by Marie Teilhard
Learning trips are an exciting component of the academic experience at Kilns College. Each year, students from around the world meet together at locations of theological, political, and cultural importance. These intensive trips provide an opportunity for students in all of Kilns’ degree tracks to earn 3 course credits for on-site study.
In Fall 2017, Kilns students and friends spent ten days in Italy and Germany to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of The Reformation. This learning trip was also organized to mark the official launch of the Theology & Culture graduate degree program, which emphasizes the study of philosophies and worldviews that have informed, and continue to shape our culture. The Theology & Culture degree track uniquely equips students to engage with and lead within diverse religious, political, and cultural communities.
One Kilns student remarked, “I have never been to Italy or Germany before. This trip was the perfect chance for me to learn about art, society, and culture. I was able to meet other students face-to-face and have the opportunity to complete a 3-credit course in a short amount of time. Learning trips are the best way to connect with other students, my professors, and the course material. I’m looking forward to the next trip!”
During our European adventure, students and friends visited The Coliseum and The Vatican Museums in Rome; Galleria dell’Academia and the Uffizi Gallery in the Renaissance’s cultural capital city of Florence; and we embarked upon a pilgrimage to Castle Church, on the outskirts of Berlin, to see the exact spot where Martin Luther ignited church reform with the posting of his 95 Theses! The trip was filled with rich discussion and in-depth exploration of the modern world’s western roots.
Learning trips at Kilns provide an opportunity for our students to earn course credit while engaging with other students in intensive study abroad. Prior to the trip, students read relevant books and watch documentary videos to prepare for onsite learning. Throughout the journey, Kilns professors lead tours and host informal gatherings with students to discuss key events, legendary persons, and historic sites. Students also have time on their own to explore specific sites of personal interest. (As a person interested in science and faith, during our free time, I visited The Galileo Museum in Florence, a once-in-a-lifetime experience!) After the trip, students complete course assignments which might include an academic paper or project. Past learning trips have included excursions to Thailand, South Africa, and Israel.
When a student starts their degree program at Kilns, part of their academic planning includes consideration of a Learning Trip for course credit. Many students have indicated that these trips illuminate cultural nuances and geographic contexts of key issues and events that otherwise would have remained merely words in a book. Kilns faculty and staff enjoy hosting trips and encourage every student to take advantage of this unique academic experience during their journey at Kilns.
Marie serves as Director of Academic Services at Kilns College. She is also a professor, teaching courses in the Theology & Culture Master’s degree track on Art as Philosophy & Religion. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient, her photography portfolio includes more than 50 conceptual self-portraits, bringing spiritual metaphors to life, www.marieteilhardart.com. Her work features her own prop fabrication, costuming, and makeup-artistry. She has a B.A. in Art History from University of Chicago; a M.A. in Public Policy & Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University; a graduate certificate in Science-Faith Apologetics from Hope International University; and is pursuing a doctorate in Cosmology and Aesthetics at Harrison Middleton University.