Christian Faith and Academic Vocation

Christian Faith and Academic Vocation

Ranked faculty members at Messiah University are expected to explore, understand, and articulate connections between the Christian faith and their vocations as teacher-scholars. Therefore, the term tenure and promotion process, as well as clinical track and lecturer track review processes include required activities that a faculty member must complete at two stages in his/her tenure at Messiah University. In addition, faculty members who wish to be reviewed for promotion to the rank of Professor must complete a third requirement to be eligible to undergo promotion review.

Beginning in the first semester with Provost’s Seminar, continuing in the second year with university-wide reading and prompt discussions, and continuing for more senior faculty with faculty colloquies, PLCs, book discussions, and other events throughout the year, the Office of Faculty Development supports faculty as they make connections between the Christian faith and their vocation as teacher-scholars.

The full policy for the CFAV requirement can be found in Section 6B of the COE Handbook.

Faculty members up for initial or third year review should read the linked university-wide bibliography on the philosophy and practice of Christian higher education and respond in writing to associated prompts. The written responses shall demonstrate thoughtful engagement with the bibliography and be approximately 5-7 single spaced pages in their entirety (4 prompts, 1-2 single-spaced pages per prompt). 

The faculty member will forward his/her responses to his/her school dean no later than the first Friday of the semester the faculty member is undergoing his/her Initial or Third Year Review.

In the years prior to the faculty member’s term-tenure Review, the faculty member will read and engage with at least 2-3 books or 5-6 articles (or equivalent) from a departmental bibliography or other relevant texts of the faculty member’s choosing that relate Christian faith to the discipline or disciplines represented in the academic department. The faculty member will select some but not necessarily all of their readings from the department bibliography.  Options for completing this requirement fall into two basic categories.

Option One: The faculty member will respond in writing (approximately 1500-2500 words) to the following prompt: In response to your chosen readings, elucidate the connections between Christian faith and 1-3 concepts in your academic discipline.

Option Two: The faculty member will write a thesis-driven essay (approximately 1500-2500 words) that joins in and seeks to advance the discussion of Christian scholarship in the faculty member’s academic discipline.

The faculty member will submit the written work, including a list of texts read, to the School Dean and Department Chair no later than August 1 of the academic year in which the term-tenure review is scheduled to occur.

CFAV Rubric for TT Review

Prior to this review, the faculty member completes a thesis-driven Christian faith and academic vocation scholarly product (essay or project) approved by the dean and presented to a campus audience.  The project articulates connections between his/her identity as a Christian and his/her work at Messiah University (teaching, institutional service, or scholarship). This project must demonstrate a mature and sophisticated understanding of the faculty member’s vocation as a Christian academic. As such, it shall exhibit a nuanced understanding of the issues at stake, thoughtful interaction with relevant scholarly literature, and original insights, with the potential to catalyze future discussion by informed academics.

Options for this project fall into two basic categories:

Option One – A thesis-driven, professional-quality essay that advances the discussion of the relationship of Christian faith to some aspect of the faculty member’s vocation (as teacher, scholar, or institutional servant). It is expected that this essay will be based at least partly on original research or reflection undertaken by the faculty member, and will interact with relevant scholarly literature.

Option Two – A peer-reviewed scholarly product—scholarly article, applied scholarly product, artistic work, or performance—published or completed within the last five years that implicitly incorporates Christian faith, practice, or values; accompanied by a commentary in which the faculty member explains the implicit Christian dimensions of the article, product, artistic work, or performance.

CFAV Bibliography by Department 

Use the drop-down menus below to find the bibliographies for each academic department.