Thursday, January 13, 2005

Religion and University Life

I am slowly building up to discuss this issue here...I have a piece that Stanley Fish has written about this topic in the Chronicle, called One University Under God, I have to read well as digest what I have learned about UCLA's Spirituality in Higher Education project.

So, here is a tidbit I have in waiting...

This is from the 1/4 Academe Today, the daily email update to subscribers of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

A glance at the current issue of "Religion & Education":
Students and spirituality

In separate essays, scholars at two colleges discuss student
spirituality and the need for physical spaces for religious
activities on their campuses.
In "The Complex and Rich Landscape of Student Spirituality:
Findings From the Goucher College Spirituality Survey," Kelly
Denton-Borhaug, a chaplain and assistant professor of philosophy
and religion at the Maryland college, discusses the results of
her recent study of undergraduates' religious practices.
While 77 percent of students consider themselves "spiritual,"
Ms. Denton-Borhaug writes, less than a quarter of those surveyed
connect their spirituality with a particular religious tradition
and only 16 percent participate in religious organizations on
the campus. The Goucher chapel, she says, is rarely used, except
for weddings, lectures, and musical performances. Few students
even mentioned it when asked in the survey to describe their
concept of a spiritual space.
Students overwhelmingly said they wanted solitude and privacy in
their spiritual experiences, but Ms. Denton-Borhaug believes the
campus still needs a place dedicated to spiritual concerns,
perhaps a more flexible one that could provide more solitude and
fit more-diverse needs.
Meanwhile, at Knox College, L. Sue Hulett, a professor of
political science, bemoans the lack of a religious space of any
kind on the Illinois campus. The college's chapel was torn down
in the 1960s.
Ms. Hulett, who also conducted a student-spirituality survey,
says she found that 19 percent of Christian students at Knox
perceive the college's culture as hostile to religion. A
dedicated spiritual space might help, she says, and the college
should provide one.
In her article, "Being Religious at Knox College: Attitudes
Toward Religion, Christian Expression, and Conservative Values
on Campus," Ms. Hulett writes: "Our celebration of pluralism,
tolerance, and diversity is not much of a party, if we say,
'sorry, religion is too scary, divisive, controversial,
emotional, or other-oriented for us to allow a space dedicated
to its activities.'"
Excerpts from the articles are online at

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