campus partner(s)

Social Science Research Council






Fresh Thinking

award date


project director

Craig Calhoun

Social Science Research Council

Grant Summary

$40,000 over 6 months. Religion has come to the forefront of education today because of its more prominent role in the public sphere, because of the push for teaching to take students' religious commitments seriously, and because the pattern of religious engagement among undergraduates is changing. Yet college teachers and students often find themselves positioned differently on this issue. Teachers can be surprised by the religious engagements their students bring into the classroom and they may miss important religious components of their students' intellectual lives when students do not bring them up in class. Students, on the other hand, at times feel that teachers do not welcome discussions of religious issues and are not receptive to religious perspectives.

To address this set of issues, SSRC will review existing authoritative research to prepare a short and accessible pamphlet for college faculty and administrators, focusing on students' religious lives and beliefs and summarizing their knowledge of religion more generally. In surveying the current state of knowledge regarding student attitudes and experiences, perspectives and practices, understandings and activities, the aim is neither to adjudicate between competing claims in the literature, nor to initiate new research, but rather to draw on existing scholarship in order to provide a clearer sense of the shape, scope, and substance of students' religious engagements. The pamphlet will also include suggestions for further reading.