Welcome to the Spirituality and Religion in Higher Education Knowledge Community. Our leadership team works to support and network professionals, students, faculty, and other stakeholders who are invested in enhancing conversations, research, and best practices for spirituality, secularism, and religion in higher education. We look forward to your engagement and feedback and please let us know how we can best support you in this work.
Institutions seeking ways to address the increasing divisiveness plaguing our nation’s political discourse are challenged with balancing strong respect for equity and inclusion with protecting free speech. Contrary to inclusion and diversity and freedom of expression being at odds, however, campus leaders can take proactive steps to establish both meaningful protections for those who have experienced past trauma and create spaces for open and honest discourse on fraught topics. For some institutions, re-examining institutional speech and expression policies to identify how they can be made less reliant on free speech zones while still allowing for appropriate planning for campus safety, may bring together campus leaders, students, and the community around a concrete task. Establishing a practice of deliberative dialogue across topics of passionately held different opinions allows for greater exploration and creates capacity for empathy and discussion. Providing resources for higher education professionals for use of safe spaces in pedagogically appropriate ways can help students with histories of trauma, from veterans to survivors of abuse, engage more fully with their educations. This post by NASPA director of policy research and advocacy Teri Lyn Hinds provides starting points and considerations for these approaches.
Don’t let the deadline pass you by! Place a nominate for one of the four awards listed below – the process is minimal. This is a special occasion to acknowledge friends and colleagues in such a big way. Selected recipients will be recognized at the 2019 NASPA Conference in Los Angeles, March 9 - 13.
For many of us, myself included, I approached diversity work with a lens of power and privilege, yes or no, right or wrong, majority and minority, which was extremely effective in my work for many years. Yet, when I began studying ethics, and spirituality, and engulfed myself in religion I began to explore another paradigm- religious pluralism. I began to wonder, as someone who prides herself on being open, and inclusive, when did I become so binary in my thinking? When did I forget both/ and? And when did seeking to understand become about finding absolutes?
I always find a lot of enjoyment in connecting with new first year students as they arrive on campus at the beginning of the academic year. It was no different this year, when I was approached by a first-year student while walking back to my office on the first day of classes. He introduced himself and shared with me that he was Muslim. He was curious about public space on campus where he might pray. He happened to be in luck as we were in the building where the multifaith room and prayer space were located. We walked together down to the ground floor of the building, and down a hallway tucked away in the corner of the floor. At the end of that hallway we walked into the prayer and reflection space on campus. It is small, windowless, but well-appointed and inviting nonetheless.
Technology has its hand in so much in today’s world. Higher education has been forced to adjust to the aggressive advancement of technology. It is no secret that the areas of spirituality and religion have struggled with finding the proper place in higher education. The issue can either be improved or hardened by technology. Technology, if properly implemented, can have a positive influence in higher education.
Be part of the first ever Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities Conference! This 2018 conference experience will be December 9-11 in New Orleans. Find information here for Pre-Conference Session and Program proposals, along with conference registration. #RSSIConference