Peer-led Training for Interfaith Cooperation for Campus Staff and Paraprofessionals
Building Regular Interfaith Dialogue through Generous Engagement (BRIDGE) is a series of downloadable modules focused on training campus professionals on interfaith cooperation. These modules are filled with resources to activate an awareness around worldview engagement and interfaith cooperation. Each module is available to you and free for download. The content in these modules focuses on increasing one's confidence to engage religious and worldview diversity; theoretical grounding, self-reflection, interrogation of biases, and of course, practice. We plan to expand these modules and welcome your input in the process. We hope you find these resources compelling and useful!
We live in a time when people of different religious and non-religious backgrounds are interacting with increasing frequency. Over the past several years, leaders in higher education have recognized a call to engage with religious, spiritual, and secular identity (collectively understood as “worldview”) to prepare college graduates for the realities of global citizenship. However, despite this identified need, professionals and paraprofessionals often express a lack of confidence to engage this element of identity.
To help address this discomfort, IFYC assembled a committee of 12 experienced higher education professionals in 2016 to advise the overarching goals and outline of a training workshop experience for campus professional and paraprofessional staff. Over the course of the following year, IFYC designed, piloted, and refined a suite of curricular resources, including a set of seven workshop modules, a standard 30-minute introduction activity, a detailed facilitator’s guide, and the supporting materials for professionals to download and facilitate their own interfaith training on their campuses. This “train the trainer” approach aims to encourage educators to incorporate worldview engagement into broader conversations around diversity on their campuses.
The modules are designed for campus professional staff to be offered within professional development activities (training days, retreats, etc.) Some campus professionals have also found the materials useful for student leadership trainings, depending on the nature of the group and their readiness to talk about worldview. Modules focus on self-reflection, interrogation of biases around worldview, and activities to practice discussing religious and worldview identity from our own perspectives.
The modules are all between 2 and 5-page PDF files, with the option to choose which modules you would like to include in your workshop. After completing a standard introductory mini-module each module can be tailored for your specific group. Regardless of which module(s) you choose, please take time to review the facilitator’s guide, which provides information on the items to consider when preparing to facilitate these modules. The minimum time you will need to facilitate a workshop is 90 minutes. Please visit the library page to find more extensive descriptions for each module.
Over time, we hope that a critical mass of professionals who complete a BRIDGE workshop will demonstrate:
- Authenticity and vulnerability in worldview engagement
- The ability to build trust and rapport across lines of worldview difference
- Understanding of the nuance of worldview engagement
- Willingness to engage the experiences and perspectives of others in the face of deep disagreement
In order to download the BRIDGE workshop modules and their accompanying materials, IFYC asks only that you share your contact information with us. We offer one-on-one coaching with an IFYC staff member should you need support preparing to facilitate your workshop. Please be in touch with us to share your experiences and feedback!
The BRIDGE Advisory Committee is a diverse group of 12 accomplished scholars and practitioners who've worked to advise the overarching goals and outline of the curriculum. Read the welcome letter from the BRIDGE Curriculum Advisory Committee.
Chaplain Tahera Ahmad is a dynamic Muslim “scholar-practitioner” who was raised in Morton Grove, IL and graduated from Niles West High School where she played Varsity basketball. Ahmad studied classical Arabic and traditional Islamic Sciences at Al-Diwan and Al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt and in Department of Islamic Studies and Christian Muslim Relations and Islamic Chaplaincy at Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut. During Women’s History Month 2014, Chaplain Ahmad was honored at the White House as a leading Muslim female in the United States and recognized among top ten good Muslim stories of 2013. Ahmad serves on the board of ACURA (Association of College and University Religious Affairs) and is the co-president of the ACMC (Association of College Muslim Chaplains).
Katie Brick has worked in Religious Diversity at DePaul since 2005 and currently serves as Director of the Office of Religious Diversity (ORD). Past DePaul experience includes being Assistant Director and serving as a Loop Chaplain. Katie has led the DePaul Interfaith Scholars program and is passionate about interfaith engagement. Prior to joining DePaul, Katie's diverse work experience included marketing, organizational development consulting, non-profit management, and hospital chaplaincy.
She received a BA in history from Northwestern, an MBA from Northwestern and an MDiv degree from Catholic Theological Union.
Marcella Runell Hall became dean of students at Mount Holyoke in 2014, moving to the Pioneer Valley from Brooklyn, New York. She is a social justice scholar and accomplished author. She recently spent seven years at New York University, where she was the founding co-director for the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership under the leadership of Chelsea Clinton, and a clinical faculty member in the Silver School of Social Work. For her accomplishments in the field, Hall has received numerous teaching and programmatic awards, including the Association of American Colleges and Universities K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award. She was honored by inclusion in the JFK 50th Anniversary Legacy Gallery along with other luminaries such as Madeleine Albright and Harry Belafonte. She is also a former fellow for the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding.
