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 began in the 2011-12 academic year and was developed by the late 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. The Mike and Marge McCoy Family Distinguished Chair in Lutheran Heritage and Mission is co-sponsoring the program this year.

Students receive their books free of charge. Reading groups consist of one book leader and three students. To apply, send an email to the participating leader of the book you’re interested in discussing.

Readings for Fall 2022

An Academic Life: A Memoir

An Academic Life: A Memoir by Hanna Holborn Gray

Led by Ruth Bahe-Jachna

The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

Led by Scott Larson

Under the Whispering Door

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Led by Penni Pier

Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter

Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter by J. Nozipo Maraire

Led by Debora Johnson-Ross


Zak Montgomery

Professor of Spanish

Penni Pier

Professor of Journalism and Communication

Ruth Bahe-Jachna

Book Leader for Hearthside

Debora Johnson-Ross

Vice President of Academic Affairs / Dean of the Faculty