Religion Department Goals and their Contribution to the College's Mission
Religion has played such a deeply significant role in human history that no one can be deemed liberally educated who has not confronted and responded to this heritage. Reflecting this goal of the liberal arts college, our academic role is to promote broad understanding and critical appreciation of the religious dimension of human experience. We see this academic engagement with our students as the primary goal of our department: to promote the process of inquiry and sympathetic understanding, critical questioning and historical study that is appropriate to each of our disciplines.
We are committed to playing a significant role in the College's liberal arts mission as manifested in its core curriculum and educational programs. We carry out this commitment not only through our own introductory courses in biblical studies, world religions, and the study of religion, but also through participation in developing and teaching college-wide programs, such as Western Culture, introductory honors, and freshman seminars. Our departmental courses fulfill College requirements in international and American studies and in the Hobbie Business Ethics Program. We reinforce our commitment to teaching through sponsoring symposia and lectures and in our availability as resources in the college and local communities.
We support the inquiry of the many students who, although not departmental majors, wish to pursue a deeper interest in the study of religion beyond fulfilling College requirements. We offer them an opportunity to develop skills in religious inquiry through a progressive series of elective courses on a particular biblical author or book, on the religious traditions of a particular geographical area, on the religious traditions of America, and on many areas of Christian theology and ethics. We recognize a particular responsibility for the academic cultivation and personal challenge of this wider community of students.
We offer a more systematic initiation into the practice of religious inquiry in four areas-biblical study, world religions, Christian theology and ethics, and American and historical studies. Learning together with the growing-but very diverse-circle of students who concentrate on the study of religion, often together with another discipline, represents our greatest opportunity and challenge. Through seminar classes, independent study, and the departmental capstone seminar we offer a forum where the diverse talents and skills of these students can be challenged in discussion, research and presentation. Participation in departmental honors and senior fellowships, when appropriate, offers unique opportunities for advanced study in a fully collegial process. We exercise an important role in fostering our majors' search for post-graduate education as well as for integrating their studies of religion into their lives and careers.
Adopted: September 30, 2003