With one semester on campus complete, Peter Kanelos, Ph.D., dean of Christ College — The Honors College, admits he couldn’t have dreamed of a more exciting opportunity to participate in the advancement of higher education.
As dean, he can better see all of the moving parts within the University. In this role, he is responsible for the strategic leadership, coordination, and guidance of Christ College (CC).
“I’m eager for Christ College to continue to work toward the fulfillment of the Strategic Plan of the University,” he said. For example, Christ College is dedicated to providing its students with a diverse and global experience. The Freshman Program, which is the foundation of the Christ College curriculum, while grounded in the great works of the Western tradition, purposefully incorporates the study of Eastern philosophy and literature. CC provides fellowships for pre-med students to do work in Central America. And nearly half of CC students study abroad during their time at Valpo.
Alumni are also encouraged to continue to participate in the intellectual life of the University. Christ College hosts CC Alumni reading groups in several cities across the country to discuss the very books that undergraduates are currently reading in their seminars. Peter, an avid reader and passionate discussant, has already traveled to several of the alumni reading groups to participate in their discussions, and he hopes to visit all of the groups by the end of the year.
In addition, he has used his expertise in dramatic literature to collaborate with the English and Theatre departments in planning Shakespeare Week taking place on campus March 17-21, 2014.
Prior to arriving at Valpo, he held appointments at larger institutions such as Stanford University, the University of San Diego, and Loyola University Chicago. He sees Valpo’s more intimate setting as providing opportunities for more campus-wide integration, deeper conversations about how faith intersects with student life and learning, and greater support for faculty in their primary mission: excellent teaching.
He said, “Valpo is the perfect size to allow faculty to have a more intensive focus on the undergraduate experience,” Peter said. “There is intentional effort here toward balancing their commitment to the classroom with their scholarly research.
“It is an exciting and challenging time to be involved in higher education. I’m thrilled to be in a position to advocate for a highly personalized pedagogy, dedicated to developing the whole person, at a faith-based institution. It is a tremendous blessing.”
Peter received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Northwestern University, a Master of Arts in Political Philosophy from Boston University and a Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He is the fifth person to serve as dean of Christ College, which was founded in 1967 and is the third oldest honors college in the United States.