Student Interfaith Leaders Scholarship Program

‌The Student Interfaith Leadership Scholarship Program (SILSP) is for a group of undergraduate students interested in examining the religious diversity of UST and Minneapolis-St. Paul while energetically cultivating interreligious learning, service, and leadership on campus and in the community. As a cohort, the students will enroll in and complete THEO 468 Interreligious Encounter, a 4-credit year-long course which satisfies their upper division theology core requirement. It is also required for all students completing the new minor in Interreligious Studies and Comparative Theology (beginning Fall 2017). The program is open to students of all religious and non-religious identities.  Each admitted student will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Please consider applying today. Space is limited. Click here to view a PDF of the application questions.

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Priority Deadline: May 19, 2017
(registration is now closed)
click here to view the 2017-2018 Cohort of Interfaith Leaders


As indicated on the application, applicants are to arrange for a brief letter or email of support to be sent to hsgustafson@stthomas.edu from a UST staff or faculty member. The letter should address your academic ability and personal qualities that would make you a valuable addition to the program. This letter is due by May 19, 2017 (last day of classes).

The overall goal of this program is to help formally develop interreligious leadership skills to be utilized on campus and in the community during the cohort year, but also for years to come as students enter the world and workforce. The program emphasizes academic, community, and campus egnagement. 

  • Academic Engagement: The cohort will enroll in the year-long 4-credit upper division theology course THEO 468: Interreligious Encounter (2 credits/semester).
  • Community Engagement: The cohort will participate in interreligious community engagement programs with local interfaith organizations.
  • Campus Engagement: The cohort will plan, lead, and implement a project that fosters interreligious learning and understanding between, among, and for UST students, staff, and faculty on campus.

Program Objectives
    Students will

  • embrace and live out the Jay Phillips Center’s mission to foster interfaith learning, friendship, and service between and among people with various religious identities;
  • cultivate the ability to serve as interfaith leaders on campus;
  • gain and appreciate the value of basic religious literacy;
  • develop the skills to engage in and facilitate dialogue about religious identities and commitments;
  • reflect on their own worldview in so far as they relate to other worldviews;
  • reflect on the relation between religious values, service, and social justice; and
  • become aware of the religious and cultural diversity of the campus and surrounding metropolitan region.

Requirements
    Students must

  • have completed THEO 101 and one 200 or 300 level THEO course;
  • be studying on-campus both Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters (i.e., cannot study abroad for fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters, but can for J-term 2018);
  • attend all class sessions and community engagment commitments.

For further information, please contact Professor Hans Gustafson, Director of the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, at hansgustafson@stthomas.edu

*This pilot program is inspired by the Interfaith Scholars Program run out of the Bernhard Christensen Center for Vocation at Augsburg University


THEO 468: Interreligious Encounter: CRN: 43030 4 Credit Hours Instructor: Hans S. Gustafson

In the last half century religious diversity in the West has rapidly increased, bringing people from different religious traditions into daily contact. This has resulted in new conflicts, sometimes in violence, but also in new collaborations and friendships. Drawing on several approaches to interreligious conflict and relations, this course will examine the dynamic encounters that take place between and among people of different religious identities and ask students to reflect on their own role in religiously complex situations. Students will consider this interreligious reality and their role in it against the backdrop of their own individual relationships to spirituality, faith, and theology. To foster interreligious understanding beyond the classroom, students in this course will directly engage with the religious diversity of Minneapolis-St. Paul. This course is a community-engagement course requiring a minimum of 15 hours of interreligious community engagement for all students enrolled (NOTE: service hours may contribute toward BUSN 200 requirement when BUSN200 is taken in same semester). Prerequisites: THEO 101, and one 200-level or 300-level THEO course, and PHIL 115.