Sheedy Family Program appoints English Ph.D. and journalist Chris Hedlin as assistant director, bolstering focus on business and the liberal arts

Author: Paul Blaschko

Headshot Photo Of Sheedy Assistant Director Chris Hedlin Phd

The Sheedy Family Program in Economy, Enterprise, and Society has named Chris Hedlin as its first-ever assistant director, enhancing the academic rigor and collaborative community for students interested in finding deeper meaning in the practice of business through the liberal arts.

Hedlin, who received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is an innovative and passionate teacher who brings a distinctive voice to the program’s focus on business and the liberal arts. 

After completing a prestigious Lilly Fellowship at Valparaiso University in 2020, she taught at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. In 2021, she received an American Council of Learned Societies Leading Edge Fellowship and spent a year as a reporter, covering faith and religion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for PublicSource, a nonprofit, digital-first news outlet.

Hedlin has developed several signature courses, including one on media entrepreneurship and another that provides critical perspectives on philanthropy. In the first, Hedlin walks students through the process of envisioning — and then planning to create — their own career as a professional writer, reporter, or founder of a startup in the media space. Students analyze existing businesses in this industry, write a plan for their own, and practice pitches for potential partners in their venture.

“My courses are all about experiential learning,” Hedlin said. “I want students to be active, to try something new together.” “

Hedlin’s Traditions of Giving and Serving course in the spring of 2020 was backed by a grant from the Learning by Giving Foundation. With oversight, students were put in charge of responsibly distributing $10,000 in grant money to local nonprofits at the end of the semester.

In addition to her rich teaching experience and expertise, Hedlin brings a distinctive intellectual perspective into the program as a scholar of American literature, secular theory, and religious history. 

In the Sheedy Program’s gateway seminar — which she will design and co-teach with the program’s director, Paul Blaschko — Hedlin and her students will approach big questions about business and the liberal arts from multiple disciplines and diverse perspectives.

“Professor Hedlin is pairing core texts from the history of economic thought with influential poems,” Blaschko said. “She’s reading literary fiction with her students that provides context and insight into crucial time periods for our program with philosophical texts on what key terms like ‘enterprise’ and ‘economy’ actually mean to us today. It’s really remarkable.”

In addition to teaching in the program, Hedlin will assist with curriculum design and outreach, and will work with faculty and program staff to build a robust and intellectually serious community around the study of business and the practice of the liberal arts.

The program — made possible through a gift from Arts & Letters alumnus Charles Sheedy ’69 and his wife, Ellen — is open to College of Arts & Letters students with a minor in business economics or a Mendoza College of Business minor, or Mendoza majors who have a major, supplemental major, or minor in Arts & Letters.