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Wabash College
Wabash Center programs are funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.
Undergraduate Departments of Religion Grants

In July 2015, the Wabash Center approved $30,000 grants to each of 15 undergraduate religion departments for projects on teaching and learning.

Project directors from these approved projects will attend

  • September 24-27, 2015 - Project Development Consultation
  • October 14-16, 2016 - Project Director Meeting  Materials for participating schools 
  • November 3-5, 2017 - Summative Conference for participating schools 

These meetings will help the project directors refine the design, structure, and processes of evaluative learning for their grant projects through structured exercises and peer conversation.  All costs for these meetings will be borne by the Wabash Center separate from the grant funding.

The approved grant projects explore teaching and learning issues encountered in religious or theological studies’ classrooms and contribute to the capacity for sustained pedagogical conversations within the department or college.


Ball State University, Jeffrey Brackett
Project Focus: Increasing the appeal, visibility, and value of the connections in our curriculum to the students’ intellectual and personal goals by developing pedagogies that demonstrate the acquiring of intercultural competency, empathy, and knowledge that contribute to becoming “global citizens.”

College of Charleston, Elijah Siegler
Project Focus: Developing interfaith dialogue in a liberal arts context through engaged learning practices such as site visits, diversity/global learning, undergraduate research, service learning, and internships.

Eckerd College, Davina Lopez
Project Focus: Developing robust pedagogical practices that help our students understand the contemporary relevance of the study of religion across the disciplines and by countering the impression that studying religion primarily concerns expressing belief.

Grinnell College, Caleb Elfenbein and Timothy Dobe
Project Focus: Exploring how religious studies faculty can create learning spaces in which diverse students can effectively relate their own experiences to the classroom and in which students grapple with the relationship between theoretically informed exploration of religion and the moods and motivations that animate people’s participation in, or criticism of, religious practices and communities.

Hendrix College, Robert Williamson, Jr.
Project Focus: Effectively preparing students to complete senior capstone projects that demonstrate significant learning in their areas of concentration, incorporate methods and insights from other related disciplines, and help them identify skills and interests relevant to life after college.

LaSalle University, Anthony Paul Smith and Maureen O’Connell
Project Focus: Developing and implementing liberatory pedagogies for exploring sacred spaces and engaging faith communities that interpret our Lasallian charism in the context of Philadelphia’s racial, economic, and religious diversity.

Missouri State University, Stephen C. Berkwitz
Project Focus: Equipping undergraduates with critical learning skills and content knowledge that are useful for careers in STEM fields related to Health and Human Services; engaging colleagues in other departments to develop new courses and pedagogical aims that support the needs and interests of these same students.

Monmouth College, Hannah Schell
Project Focus: Developing best practices for teaching our World Religions course so that it is engaging and challenging to students, and supportive of the goals of the major, given the challenge of our institutional location in rural Illinois.

Rhodes College, John Kaltner and Bernadette McNary-Zak
Project Focus: Helping our students understand and interpret the biblical texts as citizens of the twenty-first century, which will involve reimagining and redefining Religious Studies 101-102 so that it equips our students with the skills necessary to grapple with these texts in our world.

Shenandoah University, Meredith Minister
Project Focus: Working with faculty across the university to foster religious understanding and pilot initiatives geared toward improving students’ religious understanding within the First Year Seminar program where students are required to take a course with a global emphasis.

Southern Methodist University, Jill DeTemple
Project Focus: The recent creation of the University Curriculum with the increasing emphasis on interdisciplinary and the possibility of “paired majors” has created an opportunity for the faculty in Religious Studies to concentrate on best practices for the implementation of these new programs and to cultivate intentional discussions around teaching about religion in other disciplines and professions like Business, Law, Engineering, and Education.

Trinity University, Angela Tarángo
Project Focus: Recent changes at Trinity and in the Religion Department, including a new general education curriculum (Pathways) and significant revisions of the Religion major, present an opportunity for the department to determine specific ways that our courses can be modified to more specifically build transferrable skills such as research, critical thinking, and research writing for the 21st century graduate to apply in higher education and in the workplace.

University of North Florida (along with Middle Tennessee State University and Clemson University), Brandi Denison, Ben White, and Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand
Project Focus: The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at UNF, in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy at MTSU and the Department of Philosophy and Religion at CU, as new religious studies majors housed in predominately philosophy departments, will collaborate to construct a coherent religious studies pedagogy among multidisciplinary faculty.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Kent Brintnall and Joanne Robinson
Project Focus: Exploring what is happening in the classroom when students are having an experience that they would identify as valuable, worthwhile, transformative, and “good,” as well as the habits, practices, strategies, approaches and commitments that faculty members adopt to create the atmosphere that they are convinced typifies the religious studies classroom. Finally, learning about the various ways that the classroom can be an enlivening, rich and generative environment.

University of Redlands, Lillian Larsen
Project Focus: The department hopes to accomplish three tasks: 1) Balance broad representation of religion as a single, "stable" or "static" repository of truth by introducing malleable “spatial” models that emphasize the supple character of religious belief and practice; 2) counter characterization of religion as a divisive and de-stabilizing force with a “geographical” exploration of landscapes shaped by cross-cultural confluence, intersection and exchange; and 3) complicate configurations of religion as a societal inhibitor/constraint, with an informed investigation of religion as a creative force, and a catalyst for artistic expression, ethical praxis, and scientific thought.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Nadine (Dena) S. Pence
Executive Director, Wabash Center
pencen@wabash.edu
(800) 655-7117

Wabash Center 301 W. Wabash Avenue Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933 wabashcenter@wabash.edu
(765)361-6047 phone (800) 655-7117 toll-free (765)361-6051 fax

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