Our Religion department serves a religiously diverse state and a religiously diverse student body, educating them to lead, learn, discover, engage, and develop in a world where religion matters, and where encounters with people of different religious backgrounds are not a matter of choice. To live and learn on our campus, and to live in our state, is to interact across lines of religious difference. Our goal is to give students in our courses and in our major the knowledge of self and other that they need to make those interactions respectful, appreciative, and civically productive. In this spirit we have been developing a variety of interfaith curricula and initiatives.
The department’s interest in interfaith understanding helped drive a campus-wide series of events in the fall of 2019, “Cultivating Hope in Anxious Times.” The events, which were organized by faculty and leaders of local religious communities, highlighted the importance of interfaith literacy and modeled constructive interfaith inquiry. Momentum from those events has carried forward into an ongoing collaboration involving department faculty, representatives of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and the Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, in which we are creating and working toward implementing interfaith literacy courses and course modules in the College of Medicine, the College of Veterinary Medicine, the College of Nursing, and the College of Education. The Interfaith Youth Core published an article in February 2022 about a fall 2021 course titled "Religious Perspectives on the Care of Animals."
We offer a Certificate in Interfaith Studies to all undergraduate students. This Certificate helps students to understand both practical and theoretical aspects of interfaith work. One required course, REL 332: Interfaith Service and Theory is built around an interfaith service practicum, which gives students the opportunity to work side-by-side across lines of religious difference and to build the appreciative knowledge so crucial to healthy interfaith partnerships.
Continue to check here for new developments in our programs include syllabi, sample case studies, and scheduling announcements!