Pike Center


Scholarship. Service. Faith.

Pike Center for Integrative Scholarship is an initiative of SIL International that builds capacity for language development through scholarship—by developing the scholars that are needed and by doing the research and writing that are needed to grow the relevant bodies of knowledge. It is open to participation by scholars and organizations around the world that are taking part in the language development movement, including Bible translation initiatives, that our namesake helped to establish.  

Who was Ken Pike?

Kenneth L. Pike (1912–2000) in 1942.

Kenneth L. Pike (1912–2000) in 1942.

Pike Center gets its name from Dr. Kenneth Lee Pike, a world-renowned scholar who was a pioneer in the field of descriptive linguistics. Eight decades ago, SIL's founder, William Cameron Townsend, set research as a cornerstone in SIL's purpose. Pike was the first to take up Townsend's challenge to complete doctoral studies so that he could lead his colleagues in those research efforts. (For the full story, see A Threefold Purpose: Rediscovering the Heart of SIL.) From 1942 until 1979, Pike served as the president of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (now SIL International). As such, he trained and equipped thousands of linguistics students to analyze and put into writing any language in the world. Pike authored more than 20 books and 200 articles, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 15 years running and helped to expand SIL's work to over 50 countries.

What is integrative scholarship?

Scholarship refers to the methods of research and writing that scholars use to extend the boundaries of knowledge. Integrative scholarship is the term we use to capture the essence of Pike’s approach to scholarship. Integration is a technical term in his linguistic theory that signifies the right alignment of elements across different subdisciplinary views of language. It is also a key concept in his devotional classic, With heart and mind: A personal synthesis of scholarship and devotion. Echoing the two greatest commandments of the Judeo-Christian tradition—“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”—Pike called us to practice scholarship that integrates with God and neighbor. Typical mainstream scholarship is narrowly disciplinary, emphasizes theory over practice, and has no place for God. In contrast, Pike Center pursues scholarship that integrates across disciplines, integrates theory with practical service, and integrates faith with field of study.

How does Pike Center work?

Resources for Pike Center are provided primarily by individuals and organizations interested in Pike Center programs. If you would like to contribute to Pike Center, you can find more information on the Give page. In addition, you can stay up to date on the latest Pike Center activities by subscribing to our mailing list. For any other inquiries, feel free to send an email to info@pikecenter.org.


If one refuses to view self as needing integration with God and neighbor, one shrivels like a shrub in the desert.
— Kenneth l. Pike