2022 Visionary Award: Christina Carlson

Dr. Carlson receives the Visionary Award

On April 8, Tom Landy awarded the 2022 Visionary Award to Christina Carlson (G’00, F’17), Associate Professor of English at Iona College.  A gathering of Iona students, Collegium alumni/ae and other faculty were there to celebrate the occasion, offer commendations and enjoy a lovely reception.  The Collegium Board voted in the fall to honor Carlson with the award based on a nomination from her colleague Kim Paffenroth (F’18).

The citation reads as follows:

Catholic higher education depends more than ever on the energy and vision of lay faculty who find imaginative ways to engage Catholic intellectual and spiritual traditions in the classroom and in their scholarship. Collegium, a consortium of more than 60 Catholic colleges and universities, was founded to encourage faculty in such creative endeavors.

The Collegium Visionary Award is meant to celebrate and support the leadership of Collegium alumni/ae in three areas: the advancement of Catholic mission on member campuses, scholarship that advances the Catholic intellectual tradition and brings other traditions into fruitful dialogue with it, and innovative teaching that brings aspects of the summer colloquy to life for students. Christina Carlson, a 2000 and 2017 Collegium alumna, brings Collegium’s vision alive through the work that she does as a teacher, mentor, scholar and as leaven for the campus community.   

Dr. Carlson’s contributions in the classroom are manifold and push the traditional walls of the classroom outward.  She teaches courses on Chaucer, medieval women, Celtic spirituality, and core courses in composition and literature before 1700; has served as a longtime member of the honors faculty; has developed the Study Abroad trip to the Isle of Iona in Scotland; has even expanded Iona’s sustainability garden by adding a medieval kitchen garden. 

She has been honored with the College’s Senior Master Teacher Award, the Catherine McCabe Award for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching, and the Br. Arthur A. Loftus Outstanding Student Research Award.  One of her Iona colleagues summed up,  “I am in awe of her classroom demeanor, which maximizes how much and how well she can communicate with students. She is equal parts challenging and nurturing in a way to which students enthusiastically respond.”

Dr. Carlson has made outstanding contributions to enhance reflection on Catholic mission at Iona.  She has moderated four Iona in Mission immersions, serves on the Council of the Iona Spirituality Center, and is the longtime Chair of the College’s Faculty Steering Committee on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition.  In these endeavors, and in daily engagements as a colleague and mentor, she is described as an exemplar of the Christian practice of the virtues of hospitality and friendship. 

With apologies to an accomplished medievalist for modernizing a Chaucer quote to make it more inclusive, “gladly would she learn, and gladly teach.”  Her colleagues and students affirm that she brings more than gladness to her pursuits at Iona College. She brings her whole heart, whether by making venerable texts sparkle in a classroom, or arousing the nascent analytical thinking and writing skills of her students, or planting a medieval garden, or tending the minds and spirits of colleagues from all across the Iona campus.  Christina Carlson embodies Collegium’s aspirations to ignite participants’ spiritual imaginations and to use their intellectual gifts to bring hope and healing to our bruised, blessed world.

For her efforts to nourish her community and to serve as a catalyst across departments and roles at Iona College, Collegium is delighted to honor Christina Carlson with the 2022 Visionary Award.