ARCU Lectureship

The Association of Reformed Colleges and Universities (ARCU) has established a lectureship on Reformed Christian Higher Education. The Lecturer(s) is selected from member institutions in January and will be available for the following academic year, from September until May. 

The Lecturer(s) is selected by the ARCU Executive Committee from the nominations made by the President's and Chief Academic Officers of member institutions. Then Lecturer(s) is an established scholar whose work is a model of the type of scholarship that is distinctive at these colleges. Member institutions can apply for a grant toward the cost of bringing a Lecturer to campus.


The purpose of the lectureship is to:

1. Provide models of scholarship that reflect the mission and character of Reformed Christian institutions.

2. Present theological and philosophical foundations of Christian higher education.

3. Shape a community of Reformed Christian higher education and scholarship.

The Lectures are intended to support faculty development efforts on the ARCU campuses.

ARCU Lectureship 2015-2016

Craig E. Mattson, Ph.D
Trinity Christian College
6601 W. College Dr.
Palos Heights, IL 6046


Craig Mattson (PhD, communication studies, Regent University) conducts rhetorical inquiry into the interaction of discourse and attention, grounding his work in the thought of Michael Polanyi and William Desmond. Craig has completed undergraduate and masters‑level work in interpretive performance and spent his years before Trinity hosting a morning radio program. He has taught and studied at Trinity since 2002 and serves as chair of the Communication Arts Department and as Director of the Honors Program. His wife, Rhoda, serves as Trinity’s Director of the Education Unit and is active in education policy on behalf of the college both in Springfield and in Chicago. They have four children and live in Midlothian, Illinois.

Lecture Topics :

Rhetoric and the Ethics of Attention
Contemporary citizens worry that screens and speakers and gadgets have created a culture-wide attention deficit disorder. See the punditry of wildly popular titles, many of which have short titles for distracted readers: Blink (Gladwell), Rapt (Gallagher), Quiet (Cain), and The Shallows (Carr). But these works offer a thin account of the interaction of speech and attention. This lecture draws on Christian theology and rhetorical theory in order to extend three theses about an ethics of attention.

Attention, Shoppers! Social Enterprise and Christian Faithfulness
Should Christians buy TOMS shoes? Is it ethically responsible to address world problems by becoming a conscious consumer? Ignore, for the moment, the usual criticisms: that TOMS is psychologically manipulative (buying these products just makes the shopper feel good) and that TOMS is economically obstructive (dumping shoes in Haiti hurts local business). This campaign’s digital mediation practices a viral rhetoric requiring a different critique than the standard criticisms brought against social enterprise. This lecture draws on Christian theology in order to examine Blake Mycoskie’s TOMS campaign as a case study in attention oscillating between doing good and buying stuff.

What Is Eloquence Good for?
We live in a time when speech has been emptied out. Everything has been texted, emailed, tweeted, posted, tagged, liked, yik-yakked, and commented-upon before we can even open our mouths. Does practicing eloquent speech matter? This talk examines the rhetoric of one character in the Book of Job—a frank and copiously spoken man named Elihu. Unlike all the other characters in this drama, he seeks to recover Job’s speech, not just his stuff. This lecture seeks to equip more Elihus for the conversations of our communities—an urgent task in a day of when digital mediation and social networking too often disclose how little we find to say well.

Past Lectures

Craig E. Mattson, Ph.D, Communication Studies, Regent University

Ryan McIlhenny, Professor of History, Providence Christian College

Dr. Deborah Bowen, Professor of English, Redeemer University College

Dr. Donald Sinnema, Professor of Theology, Trinity Christian College
Dr. Keith Charles Sewell, Professor of History, Dordt College
Dr. Peter J. Leithart, Senior Fellow of Theology and Literature, New Saint Andrews

Dr James Payton, Jr, Professor of History, Redeemer University College

Dr John Wood, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, King's University College

Dr Charles Adams, Professor of Engineering, Dordt College
Dr Susan Felch, Professor of English, Calvin College
Dr Michael Vander Weele, Professor of English, Trinity Christian College


For information about ARCU or the Lectureship, please contact Carl E. Zylstra, Executive Director zylstra@reformedcolleges.org

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