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Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation Grant

Humanities for the Profession

Applied Humanities: Teaching Humanities for the Professions (2019-2020)

Award $15,000

Director: Dr. Bernie Cantens

Participants: Dr Bernie Cantens. Dr. Arash Naraghi, Dr. Carol Moeller.



      Generously funded by the Gladys Kreible Delmas Foundation, the Humanities for the Professions project is developing a model for creating interdisciplinary programs that embed an essential component of the humanities into professional curricula. Our model will focus on virtue ethics, an important part of classical Greek philosophy, and on three professional programs at Moravian College: Business and Economics, Nursing, and Rehabilitation Sciences.


       Why do we need a project of this nature? Many humanities programs across the country have been either downsized or eliminated. The ones that continue to exist are feeling financial pressure, experiencing significant cuts in resources, and finding the need to justify their existence for students, parents, and administrators. At the same time, many leaders of higher education have argued that today more than ever we need the humanities in professional education to help students understand problems and resolve them within the broader context of human experience.

      The purpose of this project is to bring together these two important insights and create an innovative and sustainable model in which the humanities can be embedded directly into professional programs. The project is intended to be a prototype for other departments and institutions around the country to emulate, making the humanities explicitly relevant to practical disciplines such as business, nursing, athletic training, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. While our project focuses on virtue ethics, we can envision many other humanities-based proposals such as music, art, history, religion, or critical thinking for the professions. For more information visit the Moravian College website:

National Endowment For the Humanities

Enduring Questions Grants  (2014-2016)

Award $32,256

Directors: Dr. Bernie Cantens and Dr. Kelly Denton-Borhaug


     What is Peace?  On the surface, most undergraduate students probably feel confident answering this question.  They may respond that peace is simply an absence of conflict or war, or a state of feeling content and tranquil.  However, pushed to think further, they soon begin to realize that these are superficial responses that generate even more questions. How do we define peace?  Why are there so many different visions of peace? Is peace realistic in a world filled with so much violence? What are the greatest challenges to achieving peace? Is peace sustainable?  What role do social, political, and economic conditions play in our understanding of peace? Do we have an obligation to pursue peace?

      This new course will address these questions and introduce undergraduate students to the complex notion of peace through its historical origins, the evolution of meaning, and relation to second-ordered concepts.  We will critically guide students through a carefully selected core reading list that presents them with a pluralistic view of theories and practices of peace, diverse approaches to peace, and numerous perspectives and prospects for achieving peace.

      The concept of peace has a pervasive historical presence; it is a universal concept.  The Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle analyzed peace in some of their most prominent writing.  In the Middles Ages, Augustine and Aquinas formulated paradigmatic conceptions of just war theory that set forth the standard by which scholars throughout the ages measure the moral conceptions of what constitutes a just war. In the Modern era, social contract theorists, such as Hobbes, paved the way to a new secular paradigm for imagining and understanding war and peace.  

About the NEH Enduring Questions Grant 

The NEH Enduring Questions grant program supports faculty members in the preparation of a new course on a fundamental concern of human life as addressed by the humanities. This question-driven course would encourage undergraduates and teachers to join together in a deep and sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential ideas, works, and thinkers over the centuries.

What is an enduring question? The following list is neither prescriptive nor exhaustive but serves to illustrate.

  • Are there universals in human nature?

  • What is the source of moral authority?

  • What is evil?

  • Can war be just?

  • Is peace possible?

  • What is worth dying for?

  • What is the value of education?

  • Can greed be good?

  • What is good government?

  • What is progress?

  • Am I my brother’s keeper?

The Council of Independent Colleges and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

              CIC Consortium for Online Humanities Instruction (2014-2017)

Award: $800,000 (this was the CIC total grant of which I was a small part) 


About the CIC Online Instructional Grant

About the CIC Online Instructional Grant

The CIC Consortium set out to address three goals:

  1. To provide an opportunity for CIC member institutions to build their capacity for online humanities instruction and share their successes with other liberal arts colleges.

  2. To explore how online humanities instruction can improve student learning outcomes.

  3. To determine whether smaller, independent liberal arts institutions can make more effective use of their instructional resources and reduce costs through online humanities instruction.

 National Endowment For the Humanities Summer Seminar

Negotiating Identities in Art, Literature, and Philosophy: Cuban Americans and Cuban Culture. (2006) 

University of New York, Buffalo, NY. Directors: Jorge J. E. Gracia, Lynette Bosch, and Isabel Alvarez-Borland  

Award: $6,000

Who am I? This question is vague, vexing, and provocative, and might usher one towards profound philosophical reflection. It points to something mysterious and something we all want to know. If one attempts to answer it, one will discover that its answer has various layers of interpretation, depending on the context in which the question is raised. However, regardless of where one begins, one is destined to reach the critical and essential layer concerning ethnic and cultural identity. Even though some may argue that this interpretation is not the deepest, it is probably one of the most important ones in establishing one’s identity; it is also one that has ample social and psychological implications, as well as important political and economic consequences, affecting almost every aspect of our lives. It is this question that has provoked and motivated my interest in exploring Cuban-American identity. 


Results of NEH 

"On the Metaphysics of Cultural Identity: A Darwinian Account" Latino Studies 7 (2) (2009): 167-196.

National Endowment For the Humanities

Faculty Research Award 2005-2006 

                       Peirce's Evolutionary Cosmology and the Naturalism vs. Theism Debate

Award: $45,000

The study of the philosophy of religion can be divided into two main areas. The first area is religious epistemology. Religious epistemology deals with issues concerning the relationship between reason and faith. It addresses the questions: Is it rational to believe in God? Does one need evidence to have a rationally justified belief in God? If so, what counts as evidence? During the past several years, I have researched and completed several essays describing Charles S. Peirce’s (1839-1914) religious epistemology. The conclusions of my research have shown that Peirce’s philosophy provides original insights into religious epistemological issues, deviating from the prevalent views purported by contemporary philosophers of religion. The second main area of philosophy of religion is cosmology. In the contemporary philosophy of religion, there are various contentious, ongoing cosmological debates. The most poignant of these debates is the one over naturalism versus theism. The purpose of this project is to continue my research on Peirce’s philosophy, focusing on the issue of evolution and how it affects the naturalism versus theism debate. What does the naturalism versus theism debate consist of?

Results of NEH

"Cognitive Faculties and Evolutionary Naturalism," American Catholic Philosophical Association Proceedings 80 (2006): 201-208.

Peirce on Science and Religion" International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 59 (2) (2006):  93-115.

"Ultimate Reality in the Philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce: To Want To Learn The Truth" Ultimate Reality and Meaning,29 (4) (2006): 229-243.

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