As American colleges and universities work to meet the challenges of a diverse 21st century, research-based insights into student identities, attitudes, and experiences are more important than ever. While various research projects have generated valuable data on racial, ethnic, and gender diversity, questions of student religious and worldview diversity remain largely unanswered.

Since 2011, IFYC has partnered with researchers to explore this complicated aspect of campus diversity; we provide educators, practitioners, and higher education policymakers with ongoing quality research to better understand emerging trends and address the complex dynamics that impact the campus climate and student interfaith engagement. The data generated through these studies offer institutions the information and evidence necessary to make wise decisions on how to better prepare students to positively engage worldview diversity in college and ultimately contribute to America’s religiously diverse democracy.

In partnership with research teams at The Ohio State University and North Carolina State University, this research program utilizes multiple surveys to explore various facets of students’ worldview identities and experiences on campus and tracks trends across the American higher education landscape. Key areas of exploration include:

  • Student worldview identities and commitment.
  • Student encounters with worldview difference on campus and attitudes toward others of different worldviews.
  • Student expectations of worldview diversity as part of the college experience and their perceptions of campus climate as related to worldview.
  • The intersections of worldview with other important aspects of identity such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and political affiliation.
  • Campus programs and practices that impact student development of interfaith outcomes including pluralism orientation and appreciative attitudes toward other worldviews.

Institutions and practitioners are using findings from this research to inform worldview diversity programming and integrate high-impact practices into various campus experiences.

We encourage you to dive in and learn more. Explore our latest research and ongoing opportunities to participate in this important conversation.

Research Initiatives


IDEALS

Learn more about the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey and how it’s surfacing valuable knowledge about student experiences with worldview diversity and religious pluralism.

VIEWS

Learn more about the Values Interfaith Engagement and Worldview Survey and how it’s helping campuses better understand their students’ perceptions of and engagement with people of diverse religious worldviews at the local level.

Emerging Interfaith Trends: What College Students Are Saying About Religious Diversity

- Emerging Interfaith Trends read more read less
Emerging Interfaith Trends

The first release of findings from the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS), provides an overview of the initial survey administered to first-year students across 122 campuses as they started college. This report provides insights into students’ behaviors and perspectives on interfaith engagement prior to college and outlines recommendations for higher education professionals to better meet their needs. Read it here.


Closer Look: Incoming Evangelical Students

- Evangelical Narrative Report read more read less
Evangelical Narrative Report

A deep dive into the experiences and attitudes related to worldview diversity held by incoming evangelical Christian first-years. Compiled from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


Closer Look: Incoming Muslim Students

- Muslim Narrative Report read more read less
Muslim Narrative Report

An in-depth look at how first-year Muslim students perceive worldview diversity and engage with other worldviews prior to college. Taken from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


Closer Look: Incoming Black Protestant Students

- Black Protestant Narrative Report read more read less
Black Protestant Narrative Report

An in-depth look at how first-year Black Protestant students perceive worldview diversity and engage with other worldviews prior to college. Taken from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


Closer Look: Incoming Catholic Christian Students

- Catholic Narrative Report read more read less
Catholic Narrative Report

An in-depth look at how first-year Catholic students perceive worldview diversity and engage with other worldviews prior to college. Taken from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


Engaging Worldview: A Snapshot of Religious & Spiritual Campus Climate

- Engaging Worldview: Part I read more read less
Engaging Worldview: Part I

Part I of a two-part report examining how features of campus environments and student perceptions influence students’ abilities to engage across religious and worldview differences. Compiled from the collected findings of the Campus Religious & Spiritual Climate Survey (CRSCS) administered to 8,463 undergraduate students attending 38 U.S. colleges and universities. Read it here.


Closer Look: Incoming Jewish Students

- Jewish Narrative Report read more read less
Jewish Narrative Report

A deep dive into the experiences and attitudes related to worldview diversity held by Jewish first-year students. Compiled from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


Closer Look: Incoming Atheist Students

- Atheist Narrative Report read more read less
Atheist Narrative Report

A deep dive into the experiences and attitudes related to worldview diversity held by atheist first-year students. Compiled from the findings of the first administration of the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS). Read it here.


Engaging Worldview: Part II

- Engaging Worldview: Part II read more read less
Engaging Worldview: Part II

In Part II of the Engaging Worldview series, attention shifts to students’ attitudes toward other worldviews and religious pluralism. This report explores students' appreciative attitudes toward other worldviews, their levels of positive orientation toward pluralism, and how these factors vary across different student populations. Read it here.

Research Partners


Dr. Alyssa Rockenbach

- Dr. Alyssa Rockenbach / Co-Principle Investigator, Professor of Higher Education, North Carolina State University read more read less
Dr. Alyssa Rockenbach / Co-Principle Investigator, Professor of Higher Education, North Carolina State University

Alyssa Rockenbach is Professor of Higher Education at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on the impact of college on students, with particular attention to spiritual development, religious and worldview diversity in colleges and universities, campus climate, community service engagement, and gendered dimensions of the college student experience.

Rockenbach’s research has been featured in a number of higher education and interdisciplinary journals, including Research in Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, Gender and Education, and Religion and Education. In 2012, Dr. Rockenbach co-edited Spirituality in College Students' Lives: Translating Research into Practice with Dr. Matt Mayhew. She has been honored with national awards, including the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Emerging Scholar Award, the Annuit Coeptis Emerging Professional Award, and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Religion & Education SIG Emerging Scholar Award. Dr. Rockenbach earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of California, Los Angeles and her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach.  

https://ced.ncsu.edu/people/anbryan2/


Dr. Matt Mayhew

- Dr. Matt Mayhew / Co-Principle Investigator, William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Educational Administration with a focus on Higher Education and Student Affairs at The Ohio State University. read more read less
Dr. Matt Mayhew / Co-Principle Investigator, William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Educational Administration with a focus on Higher Education and Student Affairs at The Ohio State University.

Matthew Mayhew is the William Ray and Marie Adamson Flesher Professor of Educational Administration with a focus on Higher Education and Student Affairs at The Ohio State University. Dr. Mayhew is interested in how collegiate conditions, educational practices, and student experiences influence learning and democratic outcomes ranging from moral reasoning to high-risk drinking behaviors.

Mayhew has published articles in Research in Higher Education, Journal of Higher Education, Review of Higher Education, the NASPA Journal, the Journal of College Student Development, Ethics and Behavior, and Journal of Moral Education. He has co- authored a chapter in Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research. Mayhew has also received several grants for exploring the impact of college on student outcomes, including, but not limited to, moral reasoning, spirituality, high-risk drinking, and innovative entrepreneurship. He earned his doctorate in higher education administration with a focus on research, evaluation, and assessment from the University of Michigan in 2004.

https://u.osu.edu/coil/associated-faculty/

More Ways to Explore


Reports, Articles, & Related Literature

See how the findings from IDEALS, VIEWS, and related research are being engaged and discussed across higher education.

IDEALS Research Awards

The Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) Research Team is pleased to announce research awards of $7,500 to support innovative, interdisciplinary scholarship based on IDEALS data.