Teagle Study

Phase 1: The Religion Major and Liberal Education (2007)

With the generous support of the Teagle Foundation, the American Academy of Religion’s eighteen-month study of “The Religion Major and Liberal Education” featured the direct participation of over 300 faculty members and stakeholders on more than a dozen campuses.

A special six-page section of Religious Studies News (October 2007, Vol. 22, No. 4) (PDF) was dedicated to the initiative, with contributions from ten individuals. A printable copy of the full white paper (PDF) is available.

The initiative’s seed grant program funded studies and formal conversations regarding the major that were conducted on ten individual campuses. 

The grant from Teagle also funded a day-long leadership workshop on the topic of “The Religion Major and Liberal Education,” which was held at the 2007 AAR Annual Meeting in San Diego. A “wildcard” paper session at the same meeting featured five formal academic papers on the topic. The journal Teaching Theology and Religion republished the white paper with responses from four religion faculty members.

Phase 2: Long-Term Impacts of Liberal Education on Religious Studies Majors (2015)

Following the first phase of the Teagle Foundation project, a second study was taken up, this time focusing on student learning outcomes for religion majors. Conducted in 2014 and 2015, the second study explored the long-term impacts of religion coursework for students with undergraduate majors. Members can also view the results (PDF) from the second survey and reference two faculty responses to the student learning outcomes study by Charles Mathewes and Melissa Wilcox.

As part of phase 2 of the Teagle Study, the researchers collected data on career outcomes for religion alumni across a national sample. These data found that over 91 percent of religion alumni were either currently employed or not seeking employment. Among those employed the responses illustrated nineteen different employment areas, depicted below.

There are 19 different general areas depicted in a bar graph. Ranked from largest to smallest with percentages, the areas were: Religious Organization (20.3%), College Faculty and Administration (13.3%), Education K-12 (9.6%), Non-Profit or Community Organization (8.7%), Business and Finance (8.%), Law (5.9%), Medicine and Nursing (5.2%), Counseling & Mental Health (4.4%), Information Systems and Technology (4.4%), Government and Public Administration (3.8%), Arts (3.3%), Hospitality and Tourism (3.2%), Marketing (2.6%), Library Work (2.5%), Journalism and Publication (1.8%), Manufacturing and Construction (1.1%), Agriculture and Natural Resources (1%), Military (0.5%), and Transportation (0.4%).

The chart shows results from the Phase 2 study supported by the Teagle Foundation (source). Percentages are with respect to the number of respondents (1,469) to the question “In what general area are you currently employed or were employed at any time over the last 18 months?”