Bethany College received a $10,000 grant awarded by the Interfaith Youth Core for establishing an Interfaith Studies Minor. The grant, funded through the Teagle Foundation, will provide scholarships for pilot students that will begin pursuing the minor in the spring term of this academic year.
Religion Professors Adam Pryor and Tyler Atkinson developed the new minor by working with departments outside of Religion. The course sequence introduces interfaith curricula within classes already offered in pre-professional programs such as business, education, pre-medicine, and pre-pharmacy.
“We are working with instructors and developing learning objectives that foster interfaith understanding,” Atkinson said. “As our country continues to ask what it means to be diverse, we think this type of training will be relevant as students begin their careers.”
According to the award letter, the Interfaith Youth Core received a higher than anticipated number of proposals for the grant, and was impressed by the overall quality and creativity of the Bethany program. Interfaith Youth Core is an organization that works globally and with more than 200 colleges and universities to build successful models of interfaith cooperation.
The new minor allows students in pre-professional programs an opportunity to obtain a religion minor without adding many extra classes to their class load. The Interfaith Studies Minor will require participation in Bethany’s Peer Ministry program as well as utilize several interdisciplinary classes that are already established.
“Some of the students in the pre-professional programs were interested in a religion minor, but it was difficult to obtain with all the classes they were required to take,” Atkinson said. “We looked at ways to use classes we already offered that could foster greater interfaith understanding. This awareness will be important as these students enter into an increasingly diverse society.”
Bethany College, established by Swedish Lutheran immigrants in 1881, is a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The mission of Bethany College is to educate, develop and challenge individuals to reach for truth and excellence as they lead lives of faith, learning and service. Bethany College is on the Web atwww.bethanylb.edu.