Denial’s End

Posted on by Brooke

Okay, I’ll come out and say it: the academic year is on us. Charles’ excitement about things (“…I have the privilege of teaching some amazing classes”) seems to me an opportunity for all of us to finally let go of our denial and talk optimistically about the elephant in the room. (“Not everybody gets to have one, you know. Think of all the fertilizer for the garden!”)

This term, as a sabbatical replacement, I get to serve as director of one of our academic programs: with advisees, and everything! What interests me most about it so far is, that it draws me into closer contact not only with the students but also with the other faculty. The life of us “contingent faculty” types sits on a spectrum from isolation to collaboration, and tends to be weighted toward the former. The ability to spend more time on campus means, for me, the opportunity to become better acquainted with peers whom I already vaguely know to be some interesting people.


  • Introduction to the Old Testament: many changes this term, mostly toward online collaboration; also, I am offering my lectures only as podcasts to be viewed at home, not during sessions.

  • Elementary Hebrew I: continuing with an initial ten hours of purely oral/aural exercises (no aleph-bet). I have ideas for something that seems fun to me, but I’m not talking about it yet in case I don’t quite manage it.

  • Colloquium for Masters of Theological Studies: where new MTS students get oriented to the degree program and veterans write and present their thesis proposals. This is a new one for me.

  • Literature of Ancient Israel: this is actually at another school, Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies. It is geared towards laypeople, and meets only once a week at night. Last year’s students were a delight.

The truth will set you free: shake off your denial and come clean. If you are teaching, then what are you teaching? If you are a student, what are you taking? In either case, what are you (or what could you be) excited about in this coming academic term?