The Interreligious Scholars Program (ISP) will help students build relationships with people of other traditions and prepare them for working together for the common good. It utilizes a three-pronged approach that combines curricular and co-curricular opportunities for education, intentional living, and engagement through service and social action.
The ISP will offer opportunities for scholars to increase religious literacy and cultural competence through a variety of educational endeavors. Scholars will be encouraged to take at least two regular course offerings related to religion and interreligious studies in the broader Duke curriculum. Other educational opportunities will come in the form of a required scholars’ house course and public events or lectures. As the program grows, a gateway or capstone course might be added in the curriculum.
- Fall semester: each new cohort will select an issue related to religion and social action. The specific issue engaged might change with each group but will consistently be something that (a) connects with local organizations or individuals engaged in the work; (b) is salient for multiple religious groups; and (c) has timely political relevance. Thematic work will allow students to go in depth with a topic that has broad social and interreligious relevance and will focus work on a cohort project which might be a house course prepared for the spring term. A house course will also allow for interaction and reflection among all cohorts regardless of whether they live in the house.
- Spring semester: cohorts will deepen relationships and study through regular dialogue and shared learning in the wider community. Partnership with community members and non-Duke students related to identified social issues will allow for sustained dialogue and engagement on questions of how people from diverse cultural and religious traditions approach, understand, and address the targeted social issue.
Utilizing Duke’s house model, the ISP will form a living community on campus. Students will build community and friendships through shared meals, house events, and religious expression.
- A west-campus living-learning community will deepen a sense of shared experience among students.
- Biweekly “family dinners” will build trust and create opportunities for dialogue across myriad cultural and religious identity factors. Dinners will alternate between a focus on text study on shared themes and programmatic and reflective conversations with community partners.
The ISP will connect living and learning through engagement in the broader community via service projects and social action. Each cohort of scholars will select a focus for community-based work that carries throughout an academic year and engages a wider audience in events and programs, which may include:
- Workshops on organizing and social action.
- Break trips that allow for intensive living and engagement opportunities, such as pilgrimages to religious sites that increase religious literacy and allow insight into how others engage in interreligious social action.
- Community projects aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge of an issue.
- Training opportunities in dialogue facilitation and leadership.
Fall 2015: Build program, submit house application, and begin securing preliminary funding
Spring 2016: PR, recruiting, prepare for launch
Fall 2016: Launch program, accept applications and first round of cohorts
Spring 2017: Accept first round of living commitments for fall 2017 house
Christy Lohr Sapp
Associate Dean for Religious Life Duke University Chapel
Residence Coordinator Keohane Quad
Visit the website for application process and more information.