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Teaching Religious Studies to Undergraduate Students in Health-Related Fields

Awarded Grant
Berkwitz, Stephen|Schmalzbauer, John
Missouri State University
Undergraduate School
Topics: Teaching in Specific Contexts   |   Teaching a Specific Subject   |   Designing Courses

Proposal abstract :
Many undergraduate students pursuing degrees and careers in health-related fields will eventually discover that a knowledge of religious diversity and the interrelations between religion, spirituality, and health would be extremely useful for their work. We propose to develop a coherent curriculum made up of Religious Studies courses and internships to increase the cultural competence of students in health and human services programs. By discovering and communicating how Religious Studies can enhance the education of these students, we aim to develop a capacity to teach about the many ways that Religion and Health intersect, and build meaningful interdisciplinary collaborations between Religious Studies and Health programs at Missouri State University. These goals will be accomplished through meetings with stakeholders on campus and in the health professions, symposia and consultations with outside experts, and collaborative curriculum development projects undertaken by faculty.

Learning Abstract :
Our grant research and activities taught us that Religious Studies courses can contribute in meaningful ways to the education of students in pre-professional health-related fields. By engaging students, faculty, and staff from the College of Health and Human Services in conversations about the interests and needs of future health professionals, we learned that we could design courses in areas where the humanities and the health sciences converge. Our faculty worked in collaboration to develop courses that explore the relationships between religion and health, enhance student understanding about religious diversity, and provide practical knowledge for students who plan to work with patients and clients. While creating a curricular focus on religion and health to complement our department's other offerings, we developed a clearer rationale for explaining the relevance and usefulness of Religious Studies coursework to students seeking an education in health and human services fields.
Wabash Center