Dear Students and Families: The first day of classes is now less than 40 days away. We are all excited by the prospect of a return to an academic and student experience that resembles our pre-pandemic campus environment. A critical…
‘Chaplains Are Essential for Higher Education’s Heart and Soul’
The Reverend Brian E. Konkol, Ph.D., dean of Hendricks Chapel, wrote a recent op-ed for Inside Higher Ed: “Chaplains Are Essential for Higher Education’s Heart and Soul.” Rev. Konkol leads religious and spiritual life both at the University and across its extended community.
Rev. Konkol works to strengthen the presence of the chapel across campus and believes that chaplains serve a crucial role in supporting these efforts by connecting with students in non-academic ways. “Crisis can spark clarification,” writes Rev. Konkol in the piece, and given the current instability of sustained crises around the world, chaplains are more necessary than ever to support students.
Rev. Konkol explains the historical roots behind the role of chaplains, as the position has a legacy of support for various communities. He says that chaplains play a particularly important role at institutions of higher education “as learning requires those who are entrusted to care for that which is sacred, or in other words, ‘worthy of awe and respect.’”
Konkol writes that there are three ways that chaplains best support students in higher education environments: by exploring and honoring identity, creating and cultivating community, and illuminating and igniting purpose. In doing so, “chaplains help to ensure that students receive something that is far more than a ticket to an entry-level job: a trajectory toward an extraordinary life.”