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Inter-Seminary Initiative

Awarded Grant
Cornish, Alison
Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia
Non-Degree Agency
Topics: Gathering Faculty across Institutions   |   Relating Pedagogy and Curriculum

Proposal abstract :
The Inter-Seminary Initiative will equip faculty, administrators and students in Philadelphia’s area schools of theological education with the skills and experiences to minister in a world of growing religious diversity. The focus of this request is to answer the question: What are the most effective methodologies for multi-faith education. The Interfaith Center will organize professional development opportunities for faculty in diverse area seminaries to learn a range of pedagogical approaches that have been successfully employed by peer leaders in the field who have incorporated multi-faith education into the classroom.

Learning Abstract :
Funding from The Wabash Center allowed the Inter-Seminary Initiative, a collaborative of twelve seminaries in the Philadelphia region, to explore the question ‘what are the most effective pedagogical models for inter-religious education?' Through extended listening sessions, open house events, and facilitated conversations at day-long or multi-day retreats, we have found that immersive, direct, and dialogical experiences are the better practices for inter-religious education. While other pedagogical offerings are helpful and useful, the more that people are in direct contact with one another, over a sustained amount of time, the more likely they have a transformative experience. This transformation will impact the classroom and higher education experience, as well as future leadership in the congregation or elsewhere. The Inter-Seminary Initiative continues to explore how to offer embodied, hyper-local encounters, which we consider foundational for inter-religious education, despite a movement toward online and distance learning offerings.
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