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Grant to Support Research, Teaching of Environmental Stewardship as Part of Spiritan Mission

A Lily Fellows Program grant focusing on faculty scholarship and the mission-based teaching of environmental stewardship has been awarded to two Duquesne University faculty members.

Dr. Darlene Fozard Weaver, director of the Center for the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, and Dr. Maureen R. O'Brien, chair of the theology department, recently were selected for a Lilly Fellows Program grant to gather a group of six faculty members in 2014-2015 to engage in interdisciplinary conversation about Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability: Explorations at a Spiritan Catholic University.

A small group of faculty who are already involved in University initiatives concerning mission or environmental issues-theology, chemistry, psychology and natural and environmental sciences-will develop targeted areas of their own scholarship and teaching around the Spiritan mission of justice, peace and the integrity of creation.

Because environmental concerns are part of the University's strategic plan, the grant illustrates the way the University's academic mission and Spiritan Catholic identity intersect. The $3,000 grant also offers the opportunity to examine theological perspectives on topics including contemporary challenges such as Marcellus Shale gas, and to develop thinking both in terms of individuals and communities, said O'Brien.

"The dialogue among theology, science, social science and other fields is alive and well at Duquesne," O'Brien said. "The grant gives us new opportunities to develop that dialogue through concerted interdisciplinary efforts."

The program itself intends to foster sustainable interdisciplinary outcomes by:

  • Establishing possible areas for student and community engagement with the Office of Service Learning
  • Encouraging application for faculty research grants and mission-related research
  • Developing team-taught classes.

"Sustainability and environmental issues already are already pursued in thoughtful and innovative ways across campus, in our operations and in our classrooms," Weaver said. "We're pleased that this Lilly Fellows grant allows us to build upon these efforts in new ways."

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic research universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. The University is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review for its rich academic programs in nine schools of study for nearly 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and by the Washington Monthly for service and contributing to students' social mobility. Duquesne is a member of the U.S. President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for its contributions to Pittsburgh and communities around the globe. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Princeton Review's Guide to Green Colleges acknowledge Duquesne's commitment to sustainability.