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ERIC Number: EJ923530
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-1086-4822
The Multifaith Campus: Transforming Colleges and Universities for Spiritual Engagement
Stewart, Dafina Lazarus; Kocet, Michael M.; Lobdell, Sharon
About Campus, v16 n1 p10-18 Mar-Apr 2011
Religious pluralism is not the first type of diversity higher education has faced. In a 1998 article, Sylvia Hurtado, Jeffrey Milem, Alma Clayton-Pedersen, and Walter Allen advocated the necessity of using a multidimensional framework for enhancing the campus climate for racial and ethnic diversity. Their model began with acknowledging the institutional legacy for racial inclusion and exclusion. Next, structural diversity, as evidenced by the proportional representation of diverse racial groups, was considered as a product and reflection of the institution's legacy. Assessing the climate for racial diversity followed, with the recognition that visibility of racial diversity, or lack thereof, and institutional legacies affect how a campus climate is perceived by those who are members of racially marginalized groups. These scholars also contended that those in the majority, whose worldviews and cultural values are reflected in the institution's structures and consequently insulated by privilege, often do not perceive the campus climate in the same way as members of marginalized groups. The last dimension of the model examined relationships among and between different groups on campus. Increased intergroup conflict is likely to accompany an increase in the representation of diverse voices and experiences. However, as Parker Palmer asserts, conflict is not something to escape, but rather should be embraced as the only means of developing meaningful and substantive communities that sustain diversity. The authors believe that a similar approach is warranted and helpful for transforming campus climates for religious and secular diversity because it engages the entirety of the campus environment. The authors also borrow from Kathleen Manning and Patricia Coleman-Boatwright their idea of moving toward multicultural universities as a model for institutional transformation regarding religion, secularism, and spirituality. Transformation for engaging spirituality and religious and secular pluralism is not a simple matter of recruitment and civility. Such transformation requires faculty, staff, and students to invest in the long-term work of examining and revising institutional structures to dismantle privilege, while contemplating what it means to live life together as a campus community, mobilizing beliefs about meaning and purpose to enhance the educational journey. In this article, the authors use Hurtado and her colleagues' framework to illustrate the levels of transformation from nonsectarian to multifaith colleges and universities. They also draw on Sharon Parks's model of faith development regarding forms of community to help illustrate the nature of community at each level of transformation.
Jossey-Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A