CFP: Undergraduate Conference at St. Francis University

"[If] the goal of higher education is to promote in the student a sense of self-reliance and the love of life long learning," concludes John Ishiyama , "there is no better way to inculcate these values then through the promotion of student research."

Amen! Of course, the working assumption here is that when students have ownership of their studies, they tend to work harder, value their experience, and feel intellectually challenged and transformed. I've overseen a handful of student research projects--some have gone well, others have failed miserably. While members of the latter camp frustrate me, I continue to seek out those motivated few who want to take control of their academic future. To give them a venue, I created an undergraduate conference, and this March marks our third installment.

I ask my friends (and enemies--I'm looking your way Pasquier) on this blog to consider: a) attending; b) attending and bringing some students along; or c) forwarding this CFP to others. While faculty aren't giving presentations, it is as much for us as it is for the students. Ideas, teaching strategies, research projects, and shared frustrations are all discussed between sessions and over lunch. Moreover, students like mine who find themselves in the minority at their respective institutions discover that they aren't alone. Yes, there are people in this world who care about Kant's categorical imperative!

Friday and Saturday, March 26-27, 2009
Saint Francis University, Loretto, Pennsylvania 15940


We cordially invite undergraduates to submit proposals on matters pertaining to philosophy and religion for the third annual North American Undergraduate Conference in Religion and Philosophy. Submissions are encouraged from students majoring in all academic fields to include (but not limited to), religion, philosophy, sociology, psychology, history, literature, the fine arts, and political science.

Although papers on all subjects will be considered, priority will be given to those addressing this year’s theme, “The Common Good.” The common good “refers to the sum total of all the social conditionals that allow people, both individuals and groups, to lead fully human lives. Among the essential dimensions of the common good are (1) respect for other people and their rights; (2) the development of the temporal and spiritual goods of society; and (3) justice, peace, and security for all people” (John T. Ford, Glossary of Theological Terms, 2006).

Paper proposals (roughly 250 words) should give a brief but concise outline of the presentation. The deadline for proposals is February 13, 2009. Please include your full name, paper title, institution, e-mail, phone number, and the name and contact information of your major professor. Presenters must submit their full paper by March 13, 2009 to be considered for conference prizes. Proposals and final papers should be sent via e-mail attachment to Arthur Remillard at aremillard[at]francis[dot]edu.

This year’s keynote speaker will be peace activist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and author John Dear, S.J. His most recent books include, A Persistent Peace: One Man's Struggle for a Nonviolent World and Transfiguration: A Meditation on Transforming Ourselves and Our World.

The keynote address will be held on Friday evening, with a student discussion forum to follow. All student presentations will be given on Saturday from approximately 9:00 am-5:00 pm. This conference is open to the public and free for presenters and non-presenters alike. For more information, directions, contacts, scheduling, etc., please visit our website: This conference is organized by St. Francis University, PA and Westminster College, PA, with the support of SFU’s Campus Ministry, the Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, the Institute for Ethics, and the DiSepio Institute for Rural Health and Wellness.


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