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 eighth year (2018-19) 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 2018:

  • Cynthia Bane: “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo 
  • Rachel Clark: “The Essex Serpent” by Sarah Perry
  • Jennifer Larson: “Sensing the Rhythm: Finding My Voice in a World Without Sound” by Mandy Harvey and Mark Atteberry 
  • Kyle Schenkewitz: “Moral Leadership for a Divided Age: Fourteen People Who Dared to Change Our World,” by David P. Gushee and Colin Holtz 
  • Kristin Wendland: “Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians” by Austen Hartke 
  • Kathleen Goodyear: “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander 

Readings for Winter 2019:


Zak Montgomery

Associate Professor of Spanish

Jennifer Larson

Associate Professor of Music

Justine Jackovich

Assistant Director of Residential Life

Lindsey Leonard

Director of Student Engagement

Maria Paula Survilla

Professor of Music

Kristin Wendland

Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion

Cynthia Bane

Professor of Psychology

Penni Pier

Professor of Journalism and Communication

Kyle Schenkewitz

Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion

Brian McQueen

Asst. Professor of Sociology

Cassie Hales

Director of Residential Life and Chief Student Conduct Officer

Kathleen Goodyear

Lecturer in English