The University of Dallas has announced the creation of the St. John Paul II Social Thought Teaching Fellowship, with Dr. Ryan Anderson as the first fellow in the role.

The formation of the fellowship is part of the university's plan to create an institute for Catholic social teaching, offering degree programs that include the philosophical foundations and applications of Church social teaching, opportunities for continuing education, and the promotion of research.

"The University of Dallas is already a center for significant work on Catholic social thought," said University Provost Dr. Jonathan Sanford in a Feb. 7 statement. "Inviting Dr. Ryan Anderson will strengthen the university's commitment to Catholic social teaching, provide new insights for our students, and help us to fulfill our mission to pursue the truth and cultivate justice."

Sanford said the University of Dallas "is uniquely positioned to make a special contribution to the church and help shape culture through Catholic social teaching, and takes seriously its responsibility to do so."

In a press release announcing the new program, the university applauded Anderson for his "clear and careful writing as well as his poise and civility in addressing controversial social issues."

Anderson is a prominent Catholic speaker and author on marriage, sexuality, religious freedom, and natural law.

He has coauthored the books What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense and Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination. He is also the author of Truth Overruled: The Future of Marriage and Religious Freedom and When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.

Anderson is a senior research fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation, as well as the founder and editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute. His research has been cited by Supreme Court justices in two cases.

As the inaugural St. John Paul II Social Thought fellow, Anderson will become an adjunct faculty member in the university's Politics Department. He will teach two classes each year and will offer lectures and an annual conference, in cooperation with the American Public Philosophy Institute (APPI).

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Anderson's first lecture, entitled "Catholic Thought and the Challenges of Our Time," will be held on campus March 25 and will be open to the public.

The talk will give an overview of Catholic social teaching and preview the courses Anderson will be teaching in the next two years.

Sanford attributed the new fellowship in part to the work of Rob Hays, head of the Dallas Business Ethics Forum, which promotes business practices and formation based on Catholic social teaching. Hays, a local businessman, contributed to the project and worked to obtain other contributions and corporate sponsorships.

Located in Irving, Texas, the University of Dallas is a Catholic university with a focus on the Western tradition of liberal arts education.