Kingfisher Institute Continues to Take Shape

Kingfisher Institute Continues to Take Shape

The Kingfisher Institute for the Liberal Arts and Professions at Creighton University was inaugurated last fall and officially named its first director, Tracy Leavelle, PhD, at the beginning of the year.

Taking its name from the Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, poem As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Dragonflies Draw Flame, which Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, included in his inaugural address in 2015, the institute seeks to support innovative and inspiring approaches to education, research and community engagement. Yoking the liberal arts and sciences to the wider practice of professions, the institute hopes to foster more reflective students who will integrate these complementary values and dispositions into their personal and professional post-graduate lives.

“We can acknowledge the distinctive traditions of our institutions and disciplines while we also embrace the opportunity to find new ways of coming together around our core activities,” Leavelle says. “Doing so offers a chance to improve and expand the transformational features of a Creighton education and to support and enhance the innovative research of our faculty and students. Together, we will create the future of Jesuit higher education.”

Already, the Kingfisher Institute has promoted two major programs — a collaboration with the Omaha community to mark the centenary of the tragic lynching of Will Brown in 1919, and an exploration of the intersections of the humanities and health sciences. The institute also is co-sponsoring interdisciplinary events, readings and discussion groups; inviting speakers to campus; and helping foster new interdisciplinary curricula across the University’s schools and colleges.

Bridget Keegan, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who led the strategic planning group that designed the institute, comments: “Through the Kingfisher Institute and with our unique combination of programs, Creighton is poised to become a national leader in proving how liberal arts and professional education work together to form students who will transform their communities.”