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What is the Telos Center Research Fellows?
The Telos Center seeks to engage talented and curious young adults with the Telos Center Research Fellows Initiative. Accepted applicants participate in a semester-long course led by an Orthodox faculty member and ask big questions about Orthodoxy today and its relation to the world around us. There are many students with interest in many different areas of study (biology, computer science, statistics, history, etc) and want to explore research questions that relate to these areas of interest with the Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Faith. They will learn to refine their questions, explore research methodologies, process a framework for research and publication as people of faith and for communities of faith, and pilot research and writing on their chosen topic.
Once accepted, students’ participation in the course is fully funded. At the completion of a written research project each fellow is awarded $1000. Students complete all research in small groups, giving them the opportunity to develop collaborative research skills with the professor and each other. Topics are chosen in mind for a variety of reasons, chief of which is a theory of change – what can a research question, if answered, offer to Orthodox parishes, to the faithful, to the Faith? This program, while geared towards graduate students or those who already have experience with research and a good working knowledge of an academic field, is ultimately offered to any student with a superb work ethic, curiosity, and great questions about the Orthodox faith and the world around them.
The Telos Center stands between Harvard and MIT and near Tufts University; the majority of attendees are students from one of these schools. It is also near dozens of other schools in the greater Boston area. All events attempt to build fellowship, encourage vocational exploration, and/or allow attendees an opportunity to deepen their relationship with Christ. With all this fantastic talent, it would be great to engage young adults in the big questions surrounding Orthodox Christians and Orthodox Christianity in the US today—questions that they could be excited to ask and research. Moreover, these same students are studying with some of the world’s leading experts in research methodologies. The Telos Center hopes to be an “Orthodox laboratory”, regarding ministry but regarding research and asking questions about the Faith and the world. It is our assumption that in inviting students to connect how their field of study can actually be of service to the Church, the Telos Center will be facilitating a deeper conversation about how everyone and their different interests can contribute to the Church!
The fellowship will have two intensives, one at the beginning of the program from Thursday, August 31 to Sunday, September 3, and then at the end from Friday, December 8 to Sunday, December 10. Every other class will be Tuesdays on Zoom, starting at 7:30.
Potential Areas of Study
Students are allowed to explore whatever field of study they would like. Below is a list of potential topics. It is certainly not exhaustive, nor is it designed to limit anyone to a field of study. Rather, it is meant merely to inspire and excite participants about what they could study. Orthodox Christians have barely begun to answer questions about how Orthodoxy interacts with:
- 21st century American culture
- Religious pluralism and how the church interacts with it
- Post-pandemic landscape of Orthodox congregations
- How Orthodox Christians are perceived in their neighborhoods and local communities
- The loneliness epidemic and how churches build community
- Immigrant studies/Nationalism
- What does Orthodoxy look like on the internet
- The impact of social media on religious life
- Smartphones and what constant exposure to them does to someone
- Artificial Intelligence
- Volunteering and charitable giving
- What do Orthodox Churches look like in America
- Linguistics and Languages
- And anything else that you study or are interested in!
About the faculty instructor
Telos Center faculty has been selected to have broad enough background in both research methodologies and American Christianity to be able to shepherd constructive approaches and draw on/introduce Fellows to other solid work in the field. This semester, our faculty will be Dr Rob Saler, from Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN. Having been a Lutheran pastor for a decade, he has recently been received into the Eastern Orthodox Church, and serves as the chair of the ecumenical section of the International Orthodox Theological Association as well as editor of the IOTA Forum for that organization. He is currently a fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion and Culture at Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis. For more on Rob Saler, click here.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with a cut-off on July 14 at 11:59 PM.
To apply, click here for the link.
Syllabus: Below is an outline of the courses and topic for the seminar.