Central College News

Lilly Fellows Program Awards Grant to Two Central Faculty

Featured: Lilly Fellows Program Awards Grant to Two Central Faculty

May 16, 2023

Central College’s Jennifer Diers, associate professor and director of the education program, and Sarah Van Waardhuizen, associate professor of music, were awarded Lilly Faculty Fellowships.

The Lilly Faculty Fellows proposal by Diers and Van Waardhuizen, The Vocation of Christian Women as Teachers and Leaders on Campus, seeks to create a women’s faculty group to explore their Christian faith and the intersection of their faith in the vocation of education.

The two stated in their proposal, “We feel it is imperative to develop trust in our community in speaking freely about our faith on this campus. Forming a cohesive group of women to support and encourage each other in our Christian faith is an instrumental first step.”

Diers has been with Central for 14 years. She earned a B.A. in finance from the University of Northern Iowa, an M.Ed. in special education from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and a Ph.D. in human development and family studies from Iowa State University.

Van Waardhuizen joined Central’s music program in 2012. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music education from Drake University, a master’s degree from the University of Kansas in choral pedagogy and her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

The team will participate in the two-year Lilly Faculty Fellows Program that includes four conferences in Indianapolis and Chicago. The team will also receive start-up funds to establish a Lilly Faculty Fellows Program on the Central campus.

Founded in 1991, the Lilly Fellows Program seeks to strengthen the quality and shape the character of church-related institutions of higher learning. This includes the Lilly Faculty Fellows Program for mid-career faculty leaders across the disciplines at network schools to engage the intersections of Christian thought and practice with the academic vocation. The Lilly Fellows Program is based at Christ College, the interdisciplinary honors college of Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana.