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A Review of Research/Think Tanks Related to Spirituality & Religion

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Guest Lecture, December 2nd, 2014, A Review of Research/Think Tanks Related to Spirituality & Religion. Religion & Higher Education (ELHE7504), Taught by Dr. Michael James, Boston College, Lynch School of Education, Department of Educational Leadership & Higher Education

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A Review of Research/Think Tanks Related to Spirituality & Religion

  1. 1. A Review of Research/Think Tanks Related to Spirituality & Religion Daniel A. Zepp Boston College www.DanielZepp.com @DannyZepp
  2. 2. Class Outline Review of Research/Think-Tanks UCLA Spirituality Survey Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) Social Science Research Council (SSRC) National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) Baylor Religion Survey The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Discussion & Analysis Small Group Activity
  3. 3. Questions to Consider 1. How does this data challenge our assumptions? 2. Does this data reflect the experience of our students? 3. How might this data inform our practice?
  4. 4. UCLA Spirituality Study UCLA Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) http://spirituality.ucla.edu/ Seven-year study examining the role that college plays in facilitating the development of students’ spiritual qualities Focus on higher education and college student experience Spirituality is associated with enhanced college student outcomes in academic performance, psychological well-being, leadership development, and satisfaction in college https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=aJswcR0Brwo
  5. 5. Distinguishing Spiritual & Religious Spiritual Equanimity Spiritual Quest Ethic of Caring Charitable Involvement Ecumenical Worldview Religious Religious Commitment Religious Engagement Religious/Social Conservatism Religious Skepticism Religious Struggle
  6. 6. Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) Georgetown University Focus on Catholicism and the Catholic Church Three major dimensions to mission To increase Church’s self-understanding To serve the applied research needs of Church decision-makers To advance scholarly research on religion, particularly Catholicism
  7. 7. Catholicism on Campus: Stability & Change in Catholic Student Faith by College Type Focus Beliefs and attitudes about social and political issues Religious behaviors Changes from freshman to juniors years UCLA sources Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) – Freshmen College Student Beliefs & Values (CSBV) – Juniors Catholic vs. other institution types No significant secularizing trend among Catholic students attending Catholic colleges Response to Cardinal Newman Society criticism regarding the negative impact of Catholic colleges and universities
  8. 8. Social Science Research Council Focusing on informing social reform, public policy The Immanent Frame: Secularism, religion, & public sphere http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/ http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/ publications/
  9. 9. National Study of Youth & Religion (NSYR) Christian Smith and colleagues Center for Study of Religion and Society at Notre Dame National longitudinal mixed-methods study Wave 1 (2003) 13-17 year olds Wave 2 (2005) 16-21 year olds Wave 3 (2007-2008) 18-24 year olds
  10. 10. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism 1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth. 2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions. 3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself. 4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem. 5. Good people go to heaven when they die.
  11. 11. Lost in Transition? Morality adrift Captive to consumerism Intoxication’s “Fake Feeling of Happiness” The Shadow Side of Sexual Liberation Civic and Political Disengagement
  12. 12. Six Major Religious Types 1. Committed traditionalists (15%) 2. Selective adherents (30%) 3. Spiritually open (15%) 4. Religiously indifferent (25%) 5. Religiously disconnected (5%) 6. Irreligious (10%) http://youtu.be/Fn_2AuOocRs?t=53m30s
  13. 13. Questions to Consider 1. How does this data challenge our assumptions? 2. Does this data reflect the experience of our students? 3. How might this data inform our practice?
  14. 14. Baylor Religion Survey Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion Multi-year study of religious values and behaviors, with a specific focus on the consumption of religious goods and services Focus on religious commitment and devoutness “Losing My religion? No, Says Baylor Religion Survey” http://www.baylorisr.org/ programs-research/global-studies- of-religion/surveys-of-religion/
  15. 15. The “Four Gods” Authoritarian God – 31.4% of respondents Very judgmental and engaged Benevolent God – 25% of respondents Not judgmental but engaged Distant God – 23% of respondents Completely removed Critical God – 16% of respondents Judgmental but not engaged
  16. 16. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life Pew Research Center A nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world Religion & Public Life Project Seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs Examines shifting religious composition, influence of religion on politics, government and social restrictions on religion, and social issues (e.g. abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, church-state controversies) Sources http://www.pewforum.org/about/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fp8LfFRiU8E
  17. 17. “Nones” on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation (Funk & Smith, 2012, p. 9)
  18. 18. Religion Among the Millennials (Pew Research Center, 2010, p. 1)
  19. 19. Questions to Consider 1. How does this data challenge our assumptions? 2. Does this data reflect the experience of our students? 3. How might this data inform our practice?
  20. 20. Discussion & Analysis What narratives about spirituality and religion do you hear? How do these narratives relate to spirituality, religion, and the college student experience? What is missing from the conversation? How could research and analysis of spirituality, religion, and the college student experience be improved?
  21. 21. College Student Experience? Limited research focusing on spirituality, religion, and the college student experience UCLA Spirituality Study, CIRP (freshmen), CSBV (juniors) CARA study of Catholic student experience based on CIRP and CSBV data Limited theological base, distinguishes spiritual and religious Others focus on: Young/emerging adults & Millennial generation NSYR Religious commitment and devoutness Baylor Religion Survey Religion & society SSRC American religious landscape Pew Forum
  22. 22. Spiritual & Religion = Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors? Majority of research focuses on values, attitudes, and behaviors Does this adequately capture spirituality, religion, and the college student experience? Does this data reflect the experience of our students? How could research on spirituality and religion be improved?
  23. 23. Small Group Activity 1. Two colleges/universities in the Boston area 2. Identify campus initiatives related to spirituality and religion Use Promising Practices (Lindholm et al., 2011) as your guide 3. Programmatic analysis 4. Institutional analysis 5. Connect to readings and today’s lecture 6. Provide recommendations for future growth

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