Plenary 5: Science and religion education in divided societies

By way of evoking your interest, we are going to post brief abstracts of some of the plenary panelists for our upcoming meeting in Toronto. Here is a glimpse of what Dr. Sybrina Atwaters, Director, OMED: Educational Services, Georgia Tech Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, and Chair of the Publications Committee of the REA Board, will be presenting.

The John Templeton Foundation funded a two-year study to establish a baseline understanding of teaching about science and its implications for theological thought and action within Protestant schools in the United States and Canada. Through the generous funding of John Templeton Foundation, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) Research unit launched the Engaging Science in Seminaries (ESS) research study in hopes to establish a baseline of science engagement in its Protestant member schools. The study targeted a purposeful sample of institutional leaders at 30 different participating ATS institutions within the United States and Canada and sought to gather data through the perceptions, knowledge, and experiences of key campus informants by analyzing how seminaries engage science.

During plenary 5 of the Religious Education Association (REA) annual meeting, summary findings from this study, regarding the following, will be presented: Assessment of the current climate/perception of science engagement with ATS member schools; Assessment of the quality of existing science engagement on ATS campuses; Identification of opportunities (advantages/strengths) for adding (broadening) science to elements of the seminary’s overall program; as well as illumination of barriers/challenges that may impede adding science to elements of the seminary’s overall program. Each area provides an opportunity to further understanding and dialogue around science and religious education in divided societies.

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