Visiting Fellows Program

Praising God while generously sharing your “time & talent”!

JPCatholic’s Visiting Fellows Program (VFP) assists prominent professionals to visit campus and to engage our students and faculty in the probing of the relevant complex issues of our times. Fellows will eagerly and willingly make available their expertise through the sharing of their experiential insights and the leading of conversations with our student and faculty across our academic disciplines: the Cinematic and Visual Arts, Business, and the Humanities, including Theology and Philosophy.

Our Visiting Fellows, from their various disciplines, come to campus to provide a deeper understanding of the world beyond our campus walls, to spark interdisciplinary inquiry and discourse, foster great conversations, and inspire interactions. JPCatholic, as a Christ-centered, Catholic institution, has an obligation to create an environment where realistic and robust conversations about our contemporary cultural issues occur. Visiting Fellows must share our universal Christ-centered values that motivate us to live and work with the utmost integrity and respect for the human dignity of all.

Fellows are selected for their notable real-world professional expertise along with their personal enthusiasm for the vision and mission of JPCatholic. Fellows will have a strong interest in interacting with and listening to our students and faculty. They will help build JPCatholic’s institutional strength, shore up our areas of weakness, explore and develop new program opportunities, and contribute to broadening our interdisciplinary pursuits.

Fellows are invited to offer campus-wide lectures, host subject matter specific workshops, co-teach a class session or seminar, and participate in other relevant campus events. Visits can be on our regularly scheduled Fellows Forums in late February and mid-August, or on a day mutually suitable to the Fellow and our community.

Thus, Fellows will value:

  1. Participating in our educational process and contributing their “time and talent” as gift.
  2. Sharing their wisdom and knowledge with our campus community.
  3. Supporting our student learning through guest lectures and panel discussions.
  4. Spending volunteer time on-campus interacting informally with students and/or faculty.
  5. Serving as panelists for student and alumni script and business pitch competitions.
  6. Access to our faculty and student expertise.
  7. Networking with peer Fellows during Fellows Forums.

Who should apply?

We welcome applications for Visiting Fellows from prominent professionals in the cinematic and visual arts, and in business who have deep expertise and can lead students and faculty in substantive and meaningful dialogue. Applicants should possess a deep knowledge of and have an accurate sense of JPCatholic’s mission and vision, its Christ-centered, Catholic campus culture, student demographics, and senior academic and administrative leadership. Fellows will provide a statement of their personal enthusiasm for the vision and mission of the university, their interest in interacting with students, a description of their professional competencies and interests, and its relevance to our academic programs, students, and faculty. The application will include a brief CV or bio.

Our VFP Committee, which is made up of a diverse group of faculty and students, makes appointments and provides oversight of the VFP. They assess the applicant’s match with JPCatholic’s intellectual, spiritual and enrichment needs. After careful review by the VFP Committee, successful applicants will be appointed as a Visiting Fellow. Their bio details are added to our VFP web page.

Visiting Fellows Program Coordinator

Ken Sharrar

As VFP coordinator, Ken Sharrar’s responsibilities include the active recruitment, along with faculty, of prominent Visiting Fellows. He manages the application process workflow and the notification of the committee’s assessment. Once appointed, Ken maintains communication with the Fellows throughout the year, and serves as the primary point-of-contact for campus visits. He works closely with the Visiting Fellows and faculty members to strategically plan all visits. He provides information on relevant class topics as well as ideas for visit discussions. Ken can provide recommendations on hotels and transportation and other key logistics necessary for an optimal visit experience.

Ken will arrange all on-campus meetings with faculty and with Dr. Connolly. After each visit, Ken gathers feedback from various participating community members to evaluate the success of the visit, which will be provided to each of the Fellows.

When should fellows visit?

Visit requests can be submitted anytime and are processed promptly. The best time to visit is during Weeks 1-4 and 6-8 of each of our four quarters – Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer – avoiding mid-term and final exams. Ken will assist the Fellows to select optimum visit dates to avoid any conflict with student exams, holidays, recesses, or other major campus events.

For a day-long visit, Fellows should make their request at least two to three months before their anticipated visit date. Fellows who contemplate a longer visit should apply at least six months in advance to allow enough time to plan a successful visit.

Ken will be in regular email and phone communication with the Fellows before their visit to craft a schedule that is mutually beneficial. Ken will determine which elements of a visit motivates and energizes the Fellow, as their enthusiasm during the visit will be contagious. Some Fellows will want to focus on their area of expertise, and others may want the opportunity to speak broadly. Some will choose a full schedule, while others may opt for a slower pace. Ken will arrange ample opportunities for informal interactions with students.

Because the VFP values dialogue, the conversations that take place during meals contributes greatly to the success of the visit, where Fellows can share their experiences in more informal surroundings. Ken will coordinate meal opportunities during the Fellow’s visit and will invite a small group of appropriate students, and/or faculty members, and/or the president.

What does a typical schedule look like?

While each visit is unique, all comprise of one or more of these four elements.

  • The classroom guest lecture where Fellows share their lived professional and faith experience appropriate to the class for approximately 30 to 50 minutes, followed by a lively Q&A. Before the visit, the Fellow will receive all the relevant information about the class (size and level; syllabus; reading list; aims and objectives; materials covered etc.) to help with their planning.
  • Open lecture to a broad audience of students and faculty, allowing the Fellows present ideas and connections, followed by a Q&A and informal conversations.
  • Informal interaction for the Fellows with students and faculty.
  • Meal-lunch or dinner with a small group of appropriate students, and/or faculty, and/or the president.

Fellows Forums

Scheduled annually in late February and mid-August, these day-long Fellows Forums offer robust group discussions with students and faculty within structured seminars on the broad ideas that drive our contemporary cultural changes. Our Visiting Fellows offer a deeper understanding of the world beyond our campus walls, to spark interdisciplinary inquiry and discourse, foster great conversations, and inspire interactions. The Forums fulfill in part JPCatholic’s obligation, as a Christ-centered Catholic institution, to create an environment where realistic and robust conversations on contemporary cultural issues occur. They provide ample opportunities for peer networking with other Fellows as well as the opportunity to interact with our faculty and students.

The late February Fellows Forum includes an opportunity for Fellows to participate in a student business plan pitch competition for seed funding, and mid-August events include a student and alumni pitch for growth funding. The business idea pitches are 12-minute long followed by a 15-minute panelist Q&A. Each pitch involves 5 Visiting Fellows as judging panelists.