Monday, 24 February 2020

Honourary Doctorate to be Awarded to Dr. Barbara Carvill

The Institute for Christian Studies is pleased to announce that it will be awarding an honourary doctoral degree (D. Litt., honoris causa) to Dr. Barbara Carvill. Barbara's prolific and influential body of academic work, as well as her enduring commitment to ICS and its scholarly mission speak to the transformative impact of her love for learning, and make her an eminently worthy recipient of this award.

Barbara has been connected to ICS since the early 1970s, when she and her husband Robert first moved to Toronto. Since that time, she has taken on many official roles, serving twenty years as an ICS Senator, during which time she also served as Chancellor of ICS. She currently serves as President of the Friends of ICS, ICS’s US charitable foundation. She has also funded ICS's Carvill Student Award and the Robert Carvill Book Award in her late husband's memory, and has contributed to two ICS Master's thesis examinations as an external examiner.

Barbara's life and career beyond the walls of ICS also bear witness to a thoroughgoing devotion to the well-being of learners. She has taught German at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, MI since 1978, where she continues to teach as Professor Emerita. Calvin University has recognized Barbara's gifts as an inspirational teacher, giving her the Exemplary Teacher Award in 2003 and the Faith and Learning Award in 2011. With her colleague Wallace Bratt, she has also inspired alumni to fund the Students of Wallace Bratt and Barbara Carvill Scholarship for German majors and minors at Calvin—thus demonstrating the continued vitality of her legacy as an advocate for Christian education.

Throughout her career, Barbara has published numerous articles, reviews, and other publications on various topics in German literature of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. From this specialization and from her own nascent love of languages, her scholarship has played a significant role in fostering a Reformationally "integral" Christian perspective on foreign language learning. This integral perspective is most apparent in the book she co-authored with David Smith, The Gift of the Stranger: Faith, Hospitality and Foreign Language Learning (Eerdman's, 2000), and again as a co-author of Teaching and Christian Imagination (Eerdman's, 2016).

In addition to her teaching and writing, Barbara has a gift for organizing others around an integral vision for language learning. She is a key figure behind the formation of the North American Christian Foreign Languages Association and is a founding member of the North American Christian Foreign Language Teachers' Association (currently called the Christian Association of World Languages), where she served as President in the 1990s.

Taken together, the legacy of Barbara's thought and teaching presents a concerted call to see learning as, fundamentally, an act of welcome—a call she continues to make to this day. In short, Barbara's career has consistently modeled not only heroic support for ICS but also an effective way to carry the central intuitions of the Reformational tradition into the specific area of language learning.

ICS is both grateful and indeed honoured to be able to confer this degree upon Barbara. We hope you will join us for Convocation on May 15, where Barbara will deliver the keynote address, to celebrate her life’s work and the lasting impact she has had on all levels of Christian education.

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Edit: Unfortunately, because of travel restrictions and health concerns surrounding COVID-19, ICS must postpone the conferral of this degree until our next Convocation ceremony in 2021. Once public health social-distancing recommendations slacken, and possibilities for gathering become clearer, we will invite Barbara to deliver a keynote address and celebrate her achievements along with those of our 2021 graduates.