Faith on campus: Understanding the impact of religious identity on student learning and inclusion
Over the past two decades, increased attention has been accorded in the popular press to the role of religion in the lives of post-secondary students (Finder, 2007). While SoTL researchers and course instructors have rightly examined disparities in student satisfaction, engagement, and inclusion in relation to race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status, religious affiliation constitutes another important – yet often overlooked – form of identity that may be associated with student outcomes. Those students from marginalized religious groups have been referred to as “the forgotten minority” within SoTL research (Bowman & Smedley, 2013). In order to address this gap in the literature, the goal of this research project is to explore the diverse spectrum of student religious identities found at a public, non-denominational post-secondary institution, and to determine the impact religious identity may have on the student experience both within the university classroom and in the broader campus environment. Utilizing a mixed method approach for data collection and analysis, including surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews, this study will examine the perspectives of students identifying as religious or spiritual on their learning experiences and sense of inclusion within a nominally secular post-secondary institution.
Authors: Michael Agnew