Howell Selected for Seminar on Teaching Interfaith Understanding

Howell Selected to Participate in New Seminar on Teaching Interfaith Understanding 

David Howell, Professor of ReligionFERRUM, VA. (May 14, 2014) –Ferrum College is pleased to announce that Professor of Religion David Howell was selected from a nationwide pool of nominees to participate in a faculty seminar on the teaching of interfaith understanding. The five-day Teaching Interfaith Understanding seminar will take place June 15–19, 2014, at Lesley University in Cambridge, Ma. The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and Interfaith Youth Core offer the seminar with support from the Henry Luce Foundation. 

“I look forward to participating in the work of the seminar and the opportunities it will provide for me to consider afresh how Ferrum College students can be taught so they learn not only about religions but also how they can relate to others from different religious traditions in order to be productive citizens,” said Howell about the upcoming seminar.

“While a basic level of religious literacy and knowledge is helpful for interfaith work, interfaith dialogue always takes place in some type of public square with others. Skills and dispositions of self-awareness, humility, openness to others, perspective-taking, and listening also need to be developed,” continued Howell. “This CIC seminar will dovetail nicely with ongoing initiatives at Ferrum about our General Education program and I am excited about returning to campus to share what I learn.”

Twenty-five faculty members will participate in the seminar that will broaden their knowledge and strengthen their teaching of interfaith understanding with the development of new courses and resources. The seminar will be led by two leading scholars, Catherine Cornille, Newton College Alumnae Chair of Western Culture, chair of the department of theology, and professor of comparative theology at Boston College; and Diana Eck, professor of comparative religion and Indian studies and Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society at Harvard University.

“Strengthening the teaching of interfaith understanding at colleges and universities is a high priority at a time when college enrollment is becoming more diverse—by religion, as well as socioeconomic factors—just as American society is becoming more diverse. Strengthening participation in American life with greater understanding of the distinctive contributions of different faiths is key to America’s future success,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “The number of institutions that nominated faculty members to participate in the new interfaith understanding seminar is most impressive.”

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Participants in the 2014 Seminar on Teaching Interfaith Understanding, Cambridge:

  • Jude Aguwa, Mercy College (NY)
  • George Alcser, Marygrove College (MI)
  • Swasti Bhattacharyya, Buena Vista University (IA)
  • Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus, Wheaton College (MA)
  • Marcia Bunge, Gustavus Adolphus College (MN)
  • Jacqueline Bussie, Concordia College (MN)
  • Eileen Fagan, College of Mount Saint Vincent (NY)
  • Wakoh Shannon Hickey, Notre Dame of Maryland University
  • Patrick Homan, Dominican University (IL)
  • David Howell, Ferrum College (VA)
  • Andrew Irvine, Maryville College (TN)
  • Kathrina Jones, Wofford College (SC)
  • Katherine Low, Mary Baldwin College (VA)
  • Lyn Miller, Earlham College (IN)
  • Meredith Minister, Kentucky Wesleyan College
  • Erica Olson-Bang, The College of New Rochelle (NY)
  • Peter Pettit, Muhlenberg College (PA)
  • Richard Rose, University of La Verne (CA)
  • John Starkey, Oklahoma City University (OK)
  • Gail Stearns, Chapman University (CA)
  • Kristen Urban, Mount St. Mary’s University (MD)
  • Hossein Varamini, Elizabethtown College (PA)
  • Tory Vornholt, Agnes Scott College (GA)
  • Rachel Wagner, Ithaca College (NY)
  • Carol Ziegler, Notre Dame College (OH)


About Ferrum College: Ferrum College is a four-year, private, co-educational, liberal arts college related to the United Methodist Church. Ferrum offers a choice of nationally recognized bachelor's degree programs, at a cost well below the national average for private colleges. The College celebrates its Centennial during the 2013-14 academic year. For more information, visit

About CIC: The Council of Independent Colleges is an association of 744 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions to improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC also provides support to state fundraising associations that organize programs and generate contributions for private colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC.

About Interfaith Youth Core: A Chicago-based nonprofit organization, Interfaith Youth Core’s (IFYC) mission is to make interfaith cooperation a social norm. Since its incorporation in 2002, IFYC has worked on five continents and with over 200 college and university campuses, trained thousands in the principles of interfaith leadership, and reached millions through the media. IFYC has worked with partners including the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the White House, and the Office of Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan. Eboo Patel is the founder and president of IFYC.