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Epistle: FAHE Annual Conference, Pendle Hill and Swarthmore College, June 13-15, 2019

To Friends Everywhere:
 
FAHE gathered for its 40th conference at Pendle Hill and Swarthmore College to explore our theme for this year, “Truth and Inspiration.” In the many stories we heard, speakers spoke of the necessity of courage and risk taking being needed to speak truth to power. In a world of contingent truth, fake news and outright deception seeking truth is not enough. Acting on truth to transform our world is required. We heard many stories of Friends having the courage to act on truth.
 
The opening plenary address “Looking Inward with Courage: Quaker Organizations Parading Peace & Justice” was presented on Thursday evening, June 13, 2019, at Pendle Hill by Joyce Aljouny, Executive Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee, headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. She began by noting that we advocate for Peace & Justice in our literature, we highlight them in our courses, and center on them in our service work and programming. Then she challenged us with the questions about how courageous should we be when demonstrating peace and justice practices, policies and principles within our Quaker organizations. These questions can be applied not only in our service organizations but also throughout the Quaker world in our faith communities as well as our schools and colleges. As a Palestinian-American she had many moving stories to share from family life, a career as an educator, and most recently in her work with the AFSC. Truth telling and risk taking require courage, openness to taking bold risks. But not taking action has risks, too, and so we need to support each other in creating environments that allow us to be in the sometimes uncomfortable role of truth telling in our communities. Truth requires courage.
 
The leadership panel of Quaker leaders explored the challenges of institutions to be truthful and courageous. Colleges are concerned about how they are perceived by others, sustainability, continuity, and stasis. These make following the truth difficult and the leaders spoke of the challenges they face in following the truth in the decisions and actions they take.
 
Friday night’s plenary address “I Must Always Walk in the Light” was presented by Maurice Eldridge at Swarthmore College. Eldridge, former Vice President at Swarthmore College, shared of his life experiences and career, beginning with his early childhood, and ending with projects he continues to be involved with. He spoke of his white neighbor telling him as a young child that “his dark skin was beautiful, and not to let anyone tell him differently.” He shared the importance of education in his family’s life, that “education was a gateway to a successful life.” He also learned the power of vulnerability, and being available and accessible to his students, that he could be a better educator by being true to being a model for them. While he was first exposed to the Religious Society of Friends in high school, and is an alum of Swarthmore College, it was after the death of his first wife that he sought worship with Friends, and found a supportive spiritual space (and also met his current wife). He spoke of the power of being silent together. Through his stories, it was clear that being true to himself, being a model for others, and uplifting various kinds of education, are at the center of his being. We are grateful for his vulnerability in sharing his incredible story
 
In our third plenary Frances Blase, Provost at Haverford College shared Haverford’s struggle with Academic Freedom and its discernment whether to accept or decline grants from the U.S. Department of Defense. In academia, freedom is necessary for finding truth. It is highly protected in colleges and universities. Haverford has had to grapple with their limits to academic freedom, when that freedom might conflict with a core value of a Quaker institution such as its stance of not supporting the military.
 
Our final plenary was brought forward by Jon Watts, who told the origin of QuakerSpeak, a Friends Journal project, and a Quaker YouTube channel. Watts weaved examples from the past five years into his story. He answered questions around theological diversity through showing videos, and we are excited to see what the next five years might bring forward.
 
In 24 presentations during concurrent sessions we learned from each other as we explored truth and inspiration in different contexts. Topics explored seeking truth and inspiration in a wide range of areas of concern to Friends and spoke to complexity of our theme of truth and inspiration.
 
We expressed deep gratitude for John Kershner and Paul Anderson’s service on FAHE Executive Committee. Appreciation for the Program Committee, and our hosts (Pendle Hill and Swarthmore College) making the conference a great one was expressed.
 
We were challenged to bring acting in truth through our living testimony home to our institutions. We look forward to meeting for our next conference at Earlham College and Earlham School of Religion in June 2020.
 
