Lemons Into Lemonade Interfaith and Contextualized Pedagogy as Adaptation to 21st Century Higher Education

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Ann Duncan


In response to shifting demographics, financial strain, and an existential crisis about their value and place in the twenty-first century world, small liberal arts colleges are changing -- some choosing to close while others make drastic changes to curricular and programmatic offerings to demonstrate innovation and adaptation. This paper will present a case study of these tensions and responses through discussion of one college’s simultaneous commitment to Interfaith Engagement and discontinuance of the Religion Major and Minor.  This reality crystalizes the tension and disconnect between the curricular and civic projects of interreligious studies and interfaith engagement. At the same time, this reality opens the door to a pragmatic solution that intentionally integrates these two in a manner that promises to provide both an effective response to a budget driven problem and a potential new paradigm for curricular and co-curricular integration and community-based learning for higher education as a whole.

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