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VulpesZerda

Universities with religious affiliations

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Since I'm not religious at all, I understand that a religiously affiliated college may not be the best fit for me for a faculty position. However, I am curious if some religious colleges may not ask about religion or require faculty to affiliate? I went to a Catholic college but was not a practicing Catholic - this worked out fine because there were negligible religious coursework requirements and nothing felt forced. So I'm wondering if a non-religious faculty member could manage this as well in a similar fashion? I am curious particularly about Catholic colleges since there are many in the northeast where I want to live. 

Edited by VulpesZerda

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This depends on the particular college but I know that in some cases faculty don't need to practice the official college religion, but they do sign some pledge/commitment to uphold certain values. It's up to the individual whether they can live with that. Otherwise, how present religion actually is in the college daily life may vary a lot. You may want to do some digging to find out information about colleges that might be of interest to you. 

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11 minutes ago, fuzzylogician said:

This depends on the particular college but I know that in some cases faculty don't need to practice the official college religion, but they do sign some pledge/commitment to uphold certain values. It's up to the individual whether they can live with that. Otherwise, how present religion actually is in the college daily life may vary a lot. You may want to do some digging to find out information about colleges that might be of interest to you. 

Thanks fuzzy! I had this idea after seeing a job ad that failed to mention that the college is religious. I found out upon Googling the college. I do get the sense that it varies a lot.

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Unless you already know that something is a no-go, my personal opinion on these matters is that you apply, and if you get to the interview stage you go and you try to figure out if the place could work for you. No sense in closing off opportunities before you even have them. You can also have even more of the conversation once you get an offer, especially if you talk to junior faculty who aren't necessarily the ones who are trying to recruit you. 

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It definitely varies a lot. I've worked at two religiously affiliated institutions and neither have required you to be of that faith or to sign a particular values/beliefs statement. That said, I know that BYU has moral standards requirements for faculty. I think Catholic and particularly Jesuit schools aren't going to require that you be Catholic. Especially at Jesuit schools, you'll find a variety of faiths represented on campus.

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It's pretty variable. A lot (but not all!) of the universities that care will ask candidates to provide a statement of faith with their job materials, or to ensure that their cover letters speak to the role faith plays in their research/teaching. So you can weed yourself out of those pools early on.

IIRC, Texas Christian University sounds like it would care, except that it doesn't. There are a fair few others like it.

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Not my personal experience here, but my best friend (who identifies as atheist) is currently teaching at a small religiously-affiliated school in the Bible Belt, and he's had some seriously mixed feelings about it. He did have to do some small statement of faith stuff when he signed on, but by all accounts the administration has been very cool with him and hasn't pushed anything on him that he'd find uncomfortable. So, in that regard, I think he'd echo what folks here have already said.

The students, on the other hand, drive him insane. Many of them are from incredibly sheltered backgrounds, and I think he finds that extremely difficult to deal with because they tend to reject new ideas out of hand. A lot of them are also fundamentalist, so, you know...there's that baggage. He's an English professor, and he's really had to struggle with choosing readings for class and such because many students simply will not do their work if the reading contains even minor curse words or anything else they could find inappropriate.

In a different part of the country with a different religious culture, I suspect things might go differently, and if you're already used to the environment of a Catholic school, then I'm sure you already know what the students are like. But, at least in some parts of the country, there are some real downsides to choosing a religiously-affiliated school.

Edited by Melvillage_Idiot

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Note: My advice only pertains to Catholic schools. Attending a Catholic school was an important factor in my undergraduate and graduate decision making. 

Catholic schools in generally shy away from statements of faith. At one point in my undergraduate school's history, it had a very brief president who did try to enforce one and he met huge resistance from staff. Ultimately, he did not last at the school. There are also varying levels of "spirituality" (for lack of a better word) at schools. Some colleges are very outwardly religious (thinking of Franciscan University of Steubenville) while other schools are more secular in environment. (I don't want to name an example because that's a contentious debate among Catholics, and it feels wrong to pass judgement on a university's religious atmosphere). If you're worried specifically about Catholic schools, there are resources like the Cardinal Newman Society which releases a program about the spiritual life of Catholic schools. That could provide insight on how active the faith is on campus.  https://cardinalnewmansociety.org/program/the-newman-guide/ I would assume there are similar guides for Christian universities in general that can provide insight.

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