Dr. Cliff Cain 1 of 25 in Nation Selected for Special Seminar on Teaching Interfaith Understanding

Earlier this year, Dr. Cliff Cain was selected from a nationwide pool of nominees to participate in a faculty seminar, offered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), with support from the Henry Luce Foundation, on the teaching of interfaith understanding. Cain is the Harrod-C.S. Lewis Professor of Religious Studies and Department Chair for the Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religious Studies at Westminster.

Twenty-five faculty members participated in the five-day Teaching Interfaith Understanding seminar June 21–25, 2015, at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

“Strengthening the teaching of interfaith understanding at colleges and universities is a high priority at a time when college enrollment—and American society—is becoming more diverse. Strengthening participation in American life with greater understanding of the distinctive contributions of different faiths is a key to America’s future success,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “The number of institutions that nominated faculty members to participate in the interfaith understanding seminar is most impressive.”

The seminar was led by two leading scholars: Catherine Cornille, Newton College Alumnae Chair of Western Culture, chair of the department of theology, and professor of comparative theology at Boston College; and Noah Silverman, director of faculty partnerships at IFYC. Stephen Prothero, professor of religion at Boston University, participated as a special guest speaker. The program aimed to broaden faculty members’ knowledge and strengthen their teaching of interfaith understanding, with the development of new courses and resources.

According to Cain, the seminar fostered discussion on how to assist students to learn about the religions of the world and the people who practice them.

While Cain already incorporates a number of these various teaching techniques and tools in his World Religions course (REL 102) at Westminster, he says he welcomes the exchange of ideas

“There are always ‘ways’ of doing these things better and the motivation to try some different approaches and novel inclusions have helped me to begin to improve the course in significant ways,” Cain says.

For more information, visit www.cic.edu/TeachingInterfaith.

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