Curriculum and Teaching Resources
Faculty in Santa Clara’s Religious Studies Department have designed course assignments and units—and in some cases, entire courses—that engage students with congregations and organizations across Silicon Valley’s rich and diverse landscape. Their students apply “in the field” categories and methods they read about in the classroom through a variety of assignments—comparisons of rituals in two different traditions, oral history interviews with immigrants, observation of youth group activities and classes, photo documentation of major holiday celebrations, etc.
This approach to the Valley’s faith communities as a “lab” is complemented—some may say, corrected--by the spontaneous conversations that inevitably arise when students begin to interact with individuals in these congregations. “The visits were the highlight of the course for all who participated in them.” reported Prof. Bennett after introducing an optional LRP assignment into his introductory religious studies course in 2004. “Equally important to the content about each place and tradition were the skills students developed in interacting in places and with people far removed from their own comfort zone.” Student experiences during first-time visits to a mosque, Hindu temple, Catholic church or Sikh gurdwara provide faculty “teachable moments” in which what often strike students as abstract and remote questions in our discipline—personal equations, participant observation, limitations of categories—very real and alive.
This section of the websites presents examples of LRP-based syllabi and assignments. It also includes samples of course-specific materials (overviews, guides, and sites) created by LRP Director from materials now available in other parts of this website for a particular class, and resources related to community-based learning in religious studies faculty have found helpful.