Yours in Friendship
Friends Association for Higher Education
June 15th, 2019

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2019 Conference at Swarthmore College and Pendle Hill

FAHE is pleased to be gathering for our 40th conference at our member institutions Pendle Hill and Swarthmore College, June 13-16.

We’ll be considering our conference of “Truth and Inspiration” through over 25 presentations and workshops.  See the conference schedule and 2019 Conference Program. Read more about our four plenary speakers: Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee; Maurice Eldridge, Vice Chair, The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts and Pendle Hill board member;  Frances Rose Blase, Provost of Haverford College, and Jon Watts, producer of the video series Quaker Speak.

We’ll debut FAHE’s latest volume in our series Quakers and the Disciplines with a book sale and signing by the editors of Quakers, Creation Care, and Sustainability.

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FAHE fundraiser for scholarships

As we look forward to our annual conference in June at Pendle Hill and Swarthmore College, near Philadelphia, FAHE has launched a fundraising campaign to offer scholarships for students, adjunct faculty and independent scholars to attend.

FAHE is committed to promoting the Quaker ideals of equality, social justice and peace in higher education.  The opportunity to share academic interests in a spiritually nourishing environment is unique and precious; and in an era of tightening budgets, we want to welcome the newest generation of post-secondary teachers and scholars into the profession and our FAHE community. 

Last year, donations to FAHE for scholarships enabled Stanley Chagala Ngesa, a Kenyan Quaker studying at Earlham School of Religion, to attend our conference at Wilmington College in Ohio.  Here’s a video as he reflects on the benefits that he experienced from attending the conference. 

We would appreciate your gift of any amount! To donate, click here.  Thank you!

 

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2019 Conference Registration is Open

Registration for FAHE’s 2019 conference at Swarthmore College and Pendle Hill is now open!

FAHE invites you to join teachers, scholars and educational administrators on the beautiful campuses of Swarthmore College and Pendle Hill near Philadelphia, for our annual conference.

We will consider the theme “Truth and Inspiration” and other topics of interest to Friends and educators through presentations, panel discussions, and three plenary speakers: Joyce Ajlouny, General Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee; Maurice Eldridge, Vice Chair, The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts and Pendle Hill board member; and Frances Rose Blase, Provost of Haverford College.

The conference also offers a disciplinary theme, as we prepare the seventh volume in our “Quakers and the Disciplines” book series. Sessions will address the theme of Quakers, Social Work and Justice Concerns. Conference presentations provide an opportunity to draft an article for inclusion in the volume.

Interested in presenting a session? Proposals are being accepted on-line through March 31.

Scholarship support is offered to graduate students and adjunct faculty. Please contact FAHE for details.

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Invitation: Call for Presentations

40th Annual Meeting of the Friends Association for Higher Education
June 13-16, 2019
Swarthmore College and Pendle Hill
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Conference Theme: Truth and Inspiration

The Friends Association for Higher Education was conceived in 1979 by a group of educators seeking to bring together faculty, staff and administrators at historically Quaker colleges and universities, as well as Friends teaching at other institutions. Since its founding, FAHE has met annually at Friends institutions of higher education around the US and beyond, engaging educators and scholars in ongoing dialogue around Quaker concerns in higher education. From the very beginning, Friends have embraced a strong commitment to education, and Friends schools and colleges have attracted and welcomed both Quaker and non-Quaker educators alike who resonate with the historic Friends commitment to educating the whole person, guided by the Quaker testimonies of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and (especially in recent decades) sustainability.

This coming summer, from June 13-16, 2019, FAHE will hold its annual conference at Swarthmore College and Pendle Hill, near Philadelphia. The FAHE Program Committee invites proposals from faculty, staff and administrators for presentations related to the conference theme of Truth and Inspiration, or other topics reflecting Quaker concerns in higher education. As a tool for seeking truth as part of corporate discernment and decision-making, Quakers offer queries to provide focus, direction, and inspiration. Queries to consider in envisioning and crafting proposals include:

• What are truth and truth-seeking, and how would you define these in your discipline and work?

