Teaching Interfaith Studies Online Webinar

The Teaching Interfaith Online webinar, hosted by IFYC’s Director of Academic Initiatives Carolyn Roncolato, Manager Calvin Taylor, and Middlebury President Laurie Patton, offers insights from their various perspectives on teaching interfaith studies online, as well as IFYC’s funding opportunities, and online resources and curriculums to assist faculty as they continue to build and cultivate online learning environments. This webinar is the second in a series of webinars that engage the realities of higher education in the time of COVID-19, and a growing movement for racial equity. Below are three quotes from the webinar, as well as information and links to the funding opportunities and online resources and curriculums. 

Laurie Patton: “I think we can pose more controversial questions than we ever have before [now that we are primarily online]…Again, with certain kinds of controls in place on Zoom calls or presentations or whatever that might be. People seem to be more willing to engage in the tough questions and tough deliberations…I do think our experience of engaging with controversial questions means we could take more risks in the space than we have in the past in the classroom.” 

Carolyn Roncolato: “One thing I have been asking is, out of this moment, what have I learned that can be left behind?  What am I okay with leaving behind?... And what is being forged in this intensity?  How do we cultivate honor and acknowledge and create space for learning what that is in the days to come?”  

Calvin Taylor: I have learned it is sometimes beneficial to ask regular practitioners in a religion, or people who aren't leaders, laypeople, to come to speak [in your class] because they add a valuable perspective of their experience with a particular faith, belief system, or worldview, that students often resonate with, in a way that they don't necessarily resonate with or receive when it's coming from a leader… because they see them as the leader, the pastor, the nun, the rabbi, etc.” 

The following resources referenced in the webinar provide great curriculum, financial resources, and learning opportunities for educators: 

  • Racial Equity and Interfaith Cooperation AwardsThese $1000 awards are available for higher education faculty, staff, and administrators as well as IFYC alumni and may be used for program/project costs as well as individual compensation for time and energy. Applications are due Sept. 9, 2020. 
  • Interfaith Leadership Video SeriesThis free online curriculum was designed to be adaptable to meet the needs of faculty in diverse settings and disciplines. As well, it can be utilized by instructors and trainers, throughout a university, depending on their needs. Developed to be a full course experience, the Interfaith Leadership video series has 8 separate lessons. Each lesson focuses on a different topic of interfaith development and has 2-4 videos, along with lesson plans that cover learning objectives, suggested classroom activities, and further readings related to the topic.  
  • Interfaith Leadership Video Series Stipend Application: This $500 stipend supports faculty in using and evaluating the Interfaith Leadership Video Series. There will be three rounds of applications with the following due dates: Sept. 4, 2020; January 15, and June 4, 2021. 
  • We Are Each Other’s Fund: Campaign Curriculum and AwardsIFYC designed the We Are Each Other’s curricular tracks to support interfaith leaders as they adapt to the changing circumstances of the Covid-19 crisis. Whether in the classroom, in co-curricular settings, or in other civic spaces, interfaith leaders are working to adapt their essential work to a rapidly changing context. We Are Each Other’s curricula can be a tool for supporting this important work, contextualizing the skills of interfaith leadership to the urgency of our current moment.  

You can listen to the full conversation here.

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.