RESEARCH IMPORTANCE AND METHODOLOGY Though academic institutions aim to encourage diverse viewpoints, a culture of atheism on university faculties may unwittingly be contributing to an anti-religious atmosphere. A wealth of research on women and ethnic minorities demonstrates the strong negative impact such prejudice has on undermining psychological well-being and academic performance. Religious discrimination in academia threatens to disadvantage religious students and discourage them from joining the academy, which perpetuates the cycle of exclusion. Using a combination of experimental and longitudinal research methodologies borrowed from racial and gender discrimination research, we will measure both overt and covert forms of prejudice, and produce strategies for removing barriers for potential scholars who might offer valuable perspectives on the dialogue between science and religion. EMPIRICAL RESEARCH PROGRAM We propose a four-phase research plan to: 1) investigate the presence of religious discrimination in academia 2) measure how anti-religion prejudices are communicated 3) assess the degree and impact of anti-religious discrimination on students 4) test interventions to mitigate possible negative effects of such discrimination OUTPUTS 1) Empirical research: 4 study series consisting of 8 individual studies 2) At least 5 articles in high-impact, peer reviewed journals 3) Conference presentations and media outlets OUTCOMES AND ENDURING IMPACT 1) New knowledge and increased awareness of religious discrimination in higher education 2) Increased positive engagement and inclusion of religious students and perspectives in academia 3) Removed barriers between the academic discourse of religion and science 4) Catalysis for future research to study religious discrimination and application of interventions by universities and religious groups
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