• In an era where truth is under constant assault, how do we navigate, in and outside the classroom, the dangers posed by lying, information suppression, misrepresentation, and conspiracy theories?

• How do we navigate between apparently conflicting truths, values or stories?

• How has your campus responded to, or been involved in, the free speech controversies that have engulfed campuses around the country?

• In the face of growing threats to human and civil rights, a global environmental crisis, mindless consumption, and opioid addiction, what does it mean to speak truth to power?

• In an era of lies, deception, and abuse of power, how do we prevent ourselves and our students from succumbing to cynicism, hopelessness and despair?

• How do we inspire curiosity, wonder, awe, and a love of learning in our work with students in and outside the classroom?

• What values do we seek to honor in our work as educators and scholars, and what is the basis for these values?

• Wherein do you find inspiration, meaning, or truth?


The conference also offers a publication opportunity: FAHE’s Quakers and the Disciplines book series

Presenters can propose a presentation topic on the theme of the upcoming seventh volume, Quakers, Social Work and Justice Concerns. Conference presentations provide an opportunity to draft an article for inclusion in the volume. Editors Max Carter, Daniel Rhodes, Jennifer Buck, and Erin Johnson offer some ideas for topics:

+ Early Friends and social concerns
+ Concerns for the poor (John Bellers, John Woolman)
+ Concerns for the imprisoned (Elizabeth Fry, etc.)
+ Early concerns regarding slavery (George Keith, Germantown Friends, etc.)
+ Concerns for the mentally ill (the Tukes, Philadelphia Hospital, etc.)
+ Pennsylvania—the “Holy Experiment” as a haven for conscientious refugees
+ Quakers and the abolition of slavery
+ Women’s rights and suffrage
+ Temperance and domestic concerns
+ Reconciliation and peace work
+ Reconstruction and post-war relief work
+ Jane Addams: innovator in the field of social work
+ The AFSC and Quaker Peace & Service
+ Quakers and the United Nations
+ Quaker missions and social concerns
+ Quakers and Gandhi and King
+ Quakers, Ramallah and Palestine


Proposal Guidelines

Suggested Length: 250 words
Information to Include: Name, title, institution, type of presentation (traditional lecture, discussion), title of presentation, technology needs, presentation description
Deadline: January 31, 2019
Please submit proposals online.

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2018 Quaker College Fair

The 2018 Quaker College Fair is on Saturday, September 29th! Come to Friends Center in Philadelphia to hear a discussion on the college admissions process and how to find the right school. Panelists are Duleep Deosthale, Dean of LIU Global, Grant Calder, Co-Director of College Counseling, Friends Central School, Dennis Kelly, Vice President of Enrollment, Wilmington College, Meg Rose, Earlham College alumna, and David Harrington Watt, Professor of Quaker Studies, Haverford College.

Then meet with reps from historically Quaker colleges, including Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Earlham, Guilford, Malone, Swarthmore, Wilmington, LIU Global and Earlham School of Religion, plus get information from Whittier College, George Fox University, William Penn University, Friends University and Barclay College.

This free event takes place at noon on Saturday, September 29 at Friends Center, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia.   The Quaker College Fair is hosted by FAHE and Philadelphia Yearly Meeting.

Student registration is open now: https://tinyurl.com/QuakerCollegeFair

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FAHE’s newest book

FAHE is pleased to announce the publication of Quakers, Politics and Economics, the fifth volume in our book series Quakers and the Disciplines, available in both print and Kindle editions.  Editors for this volume are David R. Ross of Bryn Mawr College and Michael T. Snarr of Wilmington College.

