HDS Faculty Member Leads Effort on New College Religious Literacy Guidelines

October 15, 2019
Diane Moore
Diane L. Moore, Faculty Director of Religion and Public Life. Photo: Kris Snibbe, Harvard Staff Photographer

The American Academy of Religion (AAR) has published a new set of religious literacy guidelines that propose what graduates of two- and four-year undergraduate institutions should know about religion, according to Religion News Service.

The multi-year effort by members of the AAR was co-led by Diane L. Moore, director of Religion and Public Life at HDS, and Eugene V. Gallagher of Connecticut College. The guidelines recommend a basic level of cultural competency that every undergraduate should develop.

“This is a critical time for colleges and universities to ensure that all students understand the complex roles religions play in our lives and societies. I am excited to see this project come to fruition after three years of intensive work with an extraordinary group of diverse colleagues,” said Moore, who also chaired the task force that produced AAR’s 2010 guidelines for teaching about religion in K-12 public schools.

“Along with the K-12 guidelines, we now have roadmap for cultivating better religious literacy at all levels of education,” she said.

The college guidelines argue that “some critical understanding about the ways in which religion shapes and is shaped by human behavior should be part of the general education of every person who receives an undergraduate degree.”

The AAR is the world’s largest association of scholars who research or teach topics related to religion, with more than 8,000 members comprised largely of faculty at colleges, universities, and theological schools in North America, and a growing number from institutions of higher education in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

—by Michael Naughton