Friday, October 24, 2014

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Franciscan U. Professor Set to Teach in Ukraine on Fulbright Fellowship

The National Catholic Register recently published an interview with a professor from Franciscan University of Steubenville who will be traveling to the Ukraine next month for a Fulbright Teaching and Research Fellowship. Dr. Alexander Sich, a physics and pre-engineering professor at Franciscan, discussed his upcoming trip and noted the significance of teaching at a faithful Catholic college.

In the interview Dr. Sich recounted that teaching at a college faithful to the magisterium was important to him because of modern problems in Western culture. “I saw the answer in a Catholic setting, but one where I was able to challenge myself and challenge students intellectually,” he reportedly said. “What that means is a close following of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio, because it’s here at Franciscan where I’m able to live that. It’s a very vibrant faith community, but also very stimulating and challenging intellectually.”

As part of the Fulbright Fellowship, Dr. Sich will teach courses in and research the philosophy of nature at the Ukraine Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv, the first Catholic college in the country. According to The Register, UCU describes itself as “an open academic community living the Eastern Christian tradition and forming leaders to serve ... for the glory of God, the common good and the dignity of the human person.” While there, Dr. Sich hopes to build a formal relationship between the two universities. “We’ve already started a trickle of activities between Franciscan and UCU,” he noted.

Dr. Sich reflected that studying philosophy drove his desire to teach at a Catholic college. “I became so interested in the philosophy of nature that it reoriented, if you will, my life. It was very interesting and challenging to be doing international nuclear safety and weapons, but after awhile, the philosophy, in terms of its Catholic context, kind of took over my life,” Sr. Sich reportedly said.

He and his family will live on the UCU campus in order to bring witness of the culture of life to the students there. 

Franciscan University of Steubenville is recommend in The Newman Guide for its strong Catholic identity.

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