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Fall 2023 Institute for Faith & Culture Series Begins August 8

August 1, 2023

King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture (IFC) speaker series kicks off the 2023 fall season with a look at the art of education, featuring award-winning author and teacher Todd Shy.

A veteran educator of more than 25 years, Shy is a 1984 alumnus of Virginia High School and currently serves as Head of Upper Division at Avenues: The World School in New York. His recent book, “Teaching Life: Life Lessons for Aspiring (and Inspiring) Teachers,” is, he says, “a celebration of what it is to be a teacher.”

Shy’s writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and the Raleigh News and Observer. His work has been recognized by the National Book Critics Circle, and he is known for being a staunch defender of the profession of teaching.

“It’s glorious, important, and I think kind of unsung work,” Shy has said of the profession. “Over the years, when I’ve told people I was a teacher, I would say I teach 7th grade, and the response was always one of two things. People would either shudder and say, ‘I could never do that,’ or they would say something like, ‘Thank you for your service.’ It’s this view of what teaching is that led me to want to try to describe what it really is and what it means…The work will exhaust you unless you have a higher vision for what you’re doing. And my hope is that I have celebrated that higher vision for what teachers are doing in a way that is bracing for young teachers and veteran teachers.”

Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the IFC and professor of History at King, notes that Shy has been an advocate of the University and the Bristol community for many years. “Todd’s presentations at King have been beautifully written and delivered. Whether discussing the role of faith in fiction, a reunion with childhood friends, or one of his professors, Todd blends memoir with deep reflections on teaching. This visit will focus on his current research on Henry David Thoreau and education, and he will also touch on the burnout and stress that educators face, especially at this time of year. He brings encouragement and refreshment to their work, and we hope that many teachers will be able to attend.”

Shy will speak Tuesday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Board Room on the second floor of King’s Student Center Complex, located at 4916 Hart Boulevard, Bristol, Tennessee. Thanks to a network of donors, IFC events are open to the public and free of charge.

Additional IFC events for the fall include:

Wednesday, Aug. 23: Jennifer Holberg, Co-director of the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing

Monday, Oct. 16: Drew Bratcher, professor, editor, and author of Bub: Essays from Just North of Nashville

Monday, Nov. 6: Esau McCaulley, professor, NYT columnist, and author of How Far to the Promised Land

Monday, Nov. 13: Barbara Armacost, Professor of Law, University of Virginia

Since 2007, the King University Institute for Faith & Culture has welcomed widely recognized thinkers, authors, musicians, scholars, and philosophers to interact with students and a regional audience in a welcoming environment that catalyzes growth and understanding. The Institute serves as the standard bearer of the University’s long-time exploration of the liberal arts — in conjunction with King’s mission of equipping students to answer the call of excellence inherent in the Christian faith.

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