AAR Religious Literacy Guidelines

What U.S. College Graduates Need to Understand about Religion


In 2016, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations (AVD) approached the American Academy of Religion (AAR) to submit a proposal to advance religious literacy, one of AVD’s areas of focus. The AAR is the world’s largest association of scholars who research or teach topics related to religion. There are over 8,000 members comprised largely of faculty at colleges, universities, and theological schools in North America with a growing number from institutions of higher education in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The staff and board of the AAR decided to respond to AVD’s request with a proposal to create guidelines for what graduates of two- and four- year undergraduate institutions should know about religion. This decision was in keeping with the mission of the AAR and with its history in providing guidelines for teaching about religion in K-12 public schools in the United States.[1]

The proposal was accepted and these guidelines were produced over a three-year period with wide consultation within and outside of the AAR. Please see Appendix D for a list of Steering and Respondent Group members and AAR staff responsible for guiding this effort.

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