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.”

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 Winter 2023

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage
Led by Amy Pilcher

Atlas of the Heart

Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown
Led by Lindsey Leonard

Band of Sisters

Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig
Led by Penni Pier

Blood, Water, Paint

Blood, Water, Paint by Joy McCullough
Led by Kristin Wendland

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
Led by Andrew Szarejko

A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety

A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet by Sarah Jaquette Ray
Led by Amy Nolan

The Joy of Abstraction

The Joy of Abstraction: An Exploration of Math, Category Theory, and Life by Eugenia Cheng
Led by Mariah Birgen

This 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.


Zak Montgomery

Professor of Spanish

Amy Nolan

Professor of English

Andrew Szarejko

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Mariah Birgen

Professor of Mathematics

Penni Pier

Professor of Journalism and Communication

Kristin Wendland

Assistant Professor of Religion

Lindsey Leonard

Associate Dean of Community Life

Amy Pilcher

Assistant Professor of Business Administration