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Core Fellows to Begin Teaching First-Year Symposium Courses in the Fall

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19

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As a part of the new Climb the Mount initiative, Mount St. Mary’s University has hired two Core Teaching Fellows. John-Paul Heil, Ph.D., C’15, and Taylor Nutter, Ph.D., will begin teaching First-Year Symposium courses this fall.

The Climb the Mount initiative, funded by a gift from Raphael Della Ratta, C’92, is a three-part plan of action designed to support and enhance liberal arts programming at the Mount. Segments include Know Yourself, which focuses on the core curriculum, Know Your World, which involves Study Abroad, and Change Your World, which supports the Office of Competitive Fellowships.

“Thanks to [Della Ratta’s] generous gift, the Mount has been able to hire two exceptional teachers for our First Year Symposium and our core curriculum. We know that they will do an excellent job helping students make the transition to college and inviting students into our liberal arts academic community,” shared Gregory Murry, Ph.D., chair of the Department of History and director of academic programming.

Know Yourself aims to provide a formational educational base to all first-year students by ensuring that professors teaching First-Year Symposium are highly-qualified, full-time faculty who understand the Mount’s mission. The Core Teaching Fellows will help to fill this need.

jp_heil-in-text.jpg“Drs. Nutter and Heil, two amazing young scholars, are both going to enhance First-Year Symposium instruction because they have a grasp of the Mount’s mission—how we aim to not only challenge and educate our students, but also care for them,” noted Edward Egan, J.D., director of First-Year Symposium.

Heil, who graduated from the Mount in 2015 with bachelor’s degrees in history, philosophy, and Italian, previously taught several courses, including First-Year Symposium, at the Mount as an adjunct professor. He obtained his doctorate in history from the University of Chicago last year and is expected to earn his master’s in biotechnology and ethics in 2024 from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute.

“The promise of a Mount education, and especially of our liberal arts core curriculum, is to help us see what is more clearly, and to discover who we are and what our purpose is. The Mount's core helped me to see and fall in love with what is real and true when I was a student here, and the prospect of being able to share that nuttertaylor130-in-text.jpgwith others is one of the greatest blessings I could ever hope to receive,” said Heil.

Nutter, who has spent the past year teaching religious studies at Cristo Rey Richmond High School in Richmond, Virginia, attended Boston College for his undergraduate and master’s degrees, before going on to earn his doctorate in systematic theology from the University of Notre Dame in 2021.

“What attracts me to the Mount is its commitment to a Catholic liberal arts core that invites students to encounter the diverse perspectives of the past that have shaped the present, so that they may envision and dedicate themselves to building a just future,” shared Nutter.

Nutter and Heil will join two specially chosen current faculty members in striving to educate first-year students as part of the Climb the Mount initiative.


Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19