The Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts
The Gaede Institute for the Liberal Arts was established in 2000 with the goal of strengthening liberal arts education locally and nationally. The Institute hosts scholarly conversation on the present and future of the liberal arts, provides liberal arts opportunities to area communities outside the academy, promotes educational access for first-generation and underserved populations, and fosters interdisciplinary contact between faculty and students through extracurricular events on campus.
The Conversation on the Liberal Arts
Our annual Conversation on the Liberal Arts gathers faculty, administrators, and students from colleges and universities nationwide to address opportunities and challenges in liberal arts education.
In an on-campus summer residency and yearlong mentorship, Trailhead invites high school youth to join a community of scholars, pastors, and other professionals in exploring God's call to a meaningful life.
Through retreat, intellectual rejuvenation, spiritual direction, and mentorship, Frontiers offers pastors and other ministry professionals vital supports to flourish in their calling.
Young Adult Leadership Lab
In a multi-year learning community, the Young Adult Leadership Lab provides funding, training, and ongoing support for churches that want to creatively engage young adults in their twenties.
The Westmont Center for Thriving Communities gathers area churches to explore how we can see and do the work God calls us to here on California’s Central Coast.
Liberal Arts Ambassadors
Westmont's Liberal Arts Ambassadors are first-generation college students who are trained to see and share with others the full value of a liberal arts education.
Lectures & Discussions
The Gaede Institute co-sponsors a variety of public lectures, conversations, and events: Pascal Society lectures, which engage questions of science and faith; Erasmus Society lectures, which bring to campus leading scholars in the humanities; two annual Phi Kappa Phi lectures, which present our Westmont faculty’s own research; World Christianity, Gender Studies, Environmental Studies, Ethnic Studies, and departmental lectures; and the Reel Talk film discussion series.
Chris has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Claremont Graduate School, did graduate work in political science at the University of Bonn in Germany, and has a BA in humanities from Biola University. In addition to directing the Gaede Institute, Chris is an adjunct associate professor of philosophy, and regularly leads semester abroad programs to the UK and Germany.
Director of Student Engagement, Strategic Partnerships, and Operations
Christen is a 2001 alumna of Westmont College with a BA in Communication Studies. She earned an MPA from Seton Hall University, and prior to coming to Westmont, served as the program director for the Corella and Bertram F. Bonner Foundation.
Director Academic and Congregational Integration
Aaron holds a Ph.D. in church history and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Before coming to Santa Barbara, he was an adjunct professor of religion at Villanova University; at Westmont, he's taught courses in history, writing, and education. His research focuses on the institutionalization of American mainline Protestantism in the early twentieth century, with particular emphases on war, money, and gender.
Grace is a 2022 Westmont alum with a BA in political science.