Samford University The BelltowerFebruary 2004

Grant Will Take Religion Faculty Into Heart of Teaching and Baptist Heritage

"The grant will enable religion department faculty members to study the department's history, its relationship with Alabama Baptists, how and what it is teaching, how alumni and students view its teaching, and how it relates to Samford's core curriculum."

The Samford University Department of Religion has received a $37,950 grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion for a study project aimed at enhancing the department's teaching effectiveness.

The project is entitled "Religion for Mission at Samford University: The Religion Department as an Enabling Environment for Instructional Excellence."

The grant will enable religion department faculty members to study the department's history, its relationship with Alabama Baptists, how and what it is teaching, how alumni and students view its teaching, and how it relates to Samford's core curriculum.

Beyond that, the grant will provide for two site visits to religion departments at other universities, a three-day Consultation on Teaching for Mission, course development and evaluation, and research and writing on teaching and religion.  The consultation will be held at the Wabash (Ind.) College Center for Inquiry in the Liberal Arts.

The religion department began the project in December as retired faculty member Dr. W. T. Edwards led a discussion of the department's culture and Samford's heritage and mission in the post-World War II period. Edwards, who also is a Samford alumnus, wrote a historical essay that was used to initiate the discussion.

Also in December, Dr. Wayne Flynt, Distinguished University Professor at Auburn University and author of the book Alabama Baptists: Southern Baptists in the Heart of Dixie, led a half-day discussion on the historic Baptist context of Samford's religion department and its relationship to Alabama Baptists. Flynt is a Samford alumnus and former Samford history professor, and currently serves on the University's Board of Overseers.

"We are excited about the opportunity the grant gives us to take time to explore new and richer ways of teaching and learning in religion, to learn from other religion departments in different parts of the country, with the purpose of contributing to the overall mission of the University," said Dr. Kenneth Roxburgh, religion department chair.

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