Seven weeks after entering John Paul the Great Catholic University as the Chair of the Humanities program, Steve Kramp anticipates re-vamping the schedule for the 2019 Fall Quarter, including the adoption of a previous Communication Media emphasis, New Evangelization.
Professor Steve Kramp is concurrently the professor of Theology and Creative Writing. He received his Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Oregon, and over the years, transitioned in and out of various fields, eventually acquiring an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Theology and Christian Ministry. His mission for the Humanities program is simple: Provide young, Catholic students with a strong foundation in Western civilization and intellectual history in a way directly relevant to what they want to do with their lives, whether it be media, business, or some application of theology.
The New Evangelization emphasis has consistently lost students throughout its time at JPCatholic. Professor Kramp addressed the first part of the problem saying, “Over time, they either take a bunch of courses in [Communication Media] and realize that they really want to focus on that, or they’ll gravitate to another discipline here at the school, and by the time graduation rolls around, there are only a few students left in the New Evangelization emphasis. Our theory has been that that’s, in part, due to the fact that there isn’t a faculty member responsible for the New Evangelization emphasis right now.” In addition to the lack of an overseeing faculty member, the coursework required of New Evangelization students is so heavily Communication Media-focused that there is no room for students to take other, more New Evangelization-focused electives.
In response to frustration at this arrangement, a proposed solution was to assign a faculty member to the emphasis, as well as reconfigure the program entirely. Because of the nature of evangelization, it made most sense to bring the emphasis under the Humanities major, with the goal to help students learn the language of culture to effectively speak about the faith. Professor Kramp took on this responsibility.
The Humanities major will now offer three emphases, Creative Writing & Screenwriting, Theology & Philosophy, and New Evangelization. Professor Kramp says, “The New Evangelization emphasis will have students taking the Theology and Philosophy core, but also have electives free, both for [Communication Media] to prepare for parish media, if parish level is what they want to get into, or something more dynamic and multi-faceted, for example, if they’re interested in speaking to groups or parishes.” All of the Theology, Philosophy, and New Evangelization students will take the same core classes. Then, the Theology and Philosophy students will continue on a more academically-minded theology route, while the New Evangelization students will study apologetics and a more practical application of theology, in order “to learn how to have those conversations with people who are outside the faith because obviously, evangelization is not just about talking to the choir.”
The switch is scheduled for incoming Freshmen of Fall 2019. Current New Evangelization students, while still having the opportunity to take developing classes as they happen, will graduate on time with a Communication Media degree. The school plans to bring more faculty on board so as to make the emphasis more available to students. “We’re mindful of students’ needs and voiced concerns, and we’re working towards achieving a flexibility that will allow us to respond constructively towards allowing students to respond to what God wants them to do.”