Westminster Professor One of 25 Selected for National Interfaith Seminar

The Reverend Clifford Chalmers Cain, Ph.D., Harrod-C.S. Lewis Professor of Religious Studies at Westminster College, has been selected as one of twenty-five faculty members from across the country to attend Teaching Interfaith Understanding presented June 21-25 at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA.

Participants were selected by competitive nomination by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and Interfaith Youth Corps (IFYC).

The goals of the seminar are to broaden faculty members’ knowledge and perspective to help them strengthen the teaching of interfaith understanding, develop new courses and other resources and encourage the development of a growing network of faculty members who are committed to teaching this subject.

“With religious diversity on American college campuses growing, interfaith activities on many campuses are growing as well and are drawing increased attention from the entire campus community,” says Dr.  Cain.  “As professors of religious studies, we must be concerned with how interfaith understanding can be taught more effectively in the college classroom so students are better equipped for interfaith engagement and leadership both in the classroom and beyond.”

Professors will have the opportunity to write syllabi and course modules that may be shared with colleagues at many other institutions.

“The seminars serve not only to help faculty explore pedagogies, methods and tools and texts for teaching interfaith understanding; they also help build a network of scholars committed to this work,” says Cassie Meyer, Faculty Partnerships Consultant at Interfaith Youth Corps.  “We’re looking forward to the 2015 seminar as a chance to expand and build on that network and increase the number of faculty members committed to engaging these topics in their classrooms.”

Many other faculty members in the humanities in fields such as education, health care and business have become interested in these topics as well  as they seek new ways to connect their expertise with efforts to foster religious pluralism.  They recognize the challenges of religious diversity will have an impact on their students’ postgraduate professions.

Instructors for the seminar include Dr. Catherine Cornille, Chair of the Department of Theology, Professor of Comparative Theology and Newton College Alumnae Chair of Western Culture; Noah Silverman, Director of Faculty Partnerships at Interfaith Youth Core; and Dr. Stephen Prothero, a professor in the Department of Religion at Boston University.

The Reverend Clifford Chalmers Cain, Ph.D., previously taught at Franklin College of Indiana and has served as Professor of Religious Studies at Westminster for the past five years.  In January 2013 he was named to a new Westminster professorship, The Harrod-C.S. Lewis Professorship in Religious Studies.

Dr. Cain holds both a doctorate in theology and one in ecology and is the author of six books, six collections of sermons and numerous articles and book reviews.  He served for three months as Theologian-in-Residence at the Church of the Holy Cross in Hilo, Hawaii in the summer of 2013.

The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 750 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions to improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. For more information, see www.cic.ed.


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