Job opening: Senior research fellow at the Jubilee Centre (psychologist, educationist, philosopher)

We’re pleased to share this jobs posting from our scholar Kristján Kristjánsson, Professor of Character Education and Virtue Ethics, and Deputy Director, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues.


Senior research fellow (psychologist, educationist, philosopher) at the level of associate professor to join the Management Team at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham. Applications from outside of the UK are welcome.

Job Summary

A fixed term appointment (24 months initially; this post may also provide the opportunity for a 12 month secondment) to create and contribute to the creation of knowledge by undertaking a specified range of activities within a new multidisciplinary research and developmental programme exploring the psychological, educational, and ethical dimensions of character. The Senior Research Fellow will work across the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues research and development portfolio of projects and contribute to the management of projects and individual staff.

Specifically the post holder will play an important role in planning and developing the research, helping to define the approach, methodology, review the literature, and collect the data. This new phase of work seeks to build on the existing work of the Jubilee Centre in the areas of character, virtues, and human flourishing. The post holder will be expected to be proactive in completing research duties, and to prioritise their own work schedule to accommodate the overall priorities of individuals, project teams and the Centre as a whole. It is expected that the post holder will use their own initiative and judgement to solve problems as they arise, but should report to the Jubilee Centre Director and Deputy Director, as well as other senior colleagues for advice and guidance when necessary. It is expected that this post holder will provide advice and guidance to junior researchers in the Centre on research, publications, and career development.

This post would suit someone who is keen to further a career as a senior researcher in a practiceorientated and policy development environment, and who has substantive experience in higher education management or research management activities. The post holder will be expected to provide academic leadership and to support the management activity of the Centre, and contribute to the delivery of research strategy.

It is important that the post holder has a strong belief in the vision, aims and goals of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues.

Closing date: March 2, 2018

Full job description


Thick and Dazzling Darkness: Religious Poetry in a Secular Age | March 1

OLeary Book Cover



March 1   4:30pm
Swift Hall, Room 106
1025 E 58th St, Chicago

Free and open to the public. Sponsored by our partner the Lumen Christi Institute; cosponsored by the Program in Poetry and Poetics and the Seminary Coop Bookstore. 

How do poets use language to render the transcendent, often dizzyingly inexpressible nature of the divine? In an age of secularism, does spirituality have a place in modern American poetry? In Thick and Dazzling Darkness, Peter O’Leary reads a diverse set of writers to argue for the existence and importance of religious poetry in twentieth- and twenty-first-century American literature. He traces a poetic genealogy that begins with Whitman and Dickinson and continues in the work of contemporary writers to illuminate an often obscured but still central spiritual impulse that has shaped the production and imagination of American poetry.

O’Leary presents close and comprehensive readings of the modernist, late-modernist, and postmodern poets Robinson Jeffers, Frank Samperi, and Robert Duncan, as well as the contemporary poets Joseph Donahue, Geoffrey Hill, Fanny Howe, Nathaniel Mackey, Pam Rehm, and Lissa Wolsak. Examining how these poets drew on a variety of traditions, including Catholicism, Gnosticism, the Kabbalah, and mysticism, the book considers how modern and contemporary poets have articulated the spiritual in their work. O’Leary also argues that an anxiety of misunderstanding exists in the study and writing of poetry between secular and religious impulses and that the religious nature of poets’ works is too often marginalized or misunderstood. Examining the works of a specific poet in each chapter, O’Leary reveals their complexity and offers a defense of the value and meaning of religious poetry against the grain of a secular society.


Peter O’Leary is the author of several books of poetry, most recently The Sampo (Cultural Society), a book-length fantasy poem set in the far north, featuring a wizard, a sorceress, a sword, and a mysterious magical object of absorbing perfection, and a new book of criticism, Thick and Dazzling Darkness: Religious Poetry in a Secular Age (Columbia University Press). He holds a PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School and teaches at both the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago.

What we’ve been up to: Excerpt of our report to Templeton

Chicago Cultural Center Chandelier and Tiffany Dome
Photo by Chris Smith.

Our project is funded by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation; the following is an excerpt of our last report to them, sent in January 2018.

We are on schedule for our Outputs and Outcomes. We held all 4 of our Working Group meetings, accompanied by 4 public lectures. We completed both Summer Seminars, and both Spring courses taught by Visiting Scholars, accompanied by their reading groups. Our Aristotle workshop, “Practical Truth: Reflections on the Aristotelian Tradition,” took place last April at the University of South Carolina. Our public Capstone conference was held October 14-15, 2017 at UChicago, along with two public keynote addresses. We are planning our April “Virtue and Corporate Life” event in partnership with the Booth School of Business. Frey’s podcast series on “Sacred and Profane Love” is being planned for a Spring deployment.

We surpassed our goal of 20 articles springing from the VHML project, with 22 articles and 3 books published or accepted. We will be or have been featured on KZUM radio Nebraska, BYU radio, London radio Newstalk 1290 CJBK, and in the Daily Nous, Philosopher’s Magazine, Quartz, Inside Philanthropy, The University of Chicago Daily Maroon, Tableau, Tableau web extra, Virtue Insight, Suburban Living, and Chicago Catholic. Our outputs have been shared online by the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, The Wisdom Center, The Jubilee Centre, Lumen Christi, the Hyde Park Institute, and the Thomistic Institute, as well as the University of Chicago, University of South Carolina, the Neubauer Collegium, the UChicago Divinity School, and Notre Dame Society for Ethics.

As of December 31, 2017, our website, has had 22,541users and 66,051 page views. We have 4,168 page likes on Facebook, 664 followers on Twitter, 161 followers on Instagram, and 1495 views on Flickr. Our Virtue Blog was ranked one of the top “Happiness” blogs of 2017, with 48,782 visitors and 94,169 views.

