a journal of analysis and comment
advancing public understanding of religion and education
Winter 2006, Vol. 33 No. 1
Winter issue marks the beginning of a year in which we move from publishing two
issues each year to three—a response to increasing interest in topics covered
here. One consistent such topic
involves responses to the increasing religious diversity in the United States.
With increasing diversity comes the challenge of creating pluralistic
education communities that value the multiple faith traditions of its
constituents. We open this new year
and issue with the results of a new study from UCLA’s Higher Education
Research Institute’s Spirituality in Higher Education project.
Analyzing the central practices, attitudes, and spiritual beliefs of
entering first-year students representing non-majority perspectives, Alyssa
Bryant elucidates a wide and complex spectrum of approaches to spirituality and
religion by Buddhist, Hindus, Muslims, Unitarian Universalists, Jewish students,
and students with no religious preference.
this expansive view of the landscape, editorial board member Robert J. Nash and
his colleague Penny A. Bishop take on the issue of religious pluralism in a post
9/11 world--particularly, how to teach adolescents within this context and about
the challenges and opportunities associated with religious diversity.
Among other significant points, they argue for enlarging the scope of
multiculturalism and the need for a parallel effort at religious literacy for
students at all levels, teachers, and teacher educators.
J. Tisdell continues the probe of teaching about cultural diversity within the
secular higher education classroom. Her
article begins with a personal account exploring the secular-spiritual teaching
paradox arising from the interrelation of spirituality, religion, culture, and
personal identity, and goes on to report findings of a study of a group of
educators and their ideas about these issues and how they relate to their own
fourth article features one institution’s experience with the Lilly
Endowment’s Programs for Theological Exploration of Vocation, a multi-year
initiative granting 87 higher education institutions more than 200 million
dollars (see www.ptev.org).
Jennifer Grant Haworth and Mary de Villiers offer an assessment of the
impact (intended as well as unanticipated) of their grant on the renewal of the
institution and its commitment to its mission.
concluding article by Gerard A. Zam and Gregory E. Stone focuses on an important
set of players in any religious literacy initiative that eventually is to affect
schools – the social studies teacher educator.
In a national study, Zam and Stone surveyed the attitudes of higher
education teacher education faculty involved in social studies education and
reflect on what the results portend.
spring issue is already in preparation. We
are delighted to have Peter Laurence as Guest Editor for this issue on
Spirituality in Higher Education. He
has drawn together a distinguished group of scholars for this enterprise.
Please note the article topics and authors on page 109.
cover art for this issue is Merkaba Mandala or Acrylic Medallion by Robert
Wertz. It was part of the October 2001 exhibit, “A Question of Faith,” at
the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art.
D. Waggoner, Editor
Religion and Education