can young researchers stand out? This article looks at the problem and offers a few practical ideas for both journals and researchers. The article itself deals specifically with particle physics, but I imagine the problem is similar in other scientific disciplines.

Toolbox for Digital and Spatial Humanities – This extensive wiki lists a wide variety of digital tools for humanists. (HT: @dancohen, via Twitter)

Small Everyday Battles – From ESN’s sister site, The Well, Grace Chiu reflects on the “everyday struggles of the dissertator.” But I want to hear more about this statement from her bio:

Believing that writing should be done in creative spaces, Grace wrote the majority of her dissertation at the Getty Center and Disneyland.

From the Community

Helpful links from comments on other posts:

In a conversation about the current debate between John Piper and N. T. Wright over the doctrine of justification, commenter David reminded us that Piper’s book, The Future of Justification, is available as a free download from Piper’s website.

Trice recommended the blog post, A Brief Theory of Anti-Teaching, as a method for teaching students how to think critically.


Longing for God: Seven Paths of Christian Devotion (InterVarsity Press, 2009).  A thought-provoking and devotional introduction to following of Christ through the lens of seven spiritual paths illuminated by 26 Christ followers.   Due to the Body of Christ’s commitment to

  1. loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and & strength as a community
  2. sharing the Good News with our neighbor (and dare we say the creation itself),

it’s not surprising that many of the highlighted Christ followers were engaged in educational venues.  Below’s a quote from Richard J. Foster & Gayle D. Beebe section on Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), who faced great opposition to his vocational path from his family/parents (including prostitutes and the offer to purchase the post of archbishop of Naples), classmates (who labeled him the dumb ox), and church authorities (regarding the orthodoxy of his writing).  But by God’s grace, he endured the temptations of higher education …

And prayer was where Aquinas ended.  On December 6, 1273, during the Feast of Saint Nicholas, he had a profound mystical experience of heaven and the surpassing glory of God, after which he declared, “All that I have written seems to me like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.”  He died three months later.  We know, of course, that the Summa [Theologica] is far more than straw, but it is instructive for our growth in grace to see that after all Aquinas’s carefully framed argumentation about the validity and importance of reason, he has a mystical experience so overwhelming that it trumps reason.

Thomas Aquinas said on his deathbed, “I receive Thee, the price of my redemption, for Whose love I have watched, studied and labored.  Thee have I preached; Thee have I taught.  Never have I said anything against Thee:  if anything was not well said, that is to be attributed to my ignorance.”

*Note:  Thomas Aquinas is bundled with Martin Luther and John Calvin in the path of Spiritual Devotion called The Recovery of Knowledge of God Lost in the Fall.  For more on Thomas Aquinas I’d recommend you begin with Thomas Aquinas: Christian History Interview – He’s Our Man, The Dazzling ‘Dumb Ox’, and Thomas Aquinas: Recommended Resources.

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Tom Grosh IV

Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the South Central PA Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). The Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine is the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!

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