On Catholic college campuses, community outreach and inter-faith cooperation occurs most often under the direction of Student Life Offices, often with strong leadership provided by Campus Ministry. Within this more traditional approach, students learn a great deal about the value of both enterprises, though their learning remains largely undocumented, unassessed and, without the benefit of earned credit hours, unrewarded.
A team of faculty and students at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa are in the process of a following a different approach. After five years of coordinating interfaith conversations and scripture study with centers of worship throughout the Dubuque area, including Christian churches, Jewish Temple, and the local mosque, faculty and student interns created a survey designed to gauge attitudes toward religion throughout the city. By working not only with places of worship but also with local government and businesses, faculty and students are collecting responses that can provide data on each site as well as information on more general, community-wide trends. At this early stage in the process, the group has completed surveys of five institutions, and although that number is too small to reveal conclusive evidence about religious attitudes in this Midwestern town of 60,000, it has been sufficient to disclose the type of learning students are experiencing throughout the project.
Waldmeir, John C.; Eby, John C.; Eckrich, Samantha E.; and Edwards, Rebecca A.
"Interfaith Inquiry: Learning From Community-Based Research, Pluralism, and Student-Faculty Collaboration,"
Engaging Pedagogies in Catholic Higher Education:
1, Article 3.
Available at: http://journals.stmarys-ca.edu/epiche/vol3/iss1/3