Is it possible to create academic hubs that build credibility of religious perspective at elite universities in the hard sciences, social sciences, and the humanities? As scholars have shown, secularizing forces in the university have limited the influence of religious perspectives in academic exploration, with the result that the university is losing major contributors in its search for knowledge and, so also, an ability to connect with broader society.
If we are to counteract this trend, robust and respectable religious perspectives in academic inquiry are needed. Faculty and students need support structures that create space to explore how religious frameworks intersect with some of the deepest questions facing humankind.
This project will resource up to 12 Duke University faculty and Center for Christianity and Scholarship staff to create four, for-credit courses (offered twice-each in the grant period) at Duke that explore Christian frameworks across big questions in the sciences and humanities. To resource the faculty who will develop the courses, we will partner with Regent College in Vancouver, BC and Duke Divinity School faculty to create a training program that assists them in course development.
The eight courses offered over the life of the grant will create between 144 and 160 class spots for undergraduate students, impacting between 36 to 40 students each semester. The grant will also give classroom experience to eight graduate students who will TA the courses.
In addition to the courses, this project will produce a high-profile conference and op-eds and articles highlighting the importance of religious tradition-based learning in the academy.
We believe these deliverables will build space in the academy for religious perspectives on big questions and yield a more positive attitude towards religious tradition-based learning among key academic influencers and administrators at Duke and other top-tier institutions.