University Business - October 2008 - (Page 38)

The Changing Chaplaincy By Ron Schachter The role of religious leaders on campus as the spiritual needs of students evolve. Traditional places of worship such as Yale’s University Church (above left) and Stanford Memorial Church (opposite) will always be spiritual havens, but spiritual expression can happen anywhere on campus, such as with this Colgate University (N.Y.) Good Friday observance (above right). ale University’s sharon Kugler just hired a coordinator for Muslim life. another of her program coordinators recently searched out a kosher-Chinese food restaurant in surrounding new haven. one might expect tasks like those to fall under the job description of many a modern university administrator, but not necessarily for the holder of one of the oldest university chaplaincies in the country. Welcome to the modern college chaplaincy. “We look different and the student population looks different,” Kugler says, reflecting on the changing criteria for choosing leaders of religious life at universities where the posts used to be formal, remote, male, and intensely Protestant. Kugler, a lay Catholic, came to her job as Yale’s chaplain last year after serving in the same capacity at Johns Hopkins University (Md.) since 1993. “People ask me, ‘Was it hard to be the first Catholic, the first layperson, the first woman?’” she says. “I call myself the ‘nike chaplain.’ I just did it.” Kugler and a new generation of university chaplains are answering the call for increased religious expression and spirituality on campus, a cultural turnabout highlighted in the results of a 2004 38 | October 2008 Y survey of 112,000 college freshmen nationwide. The study, entitled “The spiritual Life of College students” and carried out by the University of California, los angeles’s higher Education research Institute, found that 80 percent of those interviewed believed in God and had an interest in spirituality. a 2007 follow-up discovered that, as juniors, 55 percent of those students placed a premium on developing a meaningful philosophy of life and on attaining inner harmony, an almost 15 percent increase in both areas since freshman year. sixty-seven percent added that they prayed daily. Religion Returns Those numbers come as no surprise to Douglas and rhonda Jacobsen, professors and researchers at Messiah College (Pa.), who earlier this year authored The American University in the Postsecular Age (oxford university Press). “religion is not disappearing in the way social theorists thought it would disappear. People are bringing their religion to campus,” says Douglas Jacobsen. “For a couple of decades, in the 1970s and ’80s, religion suffered from benign neglect. schools are saying, ‘We need to start thinking about this again.’” Jennifer Lindholm, the project manager of the uCLa studies, agrees. “There’s been a relatively strong disconnect between matters of the mind and the heart in higher education,” she says.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - October 2008

University Business - October 2008
Editor's Note
College Index
Company Index
Advisory Board
Behind the News
Future Shock
On the Hill
The Changing Chaplaincy
Stop, Thief!
Chief Business Officers Speak Out
Independent Outlook
Internet Technology
What's New
End Note

University Business - October 2008