For over 350 years, Quakers have offered unapologetic prophetic witness to the formation of public policy and to scholarly discourse in political science and economics. This volume offers 18 new essays on aspects of that engagement, with topics including:

  • Religion as a public witness, not just a private commitment.
  • Explorations of the moral dimensions of economic and political life.
  • Exemplary thought and practice in the lives of individual Quakers.
  • The blend of service, advocacy, and activism experienced by Friends.
  • The role of faith in defining and building a just social order.
  • The efforts of Quaker organizations and movements to bring about political and economic reforms.
  • Visions of constructive and compassionate ways to address global challenges and crises.

The combination of essays and queries is designed to make the book serviceable within classroom and discussion settings and useful to scholars crossing disciplinary boundaries.

         “Most people associate Quakers with peace; fewer know the breadth of how we as Friends have practiced our faith from an               economic perspective. Simplicity and integrity, of course; but this important volume–Quakers, Politics, and Economics–                     offers a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the historical, intellectual, environmental, political and spiritual                           wholeness of economic life. As we confront the cultural and social shifts of our global society that hungers for peace and                       justice, the economic choices we make in public policy will have significant impact on the welfare of the planet and people                   throughout the world. This eclectic collection of essays offers material for both thoughtful discussion and spiritual reflection.”

                                                                                                                                          ~ Diane Randall, Executive Secretary
                                                                                                                                              Friends Committee on National Legislation

Quakers, Politics and Economics is available through Amazon, as is the entire Quakers and the Disciplines series. Special pricing for  book club use is available by contacting FAHE.

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2018 Epistle

The Friends Association for Higher Education (FAHE) met at Wilmington College (Wilmington, Ohio) from June 14-17, 2018 on the theme “Keeping Faithful in a Time of Rapid Change.”

Nelson Bingham, recently retired provost of Earlham College, used the goals of community and diversity to caution us against using “class” in its various manifestations to isolate persons. He implored us to value the identity and dignity of each individual to generate respect.

Hannah Lutz (Bridges of Hope), Allen Willoughby (Sugar Tree Ministries), and Thomas Vaughn (Tender Mercies) described being faithful to the homeless in communities in southwestern Ohio. They encouraged participation by colleges and their students in this service.

A panel of Quaker-college presidents challenged us to seek vitality through distinctiveness, transformative experiences, and authentic language. They encouraged us to help in socializing new faculty to Quaker practice. They also reminded us how privileged we are to participate in higher education in spite of current challenges.

Laura Rediehs offered ways to keep the candle of education lit by showing how the nurturing of the beloved community can overcome the idolatry of economic concern, technology dependence, and procedural confinement. To accomplish this, we must be both custodians and critics of culture. We should address whether our teaching and professional practice is governed by the idol of “meeting standards;” whether mocking disciplines is a defense of these idols; and whether the pursuit of academic debate becomes simply a form of conflict. We should accentuate the power of the positive for liberation from idolatry in order to live an illuminated life in a supportive community. In this way the candle of education cannot really be extinguished.

Members’ contributions explored the theme “Faithfulness in a Time of Rapid Change,” calling us to honor Friends traditions, love and care for creation, clarify our mission while under fire, and promote life sustaining use of technologies.

We look forward to meeting in search of truth again at Swarthmore College and Pendle Hill in June, 2019.

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The 2018 FAHE conference is this week

We’re all looking forward to gathering on Thursday at Wilmington College for the 2018 FAHE conference. Here’s the agenda and list of presentations.

There’s still time to join us!

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The 2018 conference is almost here

The Program Committee is busy putting the final touches on this year’s FAHE conference. We’ll be gathering at Wilmington College June 14-17 to consider our theme of “Keeping Faithful in a Time of Rapid Change.”

We’ll be debuting our newest book in the our series “Quakers and the Disciplines.” Volume 5 is “Quakers, Politics, and Economics.” We’ll also hear presentations centered around next year’s volume, “Quakers, Sustainability and Creation Care.”

Please join us! The deadline to reserve housing is June 4th, so don’t delay!  More information and registration is here.

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