Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding: 2007 Survey
January 12, 2008
The Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding initiative at the Berkley Center published a report on a survey of first-year undergraduate students in the fall of 2007. Under the leadership of principal investigators Michael Kessler and Barbara Craig, the report establishes a baseline to evaluate incoming undergraduate students’ religious profiles and attitudes toward other religions. The survey, administered online by CNDLS, received 460 responses. The results indicated that first-year students come to Georgetown with significant exposure to persons of their religious traditions and moderate levels of religious belief. The students generally reported being liberal and open-minded on general questions of religious faith and demonstrated positive life aspirations towards action for social justice. Student responses demonstrated a high degree of tolerance of diverse religious views, including a willingness to see some truth in others’ beliefs, even while their knowledge about religious traditions—both their own and others—was uneven.
It is commonly assumed that students expand their interreligious understanding and tolerance over the course of their undergraduate education. This longitudinal study evaluates that assumption. The four-year project will track the development of attitudes and understanding over the course of students tenure at Georgetown University. Further, the study will deepen our knowledge about how undergraduate learning and interreligious understanding connect. This will assist faculty and administrators to design curricula and structure student life more effectively. The study will also contribute to a wider societal debate about education and education policy in an era of growing religious and cultural pluralism, both nationally and internationally. In order to document this cohorts transitions in interreligious understanding as they progress through their undergraduate experience at Georgetown, over the next four years we will gather supplementary data from a variety of qualitative approaches, including focus groups, interviews, and students written reflections. This data will be used to triangulate and illuminate responses from the initial and follow-up surveys.
Table of Contents
About the Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding Survey
Detailed Analysis: Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding: Report of the Fall 2007 Survey of First-years
Part I: Executive Summary
Part 2: Project Overview
Part 3: Respondent Demographics, Entering Student Survey
Part 4: Religious Attitudes: Students background, prior experiences, and factors influencing interreligious understanding
Part 5: Religious Attitudes: Specific attitudes toward major religions
Part 6: Religious Literacy
Part 7: Preliminary Findings and Areas for Further Study