Columbia, Mo. (Dec. 14, 2005) — The Center for Religion, the Professions, and the Public at the University of Missouri-Columbia has received a $1.5-million renewal grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts.
The grant will allow the Center to continue studying issues in the professions related to America’s increasing religious and cultural diversity. The Center was established in 2003 with a $1.4-million Pew Trusts grant.
Faculty members from diverse disciplines including university extension, business, health professions, journalism, law, medicine, public affairs, and religious studies will collaborate on the Center’s projects.
“We are proud of the work the Center has accomplished in its first two years,” said MU Chancellor Brady Deaton. “It has brought together scholars from across campus and around the world to collaborate on scholarship aimed at better understanding the increasingly important role of religion in civic life and in the way professions serve the public.”
The Center is planning four interdisciplinary projects, all of which have teaching, research and outreach components.
- Examination of the journalistic coverage of issues involving religion.
- Research into the relationship between religion/spirituality and healthcare.
- Interdisciplinary collaboration on professional ethics.
- Campus and community colloquies on important professional, educational and public policy issues.
The Center will become an independent affiliate of the Missouri School of Journalism, with close ties to other professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences, and other research centers of the University.
“We believe the School and the campus will benefit from as well as contribute to the rich research, teaching and outreach activities of the Center,” said Dean Mills, dean of the School of Journalism.
The College of Business, which provides the Center’s office space in Cornell Hall, is also an active and important partner in the Center’s initiatives. “The College of Business is very pleased with its affiliation with the Pew-funded Center for Religion, Professions and the Public,” said Bruce Walker, dean of the College of Business.
“This project has provided an excellent opportunity to elevate the attention – both research and teaching – given to business ethics. The interdisciplinary collaboration stimulated by the Center brings valuable perspectives and partners together to address important issues related to professional ethics,” Walker added.
The interdisciplinary center is directed by Edmund B. Lambeth, an emeritus professor of journalism.
“The Center will continue to focus on Mizzou and the state of Missouri as well as outward to appropriate national and international constituents,” said Lambeth. “We are grateful for the support of The Pew Charitable Trusts and for the citizens and members of the academy who have joined in our effort to advance religious literacy and related research and teaching.”
The Pew Charitable Trusts serves the public interest by providing information, advancing policy solutions and supporting civic life. The Trusts will invest $204 million in fiscal year 2006 to provide organizations and citizens with fact-based research and practical solutions for challenging issues.
Along with MU, Boston University, Emory, New York University, Notre Dame, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California, and the University of Virginia are homes of Pew-funded “Centers of Excellence.” Each explores the role of religion in various aspects of public life.
Since its founding in 2003, MU’s Center has supported the work of faculty and fellows, organized interdisciplinary seminars, contributed articles to scholarly and professional journals, developed a Web site (http://rpp.missouri.edu/), and sponsored a lecture series that attracted nearly 1,300 people.