Today’s college students belong to the most religiously diverse generation in our nation’s history, bringing a vast mosaic of different beliefs and worldviews into contact on campuses like yours. Opportunities for positive, pluralistic engagement as well as challenging conflict abound. Yet there is broad recognition that student affairs professionals, higher education faculty, and other educators often have little preparation or guidance in dealing with matters of spirituality, religion, secularity, and interfaith relations. For too long, a lack of widespread knowledge, resources, or graduate-level training have helped perpetuate the narrative that religion is the “third rail” of identity and diversity issues on campus - often to the detriment of students across the country.
Educating About Religious Diversity and Interfaith Engagement was created by and for educators to equip campus leaders for proactive, positive engagement around religious identity and diversity. Combining theoretical frameworks with field-tested, practical approaches to campus practice, this text is an essential tool for successfully engaging this vital aspect of student life.
About the Book
For those who don’t know how to begin and may be nervous about tackling a topic that has the potential to lead to heated disagreements, this book provides the resources and practical guidance to undertake this work.
With the aim of providing student affairs practitioners and higher education faculty with the tools they need to increase their comfort level and enable their ability to engage in discussions about worldview both in and out of the classroom, the contributors provide foundational knowledge, concrete teaching ideas, sample activities, and case studies that can be used in a variety of settings.
This book serves multiple audiences in student affairs by providing educational ideas for practitioners who want to include a session or two about interfaith in their programs as well as ideas for student affairs faculty who may be teaching one session on this topic or a whole course.
The book is divided into four sections. The first offers context, providing research findings and asking readers to reflect on the framework they use to embark on this work, whether a social justice framework that aims to highlight issues of power and privilege or an interfaith cooperation framework that aims to create religious pluralism. Part Two provides concrete ideas for creating courses, activities, events, and programs focused on spirituality, religion, secularity, and interfaith engagement, as well as ideas for incorporating these topics into courses typically offered in student affairs preparation programs. Part Three presents case studies to engage students, practitioners, and faculty in thinking about campus situations related to religious diversity. Part Four provides some basic information about a variety of religions and worldviews held by college students and concrete advice for how to support students from these worldview identities.