THEO 468

Interreligious Encounter
Leadership Cohort
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Interreligious Encounter Leadership Cohort (THEOLOGY 468) is a four-credit 400-level theology core course spanning two semesters (2 credits each semester). It is designed for undergraduate students interested in examining the religious diversity of Minneapolis-St. Paul while energetically cultivating interreligious learning, service, and leadership on campus and in the community. The program is open to students of all religious and non-religious identities. Please consider applying (3 minute application). Space is limited.

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Priority Deadline: April 30, 2019
(registration for 2019-2020 cohort now open)


This program centers on the cultivation of interreligious leadership skills to be utilized on campus, in community, and places of work. It emphasizes academic, community, and campus engagement. 

  • 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 organizations that engage religious diversity.
  • 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.

More Information and Details

The 2019-2020 cohort will meet on Wednesdays, 1:35pm-3:10pm during the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters.

Student completing this program are invited to:

  • cultivate basic (inter)religious literacy: this course introduces students to basic religious literacy that will allow them to engage in critical and meaningful conversation across disciplines; 
  • learn major approaches to interreligious learning: this course introduces students to various ways to engage other religious traditions and learn across them (e.g., comparative theology, scriptural reasoning, interdisciplinary case-study analysis, civic engagement, etc.); 
  • reflect on self and world in relation to religious identity: this course encourages students to critically approach religious texts, documents, rituals, communities, etc. with a deeper sophistication and self-awareness of their own faith traditions and (hybrid) identities; and
  • develop practical knowledge and cultivate leadership: through required service-learning/civic engagement, students will encounter and interact with real people and communities of diverse religions in thoughtful and constructive ways; and will be encouraged to think about the role of leadership in religiously complex situations and the preparation required for living as a citizen in a growing interreligious world.

To be eligible for this program, students must:

  • have completed THEO 101 and one 200 or 300 level THEO course
  • be studying on-campus both Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters (i.e., cannot study abroad for fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters, but can for J-term 2020)
  • attend all class sessions and community engagement commitments
  • register for and complete both THEO468-LO1 (2 credits) in Fall 2019 and THEO468-LO1 (2-credits) in Spring 2020 in order to satisfy their 400-level Theology core requirement

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

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. Prerequisites: THEO 101, and one 200-level or 300-level THEO course, and PHIL 115.