Westminster/Wesleyan University: Fall 2017 Schedule

Taught by Virginia Wesleyan faculty, the courses are offered on-site at no cost to those living at Westminster-Canterbury.

Mondays @ 1:00 p.m.

September 25 - October 9
Mondays, 1:00 - 2:20 p.m.

"Unique Scripture: The Quran, The Book of Mormon, and the Lost Gospels" 
Dr. Craig Wansink, Professor of Religious Studies, and Joan P. and Macon F. Brock, Jr. Director of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom at Virginia Wesleyan University
This series looks at why we should be familiar with the scripture of other faiths, and how those writings are unique and distinctive. What does it mean that the Muslim Quran talks at length about Jesus, and much more about Mary than even the New Testament? Why is it helpful to know what’s in the Book of Mormon (and how is the book different from the musical)? In early Christianity why did some Christian groups have gospels that focused on Jesus’ childhood, and where can these other gospels be found? These are some of the questions we will be examining.


  • Sept. 25 - The Uniqueness of the Quran
  • Oct. 2 - The Book of Mormon as a Third Christian Scripture
  • Oct. 9 - The "Lost Gospels" and Peculiar Stories

October 16, 23 and 30
Mondays, 1:00 - 2:20 p.m.

"Living Virginia: A Natural History of the Flora and Fauna"
Dr. Victor Townsend, Professor of Biology, Virginia Wesleyan University


  • Oct. 16 - Landscape Matters: From the Dismal Swamp to the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Oct. 23 - Keystone Species: Species with a Disproportionate Impact on the Environment
  • Oct. 30 - Endangered and Threatened Species of Virginia

November 6, 13, 20, 27
Mondays, 1:00 - 2:20 p.m.

 "From Walter Cronkite to Sean Hannity: Media Change and Its Effects on American Democracy"
Dr. Leslie Caughell, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Virginia Wesleyan University

Mondays @ 7:00 p.m.

September 25 - October 16
Mondays, 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

"Civil Rights and Civil Liberties in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Recent Term"
Dr. Timothy O’Rourke, Provost and Vice President, as well as Professor of Political Science, at Virginia Wesleyan University
A review of the Supreme Court’s recent term, focusing on four cases that exhibit the scope of the Court’s work, the way it makes it decisions, and its internal divisions. Consideration also will be given to new cases that will appear on the Court’s October 2017 docket


  • Sept. 25 - How Virginia Gave Birth to the Bill of Rights
  • Oct. 2 - Can a state deny aid for what a non-profit day care center would otherwise qualify on the grounds that the center is affiliated with a church?
    (1st Amendment, Free Exercise of Religion)
  • Oct. 9 - When is congressional gerrymandering unconstitutional?
    (14th amendment, Equal Protection)
  • Oct. 16 - Looking at Two Issues: 
    Can the federal government deny a trademark for a rock band’s name that the government finds to be racially disparaging?
    (First Amendment, Free Speech)
    Does a juror’s expression of racial bias during jury deliberations offer grounds for overturning a jury’s verdict in a criminal case?
    (6th Amendment, Right to Trial by an Impartial Jury)

October 23
Mondays, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

"Your Grandchildren's World: Eating Disorders"
Dr. Taryn Myers, Associate Professor of Psychology, Virginia Wesleyan University

October 30
Mondays, 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Faith and Film: Images of Prayer in Film"
Dr. Terry Lindvall, Professor and C. S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Communication and Christian Thought at Virginia Wesleyan University
Dr. Benson P. Fraser, Westminster-Canterbury Fellow for Religious Studies and Lifelong Learning

November 13, 20, 27, and December 4
Mondays, 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

"Apparel in American History"
Dr. Kathleen Casey, Assistant Professor of History, Virginia Wesleyan University
The objects with which we chose to adorn our bodies do far more than protect us from the elements. Clothing allows us to blend in with others, stand out in a group, and express our sense of ourselves. It can also speak volumes about our values and core beliefs. This mini-course examines the history of American dress, considering how apparel has been worn and used by many different Americans over time. The first week involves an experiential learning activity, and then join Dr. Casey for a short series of case studies, which consider cross-gender dress in the colonial era, the role of clothing in marking enslaved people from free people, and the long journey towards women wearing pants. 

Tuesdays @ 10:00 a.m.

September 26-November 13
Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

"Saints and Sinners: 500 Years of the Reformation"
Dr. Benson P. Fraser, Westminster-Canterbury Fellow for Religious Studies and Lifelong Learning
A study of eight of important and influential Christian thinkers and artists who have shaped Christian belief today. This list draws from the wealth of scholars, artists and theologian that have formed Christianity in the past 500 years. Although we recognize the importance and influence of the reformation we will examine both catholic and protestant artists or thinkers as both religious communities have contributed to faith development today.


  • Sept. 26 - Martin Luther (1483-1546)
  • Oct. 3 - Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
  • Oct. 10 - G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
  • Oct. 17 - J. R. Tolkien (1892-1973)           
  • Oct. 24 - C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
  • Oct. 31 - Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)
  • Nov. 7 - Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964)
  • Nov. 14 - Frederick Buechner (1926-present)