Published on March 5, 2018 by Sean Flynt  
Religion professor Lisa Battaglia
Religion professor Lisa Battaglia
Samford University religion professor Lisa Battaglia is one of 25 faculty nationwide chosen to participate in a seminar on Teaching Interfaith Understanding to be held at DePaul University in June. The seminar, offered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) and generously supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, will examine the substantial theoretical questions inherent in teaching interfaith understanding and explore the practical work of translating these ideas into new courses and other resources.

The honor follows Battaglia’s receipt in January of a grant from Samford’s William E. and Wylodine F. Hull Fund for Christian Scholarship, specifically intended to support Battaglia’s development of a Samford course in interfaith dialogue. “My goal is to create a space for students to explore the realities of a religiously plural world, to engage with the challenges of religious plurality, and to cultivate a platform for sustained and personal relationships with faith communities in the area, all the while enriching students' own faith journeys," Battaglia said.

The CIC/IFYC opportunity comes at an ideal time to support Battaglia’s work at Samford. “I see this as a wonderful and timely catalyst for interfaith dialogue course development and program building, and for collaborating with faculty across the nation who are equally committed to both theoretical and applied work in interfaith dialogue and understanding," she said.

“The university as a whole can profit from Dr. Battaglia’s participation in the seminar,” said Howard College of Arts and Sciences dean Tim Hall. “She will encounter representatives of universities with interfaith programming who can suggest models from which Samford may draw as it seeks to improve its educational efforts in this strategic area.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.