Religious Literacy Guidelines for College Students
In 2016, the AAR was awarded a five-year $160,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to produce consensus guidelines on religious literacy that administrators and faculty nationwide can draw upon to help shape college curricula.
The guidelines are envisioned as analogous to the Essential Learning Outcomes of the American Association of Colleges and Universities and to the Degree Qualifications Profile of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. The aim is to broadly yet succinctly outline the knowledge and skills related to religion that every associate’s or bachelor’s degree recipient should gain and to include in the guidelines document some rationale and elaboration.
The process for developing the guidelines will be fivefold. A Steering Group will produce drafts. A Respondent Group will be tasked with providing in-depth feedback on those drafts. Together the two Groups will constitute an AAR Annual Meeting Seminar. Annual sessions of the Seminar will provide an opportunity for any interested Annual Meeting attendees to engage in discussion of the drafts in person. Please see the attached Project Calendar for the seminar’s schedule. Once there is a sufficiently refined draft, it will be posted on the AAR website for feedback from any AAR member (and by request any AAR member will be able to access earlier drafts as they are produced). At the end of the process, the guidelines will be presented to the AAR Board to consider final approval.
The first three years of the project will focus on this process of developing the guidelines, followed by two years of work publicizing them. Co-Leading the Steering Group are Eugene V. Gallagher and Diane L. Moore. The primary AAR staff contact for the project is Steve Herrick. For additional project leadership, see the Project Roster for the Steering and Respondent Groups.
Gallagher is Professor Emeritus and Founding Director of the Joy Shechtman Mankoff Center for Teaching & Learning, Connecticut College. He is the author of “Responding to Resistance in Teaching about New Religious Movements” in Teaching New Religions, “Spirituality in Higher Education? Caveat Emptor” in Religion and Education; and of “Teaching for Religious Literacy” and coauthor of “Sketching the Contours of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion,” both in Teaching Theology and Religion. For the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, he has co-led several workshops and facilitated 40 structured conversations with faculty at their institutions about teaching about religion. Gallagher is the recipient of five teaching awards, including an AAR Award for Excellence in Teaching. He is also the former chair of the AAR Teaching and Learning Committee and a former member of the AAR Board of Directors.
At Harvard University, Diane Moore is Director of the Religious Literacy Project, Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions, Senior Lecturer on Religious Studies and Education, and Coordinator for the Religious Studies and Education Certificate, which provides educators with a multidisciplinary foundation for approaching the study of religion in public school classrooms or in other educational settings focused on learning about religion. Moore is the recipient of two teaching awards. She is author of Overcoming Religious Illiteracy: A Cultural Studies Approach to the Study of Religion in Secondary Education. As former chair of the AAR Religion in the Schools Task Force, she is the lead author of AAR Guidelines for Teaching about Religion in K-12 Public Schools in the United States.
If you have questions about the project please contact Steve Herrick at email@example.com or 434-202-8198.