Study of Religion

Resources for Responding to Religion in the Classroom

Astin, Alexander W., Helen S. Astin, Jennifer A. Lindholm.  Cultivating the Spirit:  How College Can Enhance Students Inner Lives.  Jossey-Bass, 2010.
The conclusion to a five-year study on the religious and spiritual of experiences of college students and how these experiences relate to learning.  Concludes that spiritual development improves academic performance.  Includes helpful discussions of religious skepticism and struggle.

Butler, Anathea.  “Teaching a Disaster.”  Inside Higher Ed.  Sept. 12, 2005:
In this short piece Butler reflects on teaching about Hurricane Katrina in the context of her religious studies courses.  While aimed at a specific event, her guidelines are helpful for addressing similar events that may raise complex and difficult feelings among students.

Catron, Peggy.  “Blinking in the Sunlight:  Exploring the Fundamentalist Perspective.”  In Encountering Faith in the Classroom.  Ed. Miriam Rosalyn Diamond.  Sterling, VA:  Stylus, 2008.  Pp.  65-76.
A first person essay exploring the characteristics of Christian Fundamentalism and offers helpful strategies for engaging with Fundamentalist students.  Stresses the importance of recognizing students’ different developmental levels and the difficulty that some have when moving out Fundamentalist patterns of thinking.

Diamond, Miriam Rosalyn, ed.  Encountering Faith in the Classroom:  Turning Difficult Discussions into Constructive Engagement.  Sterling, VA:  Stylus, 2008. 
An edited volume that explores a number of topics related to religion in the classroom, including legal issues related to religion in the classroom, differences between student and faculty perceptions on the role of religion in the classroom, and different disciplinary perspectives on the ways of engaging religious topics, disagreements, and discussions in the classroom.

Eisen, Arri and David Westmorland.  “Teaching Science, With Faith in Mind. “ Chronicle of Higher Education 55.34, 5/1/2009.
A short piece from the perspective of the natural sciences that includes some helpful, basic strategies for approaching issues that have become contentious because of a perceived conflict between faith and religion.

Kaplan, Matthew L.  “Getting Religion in the Public Research University.”  Academe 92.4, Jul-Aug 2006.
A description of how University of Michigan addressed religion within its “Difficult Dialogues” project.

Saunders, Shari and Diana Kardia.  “Creating Inclusive College Classrooms.”  University of Michigan Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.  2011:
A general piece on creating inclusive classrooms, which

Williams, Bronwyn T.  “Taken on Faith:  Religion and Identity in Writing Classes.”  Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 48.6, March 2005.
A thoughtful essay on addressing students’ religious beliefs in the context of writing assignments.  Focuses especially on issues raised by conservative Christian students.