Since 2013, the Summer Scholars Program has been an integral part of our Templeton calendar. As soon as commencement is over and our undergrad students depart for the summer, we begin looking forward to high school sophomores and juniors arriving on campus in July. They come from across the United States and further afield to study with our Templeton professors, get to know current Templeton students, and engage with both their peers and classic texts. The classes are not your usual AP fare, but instead challenge students to think carefully about the intellectual, moral, and spiritual implications of their learning. As our professors pose questions and guide discussions students are invited into conversations that stretch back more than two thousand years; this summer will be no different.
In our first course, “Confronting Dragons,” we’ll be studying the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and wondering what role fantastic and mythic literature has to play in the life of faith and virtue. Although Tolkien’s work is one of fantasy, the world he creates is by no means idyllic: he does not shy away from pain and suffering, but instead deals with them in a thoroughly Christian way, not through tragedy but with hope. What can we learn from this genre of fiction we could not learn elsewhere? How can we as Christians profit from reading such literature? Course I will run from July 6-14 and earn students 3 college credits.
Our second course, “Politics in a Post-Christian World,” addresses a perennial and yet increasingly pertinent issue for any faithful believer: how do we understand our responsibilities to both church and state? Does our faith inform our politics, and if so, how? Should Christian morality be written into law? Do the ideals of the state directly conflict with those of Christ? Christians have been discussing these questions in depth for two thousand years and have often come to vastly different conclusions. During this Summer Scholars course, students will have the opportunity to study thinkers as diverse as Cicero, Aquinas, and Jefferson as they join in this conversation. Course II will run from July 16-23 and earn students 2 college credits.
We have consistently been impressed by the depth of conversation and high academic standards from our Summer Scholars participants. Because of this, any student interested in applying for the Templeton Honors College undergraduate program who receives a grade of “B” or above for either course is invited to skip the application and instead go straight to an interview with Templeton faculty.
The application for the Templeton Summer Scholars Program is now open and you can apply online or recommend a high school student here. The application deadline is April 16th! If you have further questions then get in touch with our Director of Recruitment, Meganne Beach (firstname.lastname@example.org or 610.225.5460).