Hearthside Project: 
Encouraging the Exploration and Celebration of the Humanities at Wartburg College

The Hearthside Project offers faculty and students the unique opportunity to connect around the virtual hearth. The program encourages student/faculty interaction outside the formality of the classroom based on the more intimate learning environments of graduate work, or of a European approach to readings and the discussion of texts often labeled “the directed reading model.” The program allows students to engage in the process of reading with a professor and to consider connections between their own course of study and the practical and philosophical ideas explored through each text. Texts chosen by faculty and staff emphasize, by topic or implication, the key role of the humanities in contemporary thought. The program is in its seventh year (2017-2018) and was developed by Dr. Survilla, former Slife Professor in the Humanities (2010-2016). Dr. Zak Montgomery administers the Hearthside Project as the current Slife Professor in the Humanities.

Students receive their books free of charge. Reading groups consist of one professor/staff and three students. To apply, send an email to participating professors and staff of the book you’re interested in discussing (listed below).

Readings for Fall 2017:

  • Cynthia Bane: “American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus” by Lisa Wade
  • Ben Bousquet: “Not a Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent, and Utterly Mangle Science” by Dave Levitan
  • Kyle Schenkewitz: “Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living” by Krista Tippett
  • Justine Jackovich: “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson
  • Patty Storlie: “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren
  • Jill Westen: “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

Readings for Winter 2018:

  • Cassie Hales: “The Education of Margot Sanchez” by Lilliam Rivera
  • Ashley Lang: “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before” by Jean M. Twenge
  • Zak Montgomery: “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Penni Pier: “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp
  • Kathy Traetow: “Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit” by Jeanette Winterson


Zak Montgomery

Associate Professor of Spanish

Maria Paula Survilla

Professor of Music