Imagination: Association of Form and Content

In April 2013 Biola held its third annual Imagination Summit. It was an in-house event this year, organized for faculty by faculty, to stimulate creative thinking about how to teach a generation of students who are, as “digital ethnographer” Michael Wesch argues, significantly different from the faculty. Even the youngest professor teaching in 2013 grew [Read More…]

Made Ready by Conversation (Johnson)

What good is sitting around talking about books? This is a rather urgent question for the faculty of the Torrey Honors Institute as we start into another academic year, because we are leading our students once again into an extended season of exactly that. At Torrey, the professors assign classic texts, reserve classrooms, and show [Read More…]

How Do I Learn From Experience If I Don’t Have Any?

Earlier this summer, I got an email from John Buchanan, a current student in the Torrey Honors Institute: Hello, Dr. Jenson. As you may be told from time to time, you are the mentor that seemed sensible to talk to regarding the subject of this email… Probably because you are a younger male but who [Read More…]

The Opening Question (Torrey 101)

At the Torrey Honors Institute, we teach by questioning. The professors in the program gather with students around a great text, and inquire into the text by interrogating the students. We call the professors “tutors” to signal the fact that they are co-learners along with the students; master-learners who know how to get into books. [Read More…]

Divine Education

One of our semesters at Torrey Honors Institute is called On Learning and Knowledge, and it is an excellent thematic investigation of epistemology, philosophy of education, and even pedagogy, among other things. Our juniors in this course read Plato and Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas, Frederick Douglass and John Henry Newman, along with Descartes, Pascal, Locke, [Read More…]

A University Should Be a University

I am fairly certain that John Henry Newman’s The Idea of a University has been on the required reading list of the Torrey Honors Institute since I began working here eight years ago. Given how we teach in Torrey, however, I had never had the opportunity to lead sessions on the text. So, back in [Read More…]

Hebrews: The Mind-blowing Finale

The book of Hebrews is the grand finale of the first semester in the Torrey Honors Institute. After the freshman fall, the curriculums for Torrey’s two houses take their separate ways: the Morgan House following a roughly chronological path to bring them up to the twentieth century in senior spring and the Johnson House dwelling [Read More…]

George Steiner Learns to Read Greek

Just a few pages into George Steiner’s 1999 autobiographical work Errata: An Examined Life, he tells a story about how he started learning Greek at age 5. No, “Greek at 5” isn’t the amazing part. The amazing part, to me, is that he grew up knowing French, German, and English equally well. “I have no [Read More…]

Chris Mitchell Interview: “To Relate our Learning of the Faith to our Learning of the World”

Biola’s Torrey Honors Institute has just announced the hiring of Dr. Chris Mitchell, who will begin teaching at Torrey next fall. As one of the members of the search committee that selected Chris, I’ve had the chance to get to know him over the past few months, and I am excited about adding him to [Read More…]

Only the Lonely

I happened to be re-reading Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment the same weekend that we hosted a recruiting event for the Torrey Honors Institute. As I spent time reflecting on my membership in this learning community, I noticed the stark contrast of the radical isolation that Raskolnikov suffers. Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov is an intellectual and an idealist, [Read More…]