Sport, Virtue, and the Olympics

IOCringsSport and virtue have been linked since ancient times, when the two were often interchangeable. The Greeks believed that sport helped cultivate virtue, and that virtue in turn helped one excel as an athlete. Ancient texts such as the Iliad feature not only battles but also athletic encounters such as footraces, where human cunning as well as human strength might carry the day, and show victors to be favorites of the gods. Aristotle believed that sport was akin to contemplation, taking us out of ourselves to concentrate on something greater.


Today we celebrate athletes as exemplars of courage, persistence, generosity, and discipline because we believe in the virtues inherent in athleticism, as well as believing in athletes as virtuous. Sports coverage almost always features back stories of athletes overcoming adversity, injury, and personal setbacks on their way to success, accommodating audience expectations that gifted athletes must also be gifted human beings. Conversely, we continue to be shocked and disappointed when great athletes demonstrate vice or bad character traits. We require that our athletes perform virtue, with advertisers often pulling endorsements from players who are less than stellar role models, and giving endorsements to those competitors who have shown especially strong discipline and conviction.  Television coverage of this year’s Olympic skaters seems especially interested in the persistence and discipline of young athletes, fixating on the sheer duration of time—all of their young lives– spent training for national and international competition, as well as the sacrifices that accompany such training. Each night of skating has featured film footage and photographs of U.S. team siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani as small children training together, while the internet has parsed and rehashed interviews with former Olympians Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir where each claimed not to have attended their high school proms because “we had no childhoods.”


It is no surprise, then, to find descriptions of the virtue cultivated by practicing sports and the virtue inherent in sports celebrated everywhere on the official Olympic site We at the Virtue Project thought we would share with you some of the highlights of the site, and encourage you to explore the resources on virtue and sport the Olympic committee has put together there.


Paul Christesen, Professor of Ancient Greek History at Dartmouth College, USA, notes the importance of the Olympic games for the Greeks, who interrupted and delayed wars in order to participate in them:


“The classic example is that when the Persians invaded Greece in the summer of 480 (BC) a lot of the Greek city states agreed that they would put together an allied army but they had a very hard time getting one together because so many people wanted to go to the Olympics. So, they actually had to delay putting the army together to defend the country against the Persians.”


Of special note, too, is the “About” tab, where links to information of the Olympic mission of promoting sport for hope, the ethics of sport, women and sport, healthy body image, peace through sport, and promoting Olympism in society, among many other topics, can be found. The “Promote Olympism in Society” tab is especially inspirational, with links to the Olympic Charter, material on education through sport and social development through sport, and the declaration, in bold, that reads:




We hope as you watch the Olympics and rejoice in the courage and grace of so many diverse athletes from our own country and from all over the world, you take a minute to page through the Olympic website, and to contemplate the ancient Olympics, where the thrill of sport could redirect the passions of war, and our modern Games, founded on the notion that the cultivation of character through training and competition might bring the people of different nations together to celebrate human endeavor in the spirit of brotherhood and world peace.



Jaime Hovey is Associate Program Director for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.

Hyde Park Institute Sponsoring Two Spring Courses at the University of Chicago


Our partner the Hyde Park Institute is sponsoring two courses at the University of Chicago. Registration opens Monday, February 19.

Read more about the Hyde Park Institute here.

Anselm Mueller, Candace Vogler, and John Yoon are the faculty members of the Hyde Park Institute. Read more about them here.



PHIL 21504/31504. The Nature of Practical Reason. Practical reason can be distinguished from theoretical or speculative reason in many ways. Traditionally, some philosophers have distinguished the two by urging that speculative or theoretical reason aims at truth, whereas practical aims at good. More recently, some have urged that the two are best known by their fruits. The theoretical exercise of reason yields beliefs, or knowledge, or understanding whereas the practical exercise of reason yields action, or an intention to do something, or a decision about which action to choose or which policy to adopt. In this course, we will focus on practical reason, looking at dominant accounts of practical reason, discussions of the distinction between practical and theoretical reasons, accounts of rationality in general and with respect to practical reason, and related topics. Prerequisite: At least one course in philosophy. Anselm Mueller; Candace  Vogler. DOWNLOAD PDF OF FULL DESCRIPTION HERE



CCTS 21005 / MED XXXXX . The Challenges of the Good Physician: Virtue Ethics, Clinical Wisdom, and Character Resilience in Medicine. This multi-disciplinary course draws insights from medicine, sociology, moral psychology, philosophy, ethics and theology to explore answers to the unique challenges that medicine faces in the context of late modernity: How does one become a “good physician” in an era of growing moral pluralism and health care complexity? John Yoon, MD and Michael Hawking, MD.  DOWNLOAD PDF OF FULL DESCRIPTION HERE



“Teaching Virtue”

Our scholar Nancy Snow has co-authored a paper with Dr. Scott Beck on “Teaching Virtue”, and a free draft is available online.
ABSTRACT: Can virtue be taught? The question is a controversial one, harking back to Confucianism and the Platonic dialogues. We assume that virtue can be taught in the sense that teachers can influence character development in their students and explore the challenges and opportunities of teaching virtue from a variety of perspectives. In part I, Nancy E. Snow surveys a number of theoretical perspectives on teaching virtue which have been or are being implemented in schools. Scott Beck, the principal of Norman High School, describes in part II the grassroots approach to character development recently initiated at his institution. In part III we discuss how features of the Norman High initiative illustrate aspects of the approaches discussed in part I, and conclude with general observations about roles for askesis, or disciplined practice, in changing school communities and cultivating character.