Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding: Report of the Fall 2007 Survey of First-years

Authors: Michael Kessler Barbara Craig

January 12, 2008

This report highlights a survey of first-year undergraduate students conducted in fall 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 the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, 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.

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