What Students Want from Religious Courses

November 24, 2006

Students in introductory courses in religion and theology, at religious and non-religious institutions, want lots of discussion, want to learn facts about religious groups, and want to become better people. ("Tell us who the Muslims are. They want to overcome their prejudices.") Professors aren’t opposed to any of those things, but they are much more interested in teaching critical thinking. This "great divide" was uncovered by a national US survey of 12,000 students by a Notre Dame professor, and will be published in book form next year. Also surprising were the few professors at religious institutions with moral and religious agendas for their students, and the high percentages of students at secular institutions with hopes for such an experience in class. InsideHigherEd