Chris has served as Dean of Multicultural Life since July 2011. Born and raised in Boston, Chris received his Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Framingham State University, his Masters degree in College Student Development & Counseling from Northeastern University and his Doctorate in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Chris has worked in numerous student affairs areas, including service learning, residence life and multicultural affairs. He has worked at the University of Michigan, New England College, the University of Detroit Mercy, and most recently at Bryn Mawr College. In his role as Dean, Chris helps Macalester actualize its commitment to multiculturalism.
J. Cody Nielsen
J. Cody Nielsen is Founder and Executive Director of Convergence and Executive Director of the Wesley Foundation, a Boston Cambridge Ministry of Higher Education. Cody previously served as Expert in Residence for Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Initiatives at NASPA and is former President of the National Campus Ministry Association. Cody’s passion is integration of higher education with religious, secular, and spiritual identity diversity work. Cody is pursuing a Ph.D in Higher Education Administration at Iowa State University and holds Master’s degrees in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Northern Iowa and Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. He frequently blogs and offers consultation for universities regarding strategic thinking around religious, secular, and spiritual identity. His 2013-2015 study Multifaith in the Public University, a Louisville Foundation funded initiative, explores over 25 public and private universities in the United States and Canada regarding their policies, practices, and initiatives to support campus climates.
Gretchen Person, Associate University Chaplain and Associate Director of Religious Life, previously served as Director of Spiritual Life at DePauw University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from St. Olaf College, studied music in Copenhagen, Denmark, and worked at the International Church of Copenhagen. She began her M.Div. studies at Harvard University, graduated from Luther Seminary, and received the Master of Sacred Theology degree from Yale University. She has also studied at the Goethe Institute in Murnau, Germany, and at Valparaiso University. She completed internships in both the San Diego and San Francisco areas of California, and has served as a pastor of congregations in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Tennessee. An ordained pastor in the Lutheran (ELCA) church, she has also served as a hospice and hospital chaplain and as Associate Campus Pastor of a private liberal arts college.
As UVU’s Chief Diversity Officer, Kyle has championed initiatives to improve outcomes and opportunities for students from various underrepresented backgrounds including low-income, first-generation college bound students as well as students from Pacific Islander, Latino, and Native American backgrounds. He leads UVU's Strategic Inclusion Plan including over 30 action steps focused on creating a more inclusive campus. From 2009-2014, he served as Special Assistant to the President at UVU and before that, he dedicated 6 years to programs and services for underrepresented students and communities including TRIO/Upward Bound, GEAR UP, and Multicultural Student Services. Kyle received his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah and was the recipient of the Elmo R. & Frances Bennion Morgan Fellowship.
Dr. Rahuldeep Singh Gill
Dr. Gill is Cal Lutheran's Campus Interfaith Strategist, who launched CLU's Asian Studies Minor, served as Associate Director for CLU’s Center for Equality and Justice, and has served as the Center's Director since in 2014. In addition to offerings in Christianity, global religions, and Indian thought, he teaches a yearly course on Sikh tradition and has twice won Diversity Professor of the Year since he joined the faculty in 2009. Dr. Gill also teaches at Berkeley's Graduate Theological Union as Visiting Associate Professor of Sikh Studies.
Dr. Jenny Small
Jenny L. Small is a graduate of the University of Michigan, receiving a Ph.D. from the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education. Her research has focused on the spiritual lives and faith identities of religiously diverse college students, how college students use language to define these elements of their identities, and how religiously diverse students interact. Dr. Small's book, entitled Understanding College Students' Spiritual Identities: Different Faiths, Varied Worldviews, is now available from Hampton Press. Her work has also appeared in Research in Higher Education, About Campus, Religion & Education, and Multicultural Perspectives. She is a recipient of a research grant from the Spirituality in Higher Education Project at UCLA, for a project entitled "Spirituality and Well-Being among Religiously Privileged and Religiously Marginalized College Students."
Dr. Dafina-Lazarus Stewart
Dr. Stewart completed a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2001 and joined the HESA Faculty at Bowling Green State in 2005. D-L’s scholarly interests focus on issues of diversity and social justice, particularly through the lenses of race and ethnicity, sexuality and gender, and religion and faith as they are related to identity, student outcomes, and institutional transformation informed by an intersectional perspective. Currently, D-L is studying the experiences of Black Americans who attended college at private, liberal arts colleges in the Great Lakes Region between 1945 and 1965 through the use of archival data and oral history. My goal is to understand and describe these students’ motivations, persistence, and social integration on campus, as well as the institutional and local cultural climates’ effect on these factors to inform current understandings of issues of diversity, inclusion, and recruitment and integration of new student populations in U.S. higher education institutions.
Tarah Trueblood earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Nebraska (Lincoln), a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts from the Graduate Theological Union’s Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley), and her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Kentucky (Lexington). Prior to joining UNF, she worked as an attorney and then served as the Executive Director of the Wesley Foundation at University of California-Berkeley. For Tarah, community engagement is the common value that we can all rally around. Service to others is what gives students a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment in life and allows them to overcome ideological differences as they work towards a common goal.